Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blown Away

American Idol: Shout to the Lord

This amazed me last night. I suppose there are loads and loads of Christians everywhere all huffed and puffed because they decided to change the word "Jesus" to "Shepherd." I'm not. Here's why:

(Besides the fact that the Idol contestants, not to mention Dolly Parton when she was on the show, have been singing about Jesus, unashamedly for weeks...)

I'd say the last thing that a Christian should do about all those people singing that song, is complain. God draws all men unto Himself and the road that leads to Him is longer for some than it is for others. (Thanks C-ham for that thought) The worst thing we can do to a soul reaching for Him is to slap his hand every time he reaches because he/she isn't able to keep up with us. Rather, we should work beside them, like a thankful thirsty soul, who's found water, and show them, through love, who the Truth is and how He Loves perfectly and without condition.

The world has grown weary of hyper-critical self-righteous pompous stuck-up judgemental Christians. The Samaritan story is just as poignant as it was when it was told 2000 years ago. However, the smack in the face is less felt since we are not Jews and in this day in age we don't really think of Samaritan as filthy sinners, unfit for the temple.

Substitute the "Good Samaritan" with the "the Good Morman" or the "Good Seeker" and then you've got the proper impact. If it pisses you off, then the words of Jesus have hit the mark they were meant to hit.

No one ever comes to Christ staring down the barrel of a Christian's accusatory index finger.

As my friend Brant put it: "People "get" the Kingdom of God. They can't avoid it. Spend an evening focused on the "least of these", and something like this seems unavoidable."


Becky said...

As I commented on Brant's post ...

I was totally shocked and not sure what to think. At first.

But, here's the conclusion I've come to. It was freakin awesome! The Lord was praised. On national TV. God is the judge of heart, but my guess is that some of those contestants really meant the words they were singing.

I'm taking Paul's approach in Philippians 1:18:

"But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."

Fork said...

Actually, Sethz0rz, "Good Mormon" doesn't work here. In fact, I think we need to have a sit-downsies this weekend so's I can fill you in on what Joseph Smith loosed upon the world.

But I agree with everything else you said. :^)

Seth Ward said...

Yeah, I thought about that. But, I didn't say "Joseph Smith" I said, "The Good Mormon." And some of the kindest people I have ever known have been Mormons. In contrast, some of the cruelest, meanest, spiteful, judgmental, gossipy people I've ever known have been professing, born-again, evangelical Christians. I've even been that kind of Christian and sometimes, I still am. (I've also know plenty of good ones too!)

bigtoe said...

You will never know how this song on American Idol will impact so many people. Take for instance a person who left her church along time ago because of judgmental, gossipy people in the church. I sang this song in church and it just brings back what I may be missing. Other Christians that might have had a few too many bad experiences in a church might have heard this and maybe can change their minds about going back to church.

Anonymous said...

Maybe ironically, at least two of the "Idols" are Mormons. That's probably not ironic. I don't know.

Seth, every other caller I got this morning on my radio show was judgmental in PRECISELY the way you anticipate here. They were slapping them down for not doing it right.

"Didn't say 'Jesus'..." they said.

Neither does "Amazing Grace", folks.

I just hope that the Christians who put down the "non-Christians" for not singing their song right manage to work the word "Jesus" into every sentence they say. Every single one.

You put this very well. For my part, as much as I, too, despise what Joseph Smith gave us, the Good Mormon sounds like *exactly* what Jesus might say, in today's context, to the Doctrinally Correct, but unloving, among us.


Christopher Lake said...

How is Christ "preached" to anyone, when a song that originally praised Him, openly, is deliberately stripped of its Christian content on nation-wide television? Where is the preaching of Christ in such a move? Yes, non-Christians do use the terms "God" and "Lord" too. However, according to Scripture, they are not referring to the true God. Jesus states that if people don't honor Him, they don't honor the Father who sent Him (John 5:23). This isn't my opinion-- this is Jesus's own testimony about non-Christians in Scripture. According to Jesus Himself, if you don't honor Him, you don't honor the true God. In that light, how is removing Jesus's name from this song *not* dishonoring to God?

Also, how is it a matter of "self-righeousness" for Christians to be upset when Christ is objectively dishonored? We have no righteousness, in and of ourselves. Every bit of our righteousness comes from Christ, and Christ didn't impute His righteousness to us because we were any morally better, smarter, more "worthy," etc., than anyone else. Our being in relationship with Him is fundamentally because of *Him," not us. All of our knowledge and love of Him is to His glory and praise, not our own. When non-Christians dishonor God (in this situation, by singing a song that was originally about Christ, but now is *not* about the true God), we should love them by praying for them and reaching out to them in love, as we are able. This doesn't mean *just* sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. It also doesn't mean *less* than that.

To be upset about what happened on American Idol is not self-righteous. It is simply caring for the honor of the true God, as revealed in Jesus Christ, and caring deeply that others come to know Him, by hearing Him proclaimed. Removing His name from a Christian song is not proclaiming Him-- it is *profaning* Him, and by definition, profaning God. Again, this is not simply my opinion. Jesus states it in John 5:23. I'm not thinking that I'm "better," inherently, than anyone associated with American Idol. I'm just upset and mourning over the fact that someone chose to leave Christ's name out of a song which originhally proclaimed Him, and that others chose to go along with it and sing the song. It's not a matter for gloating among Christians-- it's a matter for prayer and tears.

