Saturday, April 12, 2008

The "Jesus Controversy" on American Idol

This past Wednesday American Idol featured their telethon for charity called “Idol Gives Back”. Something over $60 million was donated to address poverty in the States and abroad. Pretty impressive.

To close the evening the final 8 Idol contestants surprisingly began singing “Shout to the Lord”, an evangelical worship chorus that is a favorite of many. The next day non-Christians and Christians were complaining about the song being sung.

The non-Christians were upset that such an overtly religious “Jesus” song was forced upon all the viewers who were of other faiths or no faith.

The Christians were upset that a song that is meant to worship Jesus was being commercialized and being sung by presumably non-Christian and non-worshiping contestants.

Another twist to the controversy is that the song begins, “My Jesus, my Savior…” The Idol rendition began “My Shepherd, my Savior…”, totally leaving Jesus out of the song that is all about Him.

Then the surprises just kept coming as Thursday night Idol began the evening’s elimination show with an encore of “Shout to the Lord”, only this time they had the singers begin the song correctly, “My Jesus, my Savior.”

Many are scratching their heads and wondering what is going on with the producers of Idol, particularly after following another week that featured the guest mentoring appearance of Dolly Parton. The contestants all sang “Dolly songs” and several of them mention Jesus. Many are asking, “Has Idol gone evangelical?”

There are many things upon which to reflect. I’ll just identify one. Should a worship song to Jesus not be sung by someone who is not worshiping Jesus?

Hundreds of secular artists have recorded “Amazing Grace” and thousands of artists have recorded dozens of Christmas songs that praise and worship Jesus. Additionally, in the past 20 years the “Christian” music industry has sold millions of worship recordings which featured “Christian” artists who were at the time drug addicted, adulterous and otherwise screwed up.

There’s not a lot that I can do about that. What I can address is whether the life behind my voice is in concert with the lyrics sung in the presence of and to the person of Jesus. Every Sunday churches are filled with “worshipers” who are barely present, half-hearted, sin compromised and “idolatrous” in lifestyle singing Jesus songs.

I’m not really sure if God likes or dislikes secular people singing worship songs. What I am sure about is that God EXPECTS those in the church to be authentic and whole-heartedly engaged in worshiping Him.

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