One of my core motivations as a Christian is to join in the redemptive work of Jesus wherever I find it happenning. This means that I try to live in a way that tries to help instead of condemn. I try to think of solutions instead of bemoaning problems. While I do think there is much that will be condemned and many problems to mourn over, I leave the condemning to God, who will do a much better job at it than any human efforts. It also means that I try to redeem culture, rather than setting up a mirror image of culture that is cleaner and safer. This view is the primary motivation for Christian versions of youtube, myspace and much of Christian music and radio – the coup de viser of safe alternatives. This past week I found it happening in such a surprising place.
I have long been wary of the effects that cultural celebrity worship is having on our society. Many people know more about Brad and Angelina that about their own neighbors or even family. So, at the birthplace of new, young pop stars, American Idol, we find a show right in the middle of the season called Idol Gives Back. Now, I know that this show would not be on the air if it wasn’t good for ratings. We live in a time when social justice has become incredibly trendy, thanks in part to activist celebrities. However, I don’t think the redemptive response of the church should be to condemn or to set up a mirror version of American Idol for Christians. Instead, it seems that God is using celebrity, American Idol and Hollywood to accomplish what He wants to do in the world. Ironic isn’t it? But wonderful at the same time. If God can use a talking donkey, then surely he can use a celebrity, surely he can use you, surely he can use me!
And then, to top off my exuberance and to solidify my wife’s decisiont to make a donation online, American Idol Gives Back closes off the Wednesday show with this song, and opens Thursday’s the same way. Wonderful stuff, ain’t it! So come on and join in the fun and get to redeeming!