Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, and the Art of Preaching

My sixteen-year-old daughter got me hooked on American Idol this year. I just used to watch the try-out shows when people who shouldn't sing in the church choir embarrassed themselves for my amusement. But this year, Bethany (and a DVR) got me watching all but a couple of episodes.

Last night, an amazing thing happened. The underdog, Kris Allen, pulled off the upset and beat the heavily favored Adam Lambert. Today, post-mortem examinations are being done. Many are criticizing the choice and are trying to figure out how this could happen.
I have a theory. Adam is an amazing singer. He is a once in a generation talent. But there was always a sense that he was "in character" - acting out a certain role. About the only thing Simon ever criticized him for was being over-dramatic. He's polished, but plastic. He amazed, but did not connect.
Kris is also a talented singer. His church in Conroy was blessed to have him on the worship team. But, he probably was not the talented singer that Adam was. But he connected. You felt like he was real, an average guy with golden pipes. He did not seem to be acting a part, but was just being his own talented self.
That's my armchair analysis. Kris won because he connected with people, because voters sensed his authenticity, integrity, and reality. He was himself and we liked that.
Now, what does that have to do with preaching? I believe that it is important when we proclaim God's Word that we do more than just give an eloquent pulpit performance. We should study and prepare to accurately communicate the Word. But we also need to be real. We need to communicate God's truth with integrity and authenticity.
I've seen a lot of Adam Lamberts in the pulpit - people with amazing homiletic skills, but you didn't sense it was real. We need to strive to preach Kris Allen messages - the simple truths of God's Word from real men with real struggles in real lives.


Ron said...

I haven't checked in with you for a while. I have not watched AI very often but happened to catch the finals. I was amazed by Adam's singing ability also but liked Kris a lot. Plus he is from Conway, Arkansas! Your suggestion that it is important to be oneself and be honest in preaching is important.

I would like to hear your comments on a couple of items. Did you catch Jimmy Barrentine's comments on the GCR. I knew Jimmy when he was in Arkansas and thught a lot of him. I think he is reacting the way many are when we wonder what bloated beauracracies are Danny Akin and Johnny Hunt talking about and what are they planning to do to fix it. Why do they seem to be targeting state conventions when there are enough problems at the SBC level they need to be correcting.

The second is the BGCT escrowing of funds fiasco at the SBC today. What is going on here. Are people so anxious to criticize the BGCT that they don't even check out facts. I am also concerned that someone at the IMB jumped the gun in getting this started and Johnny Hunt was evidently passing off this gossip as truth. This is a small sample of why the SBC is in trouble.
Ron West

Luke said...

Like your analogy and though I did not watch/do not watch AI, I believe your application to being one's self in the pulpit is spot on. I don't like plastic either.

Dave Miller said...


Jimmy is about as good a man as I have known. I think what he wrote was in response to the constant references to bloated bureaucracy - something we definitely do NOT have here in Iowa.

At our state office, the exec helps with the janitorial work - something that doesn't happen often.

It's been 20 years since I have been involved in any state convention by this one. My opinion is that perhaps some of the southern state offices might be bloated and perhaps they need to be streamlined.

As to the escrow thing, evidently the reports were false, and due to a bookkeeping error or something.

The serious issue now is the distribution of false information within the IMB.

Ron said...

Dave, I like to check you blog from time to time because even though we disagree on the nature of the conservative resurgence I felt you were honorable in your remarks and like me did not hesitate to speak the truth when those on either side of the CR did wrong. I want to ask again, do you think his apology was honorable and reflected integrity?

This is exactly why I as an inerrantist cannot support the CR. It leaders such as Bart talk of an inerrant Bible but do not follow the clear teaching of the Bible. The Bible speaks of how we should react when a brother sins. We should go to them and confirm it. He didn’t. It says how we should humbly apologize when we have done wrong. He didn’t. It says we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. He hasn’t. In the SBC today there is not right or wrong, liberal or conservative, true or false. It is all about whether you support the CR or don’t. If you don’t, it is okay to libel or slander you or attack you in any way necessary to keep power and control in the hands of people like Bart Barber and his mentor Paige Patterson.

I tried to post on his blog several times but couldn’t. I think he turns it off at night which is my day and now all posts are stopped on this subject.
Ron West

Ron said...

The next time you see Jimmy Barrentine tell him Ron West said hello and that we miss him in Arkansas. I don’t know if he will remember me or not but we spoke several times while he was in Arkansas.

I noticed your comments on Bart Barber’s blog. You congratulated him because he had answered in an honorable fashion. You later said he had handled this in the right way and you trusted his integrity on this issue.

I read his post twice and I found no evidence of his answering in an honorable fashion. Instead of just saying he got the story wrong and he apologizes for his mistake, he starts off with the title of his blog stating, “International Mission Board No Longer Maintains that BGCT Is Escrowing Lottie Moon Christmas Offering Funds.” In other words it is not his fault it is the IMB’s fault. He goes on to say in his blog that the IMB never stated the BGCT was escrowing funds but that they said 3 conventions were. He is the one that put the BGCT name up. He also gives no proof that a staff person of the IMB made that statement and did not say what his source was. I am writing a VP at the IMB for verification on this. If he states an IMB staff member made that statement and gives me a name, I will report it.

He later states he put the post up because someone else asked him to do it. It sounds to me like he is doing a Flip Wilson imitation and saying, “the devil made me do it.” His whole post is an attempt to pass off blame after a lame attempt at an apology stating he should have checked it out before he posted it. He had no choice but to offer that apology since he had so clearly been wrong and called out on it.

He then has the audacity to state this scenario seemed to me to be precisely the sort of thing that the BGCT would do. In other words even if they didn’t do it, it is the sort of thing they would do so they are guilty anyway. First of all, that is not true. They would not and have not withheld LMCO funds. Does this sound like a true apology to you?

Then he attempts to say the whole thing is really the fault of the BGCT anyway when he says, “I am glad to learn that this is merely a situation of lackadaisical inattentiveness toward Lottie Moon money on your part rather than deliberate withholding of these much-needed funds from our missionaries.” They were not lackadaisical. They sent the money to the EC when they were supposed to. Again does this sound like an apology being made by an honorable man?

Then to top everything off he cannot resist using his so called apology to spew additional hate and venom at the BGCT when he throws in these comments.
“It would be unlikely for anyone to have placed into my mouth a lower opinion than I actually hold regarding the BGCT. The entire situation puts me in the bitter-tasting situation of having somewhat wronged an institution that I dislike and owing it an apology. So, to the BGCT, I apologize for not taking greater care in reporting damaging information about you.”
(additional comments below)