I kept hearing on the news that last night’s college football national championchip was supposed to be a “really good game,” so I decided to watch some television “while I read my book” for a class I have coming up (listen, we all need down time, right?). Well, between plays (sometimes sports lose my attention), I decided to venture over to my favorite station, TBN. This provided more proof that American evangelicalism has issues.
First, they had an advertisement for a new “Christian reality” show that they’re putting together called “Gifted.” I think this is based on the popular “American Idol.” Too bad they didn’t name it “Christian Idol” instead. The advertisement had a spot with some member of the boy band “Backstreet boys” (I think it was Brian Littrell). It’s nice to see that this young man could stop singing about fornication long enough to come help out a upstart Christian television program. Perhaps the best thing about “Gifted” is its name. I mean, think about it. Isn’t this just what Paul meant in the Holy Scripture when he talked about our receiving gifts from the Spirit? We’re the ones who are “gifted.” And I think I read once in one of those “recognized your spiritual gifts books” that one of the best ways to tell that you’re gifted is to go on some talent contest and win after you’ve danced all over the stage bellowing out some “praise to God.” And isn’t that the point of being gifted? I think Paul does say something like, “But earnestly desire the higher gifts.” (1 Cor 12:31, ESV). You see, that’s a bad translation. What he is actually trying to say here is that we should strive to find out if we are the most gifted.
The second thing I saw was an actual television program starring (I love that word in a Christian context) that great television star from the 80’s or 90’s (or whatever), Kirk Cameron. I think the name of the program was “Way of the Master” or something. On this program they taped Kirk or somebody (the camera wasn’t on the “evangelist”) trying to “soul win” out on the streets. I had a friend tell me about this once. They were video-recording this “real” on-the-street “evangelism.” Now let’s think about this. How would you have liked to have been video-recorded when you were confronted with the gospel? Let’s say the camera was “in tight” following you as you walked down the aisle. How would you have like to have been video-recorded when someone was trying to convict you of sin? I felt like I had to turn my head or leave the room (or turn the channel!). Here is what is supposed to be one of the most intimate of all decisions, the decision upon which all of life hangs, and they are video-taping it! Can we offer these people no privacy? Being called a liar or fornicator or sinner is no great honor, why must we publically humiliate them while we do it? Sin and hell and grace and salvation are too important to be handled in this manner. And this brings me to my other point on this. Who ever acts like himself while being recorded on video? If anything, the presence of the camera makes us less prone to truthfulness or honesty–we want to put on a show (and all “reality television” is proof of this). Well, I’m glad they can provide this little experiment with these persons’ souls. Then we can all learn how to evangelize in real-time.