—–Last nights American Idol was almost as surprising as the night before. They started the show by singing “Shout to the Lord”, but this time they did not take Jesus’ name out. All the time I was thinking, “Does this mean I jumped the gun?” (I already had one person tell me I was crazy about my analysis of the previous night.) I do not think I did, but some of my comments deserve some clarification.
—–But first, what is the significance of Jesus making the cut last night. I think it reveals that a whole heap load of Christians watch American Idol. Fox thought, “Christians like God. We can get there money by invoking Him?” Last night was probably a product of the Evangelical Hate Mail and Boycott Ministry. You know, the EHMBM. You gave an offering to them last Groundhogs day. They are the wing of the church that keeps the Teletubbies in jail and the Dixie Chicks off the radio.
—–Depending on when the second show was taped, either everyone started writing emails, a focus group responded negatively, or someone told Fox that the EHMBM would be on their tale. Not wanting to loose all those fat Evangelical bucks, the show complied, in a very surprising way. The encouraging things is that Christians are not so easily duped, although there were certainly a few who thought Wednesday was a sure sign that Ryan Seacrest had asked Jesus to come into his heart.
—–Back to my previous comments. Yesterday I said, “It was super cheesy, super cocky in its American materialism, and, as I commented several times, super messianic.” I also said that “TV is growing in its arrogance to take the place of the church and of Christ.”
—–But someone might say, “Lighten up. What is wrong with American Idol trying to help people.” Nothing at all. In fact, it is really refreshing that a TV show is focusing a lot of its attention on Africa and people who can be helped in practical ways. How often do we see starving African kids on TV. We need to be reminded that there is more to life than our petty concerns. (Just do not send Idol money, because some of their money goes to fund abortion and, as bad as it can be, the church is the entity we should work through.)
—–Let me explain my assertions.
—–Hopefully no one needs help with this one. They pulled all the cheap tricks to get you emotionally worked up. There were the slow motion pans of poor Appalachian children’s faces. There were the African children singing in unison a song of hope. And there were the constant reminders that YOU, you amazing people, can come together to fix the world.
Super Cocky in its American Materialism
—–(This one goes along with television’s messiah complex, so I will save some of my explanation for the next section.) During one of the segments, a movie star made the comment, “These people are so amazing. They have such a will to live.” What could that possibly mean? Since when do we admire people for not wanting to die? We admire them for not wanting to die, when we say to ourselves, “If I had to live in this dump I would shoot myself. They are dirty. They have no TV. They have no microwave.” In other words, my comfort and possession are all that matter in life. So what is our answer to the world’s problems? Stuff.
—–One of my friends made the comment, “I bet if all the celebrities on the show gave a 1/10 of their salary, world hunger might end all together. Anyway, I felt like the show was money hungry and could care less about the poor. They used tears of hurting people to get people to call in.” I thought it was telling last night when Ryan Seacrest made the comment along the lines that one of the best ways to donate was to download their songs from itunes. Dig deep, but do not give so much that you cannot afford to download the performances of your favorite idol. This is charity that feels good, but it does not call on anyone to lay down his life for his neighbor. It is all about image. That is what most of those celebrities were doing on there, just being a part of something big.
Super Messianic / Trying to Replace Christ and the Church
—–This is probably where I lost some of you. What do I mean when I say Idol and TV is messianic? Well, Christ is the savior of the world; therefore, anything that claims to be the source for solving the world’s problems is trying to be messianic. Also, Christ is the ONE who is meant to unite ALL things in Himself (Ephesians 1:10). He is the unifier. Anything that attempts to be the one source of common ground for all peoples is also trying to replace the true messiah. Do not take this to mean that I think they are consciously trying to subvert the church. Of course not. They are just trying to push their agenda to be your all in all.
—–First, I think we should all be leery of anyone that makes the claim that all the world’s problems can be solved if you join with him. Here is a Ryan Seacrest quote from last night, “[Idol gives back] is about changing the world and securing a future.” Wow! Beat your swords into pruning hooks and turn your missile silos into ice cream stands! Finally, the golden age is here, no evangelism or martyrdom required, only TV antennas and a credit card.
—–Second, Idol and other shows promise to solve our problems through stuff. For example, I am glad Tye Pennington does what he does. It makes for a cool show about destroying and building things. It also gives people, usually pretty good people, some cool possessions. And it gives some chances for major construction companies to get publicity while making lots of sweet cash for the producers (I am still a capitalist, I just do not think they should claim they are being selfless).
—–Do not be fooled, however, into accepting wealth as a savior. For Extreme Home Makeover, the answer to the blind, crippled, bereaved, or over burdened is not the Resurrection or the help of the church, it is a ridiculously big house and everything you have ever coveted. That show is not about helping people out. If it was, they could help 50 people in one show with all that money, but they wouldn’t be able to keep you captivated. The show is about recompensing a person for the bad hand they have been given by giving them complete opulence. When in truth, the Ressurrection is your vindication, not a 70 inch TV. (Still I am glad that some of these hard-working people get helped out.)
—–Third, Idol and other shows promise to solve our problems through programs. Those dirty-faced, mountain children get an afterschool program. That’s the ticket. Now, through team building games, internet access, and books all their problems will be solved. Which I think that translates into, “They can make much more money when they grow up.” Perhaps, these people have issues going on that programs cannot solve. We see no Father and a house where there is no attempt toward stewardship of what they have been given, and, yet again, money is the answer. Sure.
—–Fourth, there are the mesquito nets, which prevent the spread of malaria during sleep. I actually like this one, but let us not think that we can save the Africans by sending them more stuff. Those who have worked first-hand with them know that this is the common error Americans make. Still, this one has a good chance of going to good use.
—–Everyone who American Idol ministers to, needs the gospel. They need the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to break into their lives and change who they are and to build their lives around Christ. We can do lots of helpful things, but real change never comes through feel-good, profit mongering. It comes through a once dead man who now reigns with the Father, as He puts all his enemies under his feet.
—–So, do not think I am saying not to watch American idol. Just keep the Messiah as your hope and have no idols before Him.