Meant for worship, not performance

>> Thursday, April 10, 2008

OK... so I am probably joining the ranks of many bloggers who will write on this topic by throwing my opinion into the ring, but here I go anyway.

I am a BIG
American Idol fan. I always watch every episode from the first audition to the finale. I vote, I participate in an online voting game, I obsess about David Archeleta just like the rest of the world. But as I watched the results show tonight, I felt a little upset.

The top 8 finalists last night at "Idol Gives Back" and then again tonight sang a very well-known worship song,
"Shout to the Lord." It was disturbing to me, unsettling. I don't get it. I don't understand why Idol would choose this song. I don't get the connection with this week's Idol theme of helping the world's poor and giving money to the underpriviledged. Except that there is a huge connection between the real message of this song and giving to the poor....Jesus. But I am almost certain it was not the intent of the Idol producers to spread the word about Jesus being the answer for the world's poor and hurting. It was emotional manipulation and I don't like it. For the same reason, I don't like shows like "Extreme Makeover:Home Edition." They are using the sincere sentiments of good people to manufacture emotion and make money.

This song is a worship song... meant to be sung unto God in reverence and with humility. Some of the finalists may or may not have a personal connection to this song. Maybe some of them have sung it in their church at home. But that is not the spirit in which the song was sung tonight. It was all performance, meant to endear the contestants and the show to the population of people watching who know this song and have sincere, heart-felt meaning associated with it. It was not meant to lead the audience in worship or give glory to God, even though those are the words they sang. "My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You." Hearing it performed on T.V. tonight felt forced and just plain weird. I don't like it. Not at all.

American Idol, though I love it, is about creating a pop star. And even though this week is supposedly about giving back to those in need, it is still a business - a huge money-making business where those on-screen and off make a gagillion dollars courtesy of faithful fans such as myself. So do this fan a favor and leave my faith out of your money making venture. Don't take songs written and meant for honest, reverent worship and turn them into just another way for you to make money. Jesus kicked people like that out of the temple. People who were using a place (and in this case, a song) meant for bringing God glory for their own personal fianancial promotion.
And even though the producers may not have intended for the song to proclaim the Gospel to the masses, I fully believe that the Holy Spirit can use this performance to speak truth to people who may not otherwise hear and may really need it. For that, I should stand up and say "Alleluia!" And I do. But that doesn't keep me from feeling like the whole thing is a bit weird and uncomfortable.

I may be being a bit harsh, or maybe not. This just doesn't sit well with me. I could go into more detail about my thoughts on faith and it's integration into culture, but that is for another day.
You watch the clip and decide for yourself. Maybe I am off base here. I would love to know your thoughts. Does this feel O.K. to you?
(The clip is from last night where they changed the opening line to "My Shepherd" instead of "My Jesus." But tonight they actually said Jesus. )


Atwood-Family of 3 April 11, 2008 at 7:09 AM  

I agree-I do not watch Idol, but I caught a clip of it and wondered "Why are they singing this?" and felt sad because there was at least one contestent-a guy-who seemed like he did not want to be there singing it-like it might have been a serious issue for him to sing that song and that bothered me that he was up there, actually promoting Jesus by singing the song, but not meaning it at all.

Heather April 11, 2008 at 4:46 PM  

You are first blogger I've read who disagrees with this song choice. Most everyone is excited that God is being proclaimed.

Although I didn't see it, I think I would also be unsettled. After all, this is the same show where Simon criticized Mandisa for choosing a praise song.

I agree that praise songs should be used for worship not performance. As for the contestant who lokoed uneasy about it, I think it just goes to show that when you are a performer, you may be asked/told to sing lyrics that you disagree with.

Catherine April 11, 2008 at 7:03 PM  

I totally agree with you!!! I don't watch but I (along with everyone in the universe) saw the clip. It gave me shivers and not the good kind. Good for you for speaking out!

I can't wait for your posts on faith and integration with culture. :)

Anonymous April 13, 2008 at 3:48 PM  

It may be an unpopular perspective, but I had four unchurched/never been to church before people with me Sunday as a result of it ~ A mom, two of her teen girls, and a friend of the mom. Performance or not and the best choice or not, it was something God used to soften the hearts of this family who desperately needs Him! I've tried for the nearly 2 years I've known them, and I know I'm also the only Christian in their lives, and there's been zero openness. But the song done this week resulted in the mom bringing some things up with me after talking to her girls while watching Idol. The softening that Wednesday and Thursday night brought about found this family in a very different place in their openness to faith and the difference a relationship with Jesus can make in our lives. Today you'd have found me sitting with the four of them in church...and they're coming back next week!


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