Luke 5:16

The Trinity, Faith, and American Idol?

I might be called a dork for saying this, but I really like American Idol!  No, I’ll never get the chance to audition, or even go viral by singing a silly song about someones pants and their location on the ground, but each week I get to root for my favorite to realize their dream of becoming a star!  Sounds kind of cheesy, but I like it.

It’s funny, though, how faith plays out in the “reality” of reality TV.  So, I was thinking…

In many ways, the triad of judges on American Idol, and their quirky way of interacting with the contestants and each other, goes a long way, in my mind, to demonstrate how we interact with the triune God.  Of course, I’m talking about the original three from AI, Randy, Paula, and Simon.  Here’s how it breaks down in my mind:

Randy is like Jesus

  • He’s the “down-to-earth” one
  • He plays the role of the big brother and can be critical and unimpressed while at the same time still keeping emotions “cool,” dawg
  • Most of the time he talks in real language that is easy to understand (
  • The criticism and advice he offers is valuable and is given in a way that can be built on in a constructive way

Paula is like the Spirit

  • She’s definitely the “flighty” one
  • She relates to the contestants on an emotional level
  • Even when things don’t go right, she works to comfort those who have been rejected
  • She offers the singers unconditional love, even when they are sub-par in the realm of performing

Finally, you knew it was coming…

Simon is like the Father

  • He doesn’t always tell the contestant what they want to hear
  • He doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to saying what he thinks
  • He can sometimes sound really harsh when it comes to criticism, but in reality, he knows what’s best and is truthful in his comments
  • And, of course, he’s the kind of guy that people love to hate

It’s often the reaction of the contestants to the judges’ opinions that are the most interesting and memorable parts of the show.  And I believe that we react to God in a memorable and influential way sometimes.  However, this reaction can be both positive and negative:

  • Sometimes we feel as though we have to beg for a second chance to prove ourselves worthy of God’s grace.
  • When we do realize that we’ve gotten that “golden ticket,” we can’t wait to share it with everyone!  However, sometimes we feel it necessary to rub it in other people’s faces, as if it makes us better than them for some strange reason.
  • When God says “no,” or we don’t get the outcome that we were praying for, we quickly choose to blame God or get angry with him.  It’s never our own fault.

So, what’s the major differences between the true story of salvation and the American Idol metaphor?  As I see it, there are two:

  1. We don’t have to audition.  All we have to do is ask, and believe that by faith, we have been redeemed. (,,  We cannot earn our way into heaven by what we do.  And it’s not about how skilled we are at being Christians, or how many years we have studied scripture that makes us more eligible to receive God’s gift of salvation.
  2. If we ask, we are not rejected.  Even if  (and, especially if) we admit that we are “not good singers” we can still get approved (  All we have to do is realize that we’re not as good as we think we are, and ask for His forgiveness.

So, maybe classical theology doesn’t exactly match up to the philosophy of American Idol, but you get the point, I hope.  God cares for us, and he doesn’t want an “audition.”  He wants us to admit our faults and accept his forgiveness, so that we can live under the direction of his Holy Spirit and following the example of his son, Jesus Christ.  And hopefully, we can each be inspiration to our own communities, or perhaps, the whole world by “performing” as God’s hands, feet, and voice wherever we go.


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