Christians, performing arts, and American Idol

It seems that many Christians end up on American Idol, the long-running talent competition on Fox.

I think it’s a natural outworking of our music-infected worship. Each Sunday, we give thousands of musicians the chance to sing and  play while they lead worship. There’s plentyof God-given talent out there and the church helps it grow.

Jonathan Acuff, the seriously funny genius behind “Stuff Christians Like,” asked the question, “How do you know if that contestant on American Idol is a Christian?”

There’s plenty of sarcasm in the responses and you’ll see mine. It’s number 27.

“After they make the final cut they ‘thank the Holy Spirit,’ because no one but a real Christian gives a shout out to the Holy Spirit. If they’re a Pentecostal, they’ll thank the ‘Holy Ghost.'”       (= + 3 points)

We can laugh about this, but it leads to a deeper question. Should we use our gifts to bring attention to ourselves?

Of course — all of who are serious about the infusion of faith into the workplace walk that line every day. When the boss says, “well done,” do we beam with pride, or do we deflect in humility? We love positive reviews and evalutations. We all want to ‘earn the prize’ of a pay increase.

When I write something, I admit a wellspring of pride when others comment or give praise.

On the church platform, the pastor gives his best. What do you say to him afterwards? And the performance arts always cause me to be a little uncomfortable. When someone sings a rousing song in church and people burst into applause, is it right?

More questions than answers today.

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About David Rupert

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This entry was posted in american idol, Christian, Pride, Red Letter Christians, Stuff Christians Like. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Christians, performing arts, and American Idol

  1. fine lines are crossed a little at a time

  2. Leia says:

    As a "worship leader" (hate the term – only the Holy Spirit should "lead" worship, imo), it always kind of wigs me out when someone (well-meaning) asks how a service went. How do I respond? There weren't any major technical foul ups? I sounded semi-decent? We had lots of folks in attendance? Giving was up?I don't really know how to respond with "I acted in obedience to what I perceive to be God's will for my life – I can't speak for anyone else in the room" without it sounding…off…prideful?

  3. I have an anecdote to share, for what it's worth.I've only felt comfortable with applause for a church presentation when it's God-directed. I'm not trying to be a prude, and I occasionally applause anyway, to give encouragement (most often for children's presentations), but it rarely feels right.The one time it felt wonderful was a presentation we did at our church about a year ago. My part, on the drama team, involved us running off the platform at the end of our Scripture presentation, as the dancers ran onto it. The music came to a point that seemed over, when we knew attendees would applaud. At that point the drama team ran down the aisle and back onto the platform, the dancers turned their backs to the auditorium, and we joined the applause as we looked in the same direction, with hands upraised, so that we channeled the applause heavenward.And that, my friend, is what I wish we did all the time. Perform whatever we do with excellence, so that it draws praise, and channel that praise heavenward.Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NKJV)

  4. Tonja says:

    Just visiting the other hosts of Jon's blog tour. I'll chime in -I don't think there's anything wrong with witnesses (or audience, or fellow worshippers, whatever you want to call them) showing their appreciation for a God-given gift being well used. It can be part of their participation in the worship – if they're acknowledging the true source of the gift. And if it causes the "performer" to acknowledge and redirect the affirmation, either internally or externally, that's not a bad thing either. Tonja (#122 on Jon's list)

  5. Papa Joe says:

    As a stage guy myself I get a small smile when somebody says I did well, but then it fades in comparison to any (be them few) time that somebody says they were honestly ministered to by the (musical) worship time. It is encouraging to know that whether I see it or not there may be a lyric in a song we the stage people present that may be the right uplift to somebody's life or better yet the word that turns their life in a better direction.Something I've seen before was a praise team at the back of an auditorium as not to be a front of house distraction, but is that the right solution?

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