Today many Americans are mourning or remembering two contemporary voices who touched and influenced our lives and died within hours of each other. Surely we all know the influence of Rush Limbaugh and Carman (really Carmelo Domenic Licclardello) as they spoke and sang truth across the fruited plain for the past generation. In my very limited opinion each of them reached heights of popularity in the public arena because they occupied unique platforms that represented the thoughts and opinions of so many Americans. Meaning, that their popularity was in part the result of how they spoke or sang what the American people thought and desired.
So what is this platform thing? It is the ability to speak or perhaps sing what is in the heart and mind of the American public. Truly, few of us have the stage to express our genuine beliefs to the broad spectrum of American thought. Yes, as a local Protestant Evangelical pastor, my personal platform was the pulpit of my local church. A number of years ago a friend and mentor challenged me to broaden that platform, that is, to find new venues to express my views about faith, life, politics, and other issues under the sun. Under that advice I developed a web site, blog, and wrote a book, new platforms for expression of my personal Christian views, which he thought worth sharing.
It is my belief that Rush Limbaugh and Carman both spoke and sang what a great number of Americans were sensing but were unable to express beyond their mostly limited venues. As our nation was under the political and religious systems of liberalism and secularism, they were able to speak, write, and sing what was in the hearts and minds of the silent majority. Their thoughts resonated with the American people. Few in government, the newspapers, or even in the musical field found such platforming for their ideals. Limbaugh and Carman touched the soul of American with their plain speaking truth and spiritual clarity. Today, working America, the people who vote, attend church every Sunday, and cling to our heritage as a nation under God remember their influence and mourn their loss. They occupied their platforms well.
Scripture teaches and advises that every believer understand the importance of having platforms to extend our influence on our broken world. Jesus said---
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be
restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under
people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor
do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to
all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may
see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5: 13-16, ESV
Their deaths this week challenge us to follow their lead and discover platforms for the messages entrusted to us. We can most likely not have such extensive stages of our messages. But, we can find new platforms for expressing the truth that shapes our lives. And, we must. Salt and light.