Christopher Lake said...

I meant "originally" in the next-to-last sentence above, not "originhally."

Chaotic Hammer said...

Christopher said: Removing His name from a Christian song is not proclaiming Him-- it is *profaning* Him, and by definition, profaning God.

Interesting concept. A "Christian" song. How do you know a song is actually a "Christian"? Maybe it just went to the altar and said the words, but didn't really mean it.

Anonymous said...

Wow folks, Jesus, Shepherd - I thought it was the same son of God.
Now if they had changed it to "My vine" I might get upset at that imagery and "branch" off into another opinion.
As it is, I'll let sleeping metaphors lie and be thankful toward those who sang Jesus' praises.

FancyPants said...

When I watched this last night, I couldn't help but wonder if someone high up in the ranks over there at Fox isn't a believer.

I mean, you've got Dolly Parton saying to Ryan Seacrest, "Well you've got Simon and I've got Jesus." And shoutin Hallelujah everywhere and havin' church. Then you've got Mariah Carey havin' church last night and singing "thank you Jesus" in frickin whistle tone (how can she get all those consonants out up there?!) and then they sing "Shout to the Lord." Either someone's a Christian over there, or they've found out that they can make lots of money off of Christians. Hopefully, it's not the latter.

I mean, network television told Johnny Cash he couldn't talk about Jesus on his show, and he said Buh-LOH-nee I can't. Just watch me.

So I say praise God for this. I have a feeling someone was forced to change that "Jesus" to "Shepherd" but had to give somewhere in order to get it performed. That's not so bad of a "compromise" really, if you can even call it that. Jesus calls himself a Shepherd and they all said "Jesus" so many other times in the show. How can we get our panties in a wad over it?

Chaotic Hammer said...

Well, they went and spoiled all our fun tonight for the results show.

They sang the same song again, and this time said "Jesus".

Someone, quick! We'll have to think of something else to criticize them for now. Any ideas?

A.Macaroni said...

I rather enjoyed hearing the word "Lord" come from Ryan Seacrest's mouth. I missed last night's performance and wasn't aware of any controversy, so I was able to enjoy the shock tonight for the first time when they sang the true lyrics. I would love to know the background on the decision to perform this song.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I'm the cynic on this. It's probably a mood. Forgive me.

Fancy, I'm nearly dead convinced that it's got all to do with money and nothing to do with Jesus.

Does that make it a bad thing? I guess not as far as the audience goes. But I'm not wetting myself with glee over it either.

Like I said, maybe it's just a bad mood or something. Sorry.

Herbert S. Crotch said...

Who are all these people and why in the world are they dressed in white? What kind of music is that? That can't be what I think it is... THE anthem of protestantism, on FOX.

My ears a throbbing from the assault. That one boy looks like a girl with whiskers.

Susanne said...

Herbert, you crack me up.

I wasn't watching either show because I can't stand American Idol, but I was so happy/shocked to see this clip (even more shocked to hear that they sang the real lyrics on the next show). I don't care what the producers' motives were for letting this song be sung...God was still praised! On national TV!!! Amazing. Unbelievers who heard this song for the first time and liked it might be persuaded to buy a CD with the song on it. They might then hear the gospel preached, through song, for the first time. Why should Christians then complain about the changing of one word, especially since that word still accurately describes Christ?! He is Jesus, but He is also my Shepherd. I thought the performance was beautiful. And that's not easy for me to say considering my opinion of the show in general.

Kelly said...

Interestingly, my brother--a valedictorian at his high school last year--was not allowed to say, "thank God" rather he was advised to "thank the higher powers."

I agree with "becky" per Philippians 1:18 ==What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense of in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.==

My brother modified His speech later to include His name because He is the One ALL recognition is due. It is sad when we are not able to proclaim Him openly but praise God for the freedom we get now as opposed to most other countries that get death penalties and other harsh persecutions for lifting His name one high.

To address another point I read above, I do not think we should stop attending church, etc because of people's actions. Why? We are to look to Christ who is perfect not humans who falter. He is our paradigm--He is continually molding us into His image for without His cloth of righteousness, we are as filthy rags and do not deserve His love and care at all.

bigtoe said...

OK, Kelly! I will tell you that I left my church because of other peoples actions. Lets see, I will start by saying that the pastor let a known child sex offender work in the childrens church area where my Son and Daughter attended Sunday school. I had gotten information about this from my sister. Oh, I looked him up on the National sex offenders registry,and there he was picture and all. He had molested his two young daughters. I talked to my pastor about this and he said that he had already done his time and that he had repented and that he should be forgiven. I do not think that most sex offenders can be cured. Then I found out that our new pastor was having trouble in his marriage and it was because he was addicted to porn on the internet. He confessed in church one day. He should have never been aloud to pastor our church and the elders of the church knew this before he came and thought he had repented so they all agreed to let him lead our church but the congregation was never informed about this. Now, Kelly do you want more?