Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bou's Brief

Due to the long delays while I write/rewrite/delete/rewrite my posts, I plan to offer a short glimpse of something near the end of each week. However, unlike old blog, I do plan to relate these thoughts to preaching.

What's in a Name?

I'm ashamed to admit that American Idol has become a ritual in our home. Personally, I prefer the early weeks (when the yelping "contestants" more mirror my vocal qualities) while my wife loves the finals (again, when the contestants more mirror her vocal quality). This week featured a special edition entitled "Idol Gives Back." It was a sort of pledge drive to raise funds for various humanitarian charities. As they we closing the show, the host announced that the remaining contestants were going to sing "Shout to the Lord."

I looked up from my laptop (which is usually open while I "watch" TV, another point of regular discussion with my wife) to listen. Surely, they don't mean Shout to the Lord (by Darlene Zschech), I thought. And if they do mean that song, I wonder if they'll sing all the lyrics.

They largely kept the song in tact. They sang every word of the song but one. In the midst of the song they sang words like: My Savior, Lord there is none like You, My Comfort, My Shelter, Praise to the King, never cease to worship You. They didn't slur, exchange or hide any of these clearly religious words with very clear Biblically driven imagery.

As I mentioned, they did change one word. But even "the replacement" was rich with biblical imagery. In the "Idol Edition," they sang out My Shepherd, a non-relevant term to sing in Los Angeles unless we understand the obvious Biblical overtones. It was clearly a worship song (for the lyrics say it). It is clearly intended to be sung to someone divine. It was clearly a song intended to be sung about Jesus.

But if that's the case, why not be clear about it. In its original form, the fourth word of the song is Jesus. However, someone(s) involved with American Idol (I have no idea who makes these decisions) saw it fit to mute the message by replacing His name. Why is that? There is no other reason but for offense.

Now, I am not requesting you petition, boycott or protest anything about the show...not because I don't want to jeopardize hearing next season's William Hung, but because we should not expect non-Christians to act otherwise. I am simply asking us to consider the nature of the offense of Jesus' name. The powers-to-be of the show determined that a religious song full of religious language was not offensive, as long as Jesus' name was removed. We can even call the Chief Shepherd by His Title, as long as we resist using His Name.

This should not surprise us. For the power of Apostolic preaching is that the name of Jesus Christ can either convict and/or offend. This is why Paul would state:
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.--1 Corinthians 2:2
Our determination should be no different than Paul's. Our preaching must name the name of Jesus. If a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, et al could sit through our sermon and apply terms (like Lord, Savior, God, etc) to fit their own system we have failed. We must eliminate their referents by clearly stating that we preach of Jesus.

We must shout the name of Jesus. The reason His Name is too offensive for American Idol is that His is the name that smashes all other idols!

to the praise of the glory of His grace!


~d said...

it's only offensive to non-christians, of course, if it's NOT used as an expletive.

k76 said...

So, I hear the second night they actually used the original wording and sang the name of JESUS! INTERESTING!!!! I would be VERY interested to know whose decision this was and WHY the change?? Wouldn't it be cool IF it was because there was enough godly opposition to the attempt to make that an "anonymous" praise song instead of what it truly is: a song about the One and Only Jesus Christ!!