Wednesday, January 18, 2006

American Idol and the Church

I just finished reading an entry by one of my fellow bloggers about American Idol and it has inspired me. I love American Idol. Sometimes I hate to admit it but it's true. I love sitting through the performances to see if the truly talented person will win out in the end. But my favorite part is the auditions. I love seeing the unwashed masses turn out for a chance at glory. I love seeing the deluded make fools of themselves. I especially love to see Simon blow the rejects out of the water. Why? Why am I like this? I think it's because of the church.
I grew up a nice, proper Southern Baptist boy. Our services were full to the brim with pseudo-southern gospel music and fire and brimstone preaching. Nearly every Sunday, we were blessed with a solo or two from the good folks in the choir. One or two of these good folks were talented. The rest were not. On a semi-regular basis we were assailed with the sounds of screeching Tammy Faye wannabes or men who sounded like they swallowed Elmer's Glue. It was bad. As I got older, I learned that it's not easy to say no to church folks. Miss Bobby Jo sings because she asked to sing and her husband gives a substantial amount of money to the softball fund. Mister Lee and his lovely life Wynona sing because he is a deacon and someone from their family has been a member of this church since it's inception in the late 1800's. As you can see, no is not a word that is used often in the church, especially when it comes to dealing with tithers and founders.
In my experiences as a layman and a minister, things are getting better in some areas these days. Some churches are more devoted to excellence than they once were. But there are still those holdovers who let Billy Joe Jim Bob sing a solo because his daddy is the chairman of the Personnel Committee. And we just can' t tick him off, now can we.

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