Season after season, American Idol continues to top TV viewing charts. Surprisingly, in the midst of its broad-based popularity, this season the show took the unprecedented step of broadcasting Jesus' name far and wide. But not without stirring up some controversy along the way.
Whether you are an avid American Idol fan (for whom this is old news), or one of the less enlightened just getting up to speed on this story, the recent rendition of the boldly Christian song, Shout to the Lord, sung by the final 8 Idol contestants, provides some serious opportunities for spiritual conversation. The final 8 initially performed the song on the fundraiser Idol Gives Back, but substituted the word 'Shepherd' for 'Jesus' in the lyrics. After the ensuing uproar over this editorial 'political correctness', the contestants opted to perform the song the following night and include Jesus' name in the lyrics.
The buzz this created points to the reality that Jesus' name can be controversial ground in the public square! But we know that one day Jesus' name will be honored without reservation – no holding back! Check out these verses from Philippians 2:8-11:
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
With so many people tuned in to the cultural phenom of American Idol, you will easily find frequent openings for using it to talk about spiritual truths. Here are some suggestions to get your conversations headed in a spiritual direction.
• Why do you think American Idol is so popular?
• Do you think people love rooting for the underdog? Share how Jesus is the ultimate example of caring for the underdog, the lost and the broken.
• Do you ever imagine what it would be like to have your own 15 minutes (or a TV season) of fame? Do you think everyone wants to be loved and valued by others for who they are? Share how God has already demonstrated his love for us as our Heavenly Father.
• Did you follow the Shout to the Lord wording changes – with Jesus and Shepherd? What was your reaction?
American Idol anticipation will continue to escalate in the next few weeks as the countdown to the next AI winner continues. Use it to share your faith!
Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.