American Idol, Me, and God

January 24, 2007 by · 3 Comments 

Okay, I finally watched American Idol… I know it’s like season 4 or something, but if you know me, you know that I’m always a little behind the curve (basically, about 5 years behind… I stopped using my Sony Walkman cassette player this year! [Our younger readers probably don’t know what a “cassette tape” is… don’t fret; they’re a thing of the past]).

I found the show fascinating. What is the appeal (because it is appealing)? Why is it interesting and entertaining? I’ve been pondering that question—and I even asked my 12 year old daughter Greta. Here was her answer: “It’s fun to see people mess up… and it’s fun to see the ones who are really good.”

Not a bad answer. I think I agree. It is interesting to see the many failures and the occasional successes. But why? Why am I—and obviously a lot of other people—drawn to a show that highlights humiliation and exhilaration?

I think the answer is found in the fact that it touches something deep inside each one of us. We can relate to sticking ourselves out on the line and facing a “yea” or a “nay”—a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down.” What are you talking about Doug? I’d never go on a show like that… I can’t sing! Me either…

BUT, we face our Simon’s and Paula’s and Randy’s (if you’ve never seen the show, those are the judges) every single day (by the way, since I am an Idol neophyte—who are these people? I remember Paula Abdul—but who are Randy and Simon? I think they do a fine job, but where did they come from?). At work, at home, at school, at church, with our neighbors, family, and friends… We are constantly putting ourselves on the line and hoping to hear the words “You’re going to HOLLYWOOD!” (Well, not actually those words, but words like, “You did it! You’re good! You’re the bomb! Good job! Well done! You qualify! You’re acceptable! I see great things for you!)

Perhaps part of the appeal of those auditioning for Idol is that they have the guts to take the risk—no matter the outcome. If only for those few moments—they are energized and fully alive. Even if we see someone perform and our reaction is, “What was he/she thinking?!?”—at least, they had the courage to give it a shot… And then for those that make it—well, we admire them. We celebrate with them. We acknowledge their gift. It’s kinda like we won too.

There’s just one problem: We know that the contest is not over with that first audition. Once in Hollywood, they will be judged again. Only this time, the competition is stiffer. And the judgments will continue because only ONE person can win (you didn’t realize the psychological depth of Idol, did you?!?).

So what does all this have to do with you and me? Well, in my life, I often feel more like the guy who ruins Simon’s day and makes him respond with something like (try to think in an English accent): “Are you serious?!?” or “Are you drunk?!?” or “That was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen…” or “You remind me of a monkey.”

Because of this, I find that I am hesitant to “put myself on the line” a lot of the time. I try to play it safe, travel under the radar, be a people–pleaser, blend in with the crowd, keep a low profile. It’s a good strategy to avoid rejection… but it dulls the soul after a while, doesn’t it? It kinda smothers the spirit… You ever feel that way?

This can even carry over in my relationship with God. I understand that God accepts me as I am. He loves me because… well, because he does. It’s not based on anything I do—instead, it’s based on what Jesus did on the cross.

But I have realized something about myself, my faith, my view of God in the past year. Even though I believe that Jesus paid for all my sins at the cross, I still try to do things to be acceptable to God. It’s like an Idol audition before God where I stand up and perform and hope for the best. Rarely do I feel competent, or worthy, or skilled, or relaxed, or joyful. I am often self-conscious and tense. I am often disappointed in myself and defeated. I imagine phrases like, “That’s wasn’t very good…” or “That doesn’t cut it or “You just don’t have what it takes to advance to the next level.”

It’s kinda like I got to Hollywood (I’m a Christian and I’m going to heaven) but everybody knows that I don’t really belong there because I can’t sing.

Do you relate to this at all?

If so, I have some good news for you. News that you may find hard to believe or even “impossible to be true”. When you place your faith in Jesus, the audition is over. You have not only advanced to Hollywood—you’ve won! But that can’t be true! I still mess up so much! It’s true—because it’s not your song that counts… It’s Jesus’. He sang it in a manger in a stable; he sang it on a mountainside by the Sea of Galilee; he sang it on a hill called Calvary; he sang it in an empty tomb… And he sings it still in and through your life and mine. And it is beautiful, and good, and righteous, and lovely.

His song is our song.

So belt it out guys… And listen to God’s proud voice…

“You did it! You’re good! You’re the bomb! Good job! Well done! You qualify! You’re acceptable! I see great things for you! I LOVE YOU!”

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3 Responses to “American Idol, Me, and God”
  1. chrisadamshardwoodconceptscom says:


  2. chrisadamshardwoodconceptscom says:

    Nice job Dug- I look forward to your message on Sunday. I am still amazed that the God of the universe can accept a guy like me all I can say is… Praise God for the gift of Jesus!!!

  3. joedv1218 says:

    I agree that it is our constant need for appreciation that can keep us from putting ourselves on the line for God because there is no way of us consciously knowing that God says, Well done good and faithful servant.” Until we get there! So keep the faith!

    Joe, from Oakmont PA

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