This Week In Jesus is a weekly (or bi-weekly or not-so-weekly) look at where Jesus popped up in pop media over the past seven or so days.
The biggest story by far for Jesus watchers this week comes to us from American Idol‘s “Idol Gives Back” show, which aired Wednesday evening. Aside from the fact that they stole the church’s long-forgotten idea of taking care of orphans and widows (well, I can’t say they stole it, since the church threw that idea away long ago) by raising millions of dollars for needy children, the real story for TWIJers came in the very last performance, in the waning moments of the show. [At this point, I am NOT going to mention that my Tivo didn’t actually catch the performance since the show ran late and it came on after 9 pm at which time my infallible Tivoliscious friend switched to the show I had set to record at 9:00. I’m not going to mention it because my relationship with my Tivo is pretty important to me and I would never do anything to hurt it!I heart you, Tivo!]
What happened in the last few minutes of the telecast was a simple little performance that was almost unexplainable from a conceptual standpoint. The final eight contestants sang a straight-up honest-to-God worship song, complete with gospel- choir BGV’s. This wasn’t some uplifting inspirational tune, or even a CCM hit-turned-crossover success. The one that starts out with these lyrics:
“My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like you.
All of my days I want to praise the wonders of your mighty love.”
Okay, so they changed the first line to, “My shepherd, my Savior!” but still. And Thursday night when they repeated the performance live, they stuck with “My Jesus.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with the tune, “Shout To the Lord” was written in 1999 by worship guru Darlene Zschech, and has appeared on several albums, almost all of them put out by Zschech’s Hillsong Church (it was also released in ‘99 by a pre-famous Chris Tomlin and in 2000 by CCM B-lister Lincoln Brewster).
Watching it, I was immediately dumbstruck. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening. I did feel a little awkward (a good friend of mine said, “It was a little like having a bunch of Chinese people come on and sing the National Anthem), but my overall reaction was positive, and the crowd seemed pleased.
The blogosphere is still buzzing, and nobody seems to know why they did it, or whose idea it was, but what we do know is that for the second week in a row, Jesus was proud of FOX.
A couple other quick notes:
- Deion Sanders has a new reality show coming out on Oxygen. That’s right, I said Deion “Prime Time” Sanders is going to be on Oxygen, which is almost as strange as Project Runway appearing on Lifetime. When asked about the show, he said, “I wanted to have a show about a Christian-based African-American family with the correct morals and values. I want to educate while we entertain.” When asked if I would watch the show, I said, “Meh.”
- You may see Pat Robertson pop up on your TV screen soon, with a most-unlikely partner (Al Sharpton), hawking a most-unlikely product (ecological responsibility.) Robertson and Sharpton recently filmed this ad promoting Al Gore’s titillatingly titled “The Alliance For Climate Protection” (I can only imagine being a fly on the wall for _those_ crazy office parties.) Regardless of how you feel about P Robby, you have to admit he’s sticking his neck out for something he believes in, which is awesome.
- Everybody who knows Jesus knows that he’s a big fan of the “Intelligent Design” theory of the origin of our species. While those of us who speak to Him regularly still haven’t been able to nail down (obviously not a good expression to use around the Big Guy) exactly how He did it, we’re sure He had something to do with it. As it turns out, so is Ben Stein. The former Presidential (as in, “of the United States” ) speech writer and big-brained trivia master is releasing an already-controversial documentary April 18th Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, in which he (Stein!not Jesus) claims that scientists who stray from the Darwinian path Big Science has mandated are professionally dismissed, and occasionally even persecuted. Fresh reports in next week’s TWIJ.
That’s all for this week. We we wish you a poptastic week— may all your Idols be worshipful, all your designs Intelligent, and all your Tivos accurate.
Marc Acton is the editor of The Sub.Standard, a pop culture news and commentary blog.
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