22 July 2007

Tammy Faye's This-Worldly Struggles End

Rest in Peace. God bless.

Tammy Faye Messner, a televangelist Christian singer who, with her first husband Jim Bakker, founded the PTL ("Praise the Lord") Club in the 1970s, appears in worldly terms to have had a few good years and a lot of very tough ones.

Jim and Tammy stood on top of the world in the late 1970s and well into the 1980s -- when PTL was both their mission and a financial empire.

But when things went bad, they went very bad. Jim had a fling with a Church Secretary, Jessica Hahn. After that came out into the open, the empire itself fell apart. In December 1988, a grand jury indicted Jim for fraud. Tammy was not named in that indictment.

The rest of her travails it would be tedious to relate. They're already enumerated in obits all over the worldwide web. A very public struggle with colon cancer capped them.

Tammy passed away on Friday.

The lesson? What occurs to me is that behind earthly success there always lurks this chasm, the possibility of quick and painful reversal, and this is so even if those who are enjoying that success think at the time that it isn't of the earthly sort, that it is founded securely upon the Rock of Ages.

"Think no one happy until he is dead," as Sophocles would remind us.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.