Did you watch “American Idol Gives Back?” Yes, I admit to watching “American Idol”… I’m sure I’m not the target audience, but it’s kind of my “junk food” tv. I know everyone’s talking about Michael Johns today, who was unbelievably kicked off last night (yes, I was shocked and disappointed, too). But I really enjoyed the “Gives Back” show… I liked seeing a variety of performers and especially the clips of the relief work and needs around the world. It was a good reminder of what’s going on “out there”. I love Bono and all the good work he does to help the poor… too bad he didn’t sing, though!
It was a moving show, but I was left scratching my head when it closed with the contestants singing “Shout to the Lord” with full choir. I heard the event praised by my local Christian radio station as a great testimony to God, but to me it seemed more like last-minute pandering to Christians to get their money. Call me a cynic. I’m all for praise that comes from the heart, but what is the statistical probability that all the contestants are believers? Not too good, I’m guessing. So is it appropriate for non-Christians to present praise/prayer songs, especially in such an emotional context as the “Gives Back” show, in a normally secular venue? It just didn’t sit well with me. Maybe it was there because, in spite of all the harrassment Christians may take in the media, we do have a history for being generous and helpful to those in need. Regardless, to me it seemed like a last-ditch effort to tug at the heartstrings and the wallets. And in fact, I was moved to give… not to “American Idol”, but to World Vision and Wycliffe Bible Translators, whose work and practices I know and trust.