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February 19, 2013


Mindy McCready and the New American Priesthood

When it comes to country singer Mindy McCready’s suicide, I guess I should write something that sounds like a bad English translation of a badly written philosophical voice over at the end of a bad French film. Kind of like the New York Times achieves:

Her life was one of those aching odysseys sermonized redundantly across the musical landscape in which she performed. The rocket rise to stardom. The volcanic men. The depression. The drugs and booze. The brushes with the law. The heartache. The suicide attempts. Such were the tangled threads of the country music singer Mindy McCready, who could never seem to outrun life’s ill winds.

But I’m not feeling much sympathy. Buried in the news reports is the fact that McCready’s suicide was a permanent abandonment of her two children. Worse, she joined the father of one of them in dumping their kid. Baby dad killed himself on the same porch a while back.

So we have two kids who will grow up wondering what they might have done to make mommy so sad, and one wondering what he could have done to save mommy and daddy.  Kids who will always, no matter how well their lives might progress materially, respond to the world as an unstable, untrustworthy place. They will carry scars. Maybe inflict lots of scars upon others, as traumatized people tend to do.

But you know what? It’s all good. Because, unlike those Roman Catholic child abuser priests, and their obviously false, discredited religion, Mindy McCready was an entertainer, a member of the new American priesthood. She deserves reverence and protection for the higher good she represents.

In a 2010 interview with the Associated Press, McCready extolled the lofty order to which she was ordained:

“It is a giant whirlwind of chaos all the time,” she said of her life. “I call my life a beautiful mess and organized chaos. It’s just always been like that. My entire life things have been attracted to me and vice versa that turn into chaotic nightmares or I create the chaos myself. I think that’s really the life of a celebrity, of a big, huge, giant personality.”

Yeah, that’s someone who should preach and to whom we should listen, in our American hunger to live good lives, guided by entertainment mediated “science and reason” rather than the old superstitions.

Our entertainers can tell us about building families. And race relations.

They can help us choose leaders for our troubled times.

Even their minor orders of ministry (the “B” and below list celebs) can help us with vexing issues of life, death and political conflict.

One hopes that a real priest, pastor or somebody will come alongside McCready’s abandoned children, with a word more enduring than film scripts or pop lyrics:

Though my father and my mother forsake me, the LORD will sustain me. (Psalm 27:14)


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16 comments

Amen, Timothy+

[1] Posted by desertpadre on 2-19-2013 at 11:59 AM · [top]

And, according to the article in the local paper, shot the family dog first.  Just thankful the children apparently weren’t around, they might have been gunned down too. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

[2] Posted by johnd on 2-19-2013 at 01:04 PM · [top]

#2 Interesting the coverage about the dog.  Apparently it was the late boyfriend/dad’s dog, and she had it with her on the porch.  Seems to have been a desire to not leave it all alone. 

Glad she didn’t kill the kids, but she showed more emotional investment in the dog.  And the media seem to be doing the same… the kids are mere “factoids” in the stories.

[3] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-19-2013 at 02:17 PM · [top]

johnd,
I thought the very same thing. It could have been so much worse.

Tim, 
Its “gospel” these days to say that depression is an illness as if it was nothing more.  While I don’t deny that there is a biological element to it, I think the Church has always been right to call it a sin.  Not every depressive goes on to kill themselves or other members of their families (or in this case their poor poor dog).  I don’t care how sick you are,  you still have a choice between getting help or giving in.  Some choose to get help.  Others choose to devastate their family.  It doesn’t help that we are fed the idea that a person can’t help being depressed or help doing the things that they do when they are depressed.  It can’t help that we constantly receive the message that we should go with our gut, our feelings.  Or that sometimes death is better than life.  I can easily imagine all of these enabling messages playing some part in McCready’s decision.  I wonder if she had been given a different message,  one that really might have given her hope of controlling her disease,  if the outcome might have been different.

This is not to say that I don’t have compassion for her.  Christ had compassion on the worst of sinners,  you and me both.  She made a horrible, horrible decision for which she is now responsible.  She can’t take it back or redeem herself.  I can’t help but shudder at the thought of that weight on her soul.  All I can do is pray for the Lord to have mercy on her.

[4] Posted by StayinAnglican on 2-19-2013 at 02:33 PM · [top]

Country music fan that I am, if I ever heard of Ms McCready’s music, I would be forced to set it aside and listen no more.  This is the behavior of the media-crazed and God have mercy on her children.

Kyrie, eleison!

[5] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 2-19-2013 at 04:09 PM · [top]

Tim,
I think the 2 children had two different dads.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-19-2013 at 08:21 PM · [top]

StayinAnglican,
“Its “gospel” these days to say that depression is an illness as if it was nothing more.  While I don’t deny that there is a biological element to it, I think the Church has always been right to call it a sin.” I think you mean to say that the Church calls suicide a sin. I believe that endogenous depression is an illness and not a sin.

[7] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-19-2013 at 08:25 PM · [top]

Finally, one can argue chicken/egg issues here. Which came first, the AODA issues or the depression. Some self medicate a depression with drugs and alcohol. Depression can also be a symptom of addiction to AODA. I suspect other underlying problems also based on her comments to AP.

[8] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-19-2013 at 08:32 PM · [top]

Fr. Dale,

Thank you.  I meant to say that suicide is considered a sin but didn’t make that clear.

[9] Posted by StayinAnglican on 2-19-2013 at 10:03 PM · [top]

The police were going to question her about the suspicious circumstances of her boyfriend’s death before she killed herself.

[10] Posted by paradoxymoron on 2-19-2013 at 11:50 PM · [top]

Fr Tim

There are some other narratives that float about situations like these. One is that creativity is enhanced by suffering and the creative are ennobled by suffering and that the art of the creative benefits from if is not tied to suffering. Second is that the financial rewards of the successful creative may be compensation for sufffering. Self indulgence becomes the salvation of the self indulgent in this soteriology of tautological self destruction.

[11] Posted by Don+ on 2-20-2013 at 11:10 AM · [top]

Tim,
I think the 2 children had two different dads.

Fr. Dale is correct. The father of Mindy McCready’s oldest child is still alive, according to this article:

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/02/20/mindy-mccready-children-what-will-happen-to-her-sons/

[12] Posted by the virginian on 2-20-2013 at 12:49 PM · [top]

Thanks, commenters.  I’ve corrected the article to reflect the two dads scenario.

[13] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-20-2013 at 05:07 PM · [top]

Spot on, Tim.  The Lamestream Media and the entertainment industry drive our society into such terrible spiritual vacuity that this seemed a logical answer to McReady.  How sad…

-Jim+

[14] Posted by FrJim on 2-22-2013 at 03:29 PM · [top]

[15] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-25-2013 at 12:43 PM · [top]

Hey, maybe I wasn’t so over the top after all!!!  You can scroll down to the bottom of this linked post and get the point.

[16] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-20-2013 at 07:45 PM · [top]

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