Image-bearers or beasts?

Clark Beckham. If you don’t know the name already…you likely will. He should have won it, if youID_1424_1425_Performance_Clark_Beckham_1280x720_415683651534 ask me, but came in second place on American Idol Wednesday night. This young man has heart and soul, and a beautiful voice to express them.

He also has a purity and innocence about him, which I find very attractive. But judging from a good deal of what was offered as entertainment at the finale, it’s not what the producers believe most people find attractive. Gyrating dancing girls…Jennifer Lopez in her customary barely there outfits singing sexually saturated songs in a super-sexually suggestive way…Ricky Martin. Poor Clark had to bounce around with him and his entourage singing “She Bangs.”

I don’t know that anyone really cares what I think about sex in the entertainment industry, but can I tell you something? As troubled as I get by the “in your face” sexuality that passes for music these days, I am equally moved to great joy when an artist unabashedly uses his gifts to glorify God. Just a glimpse of this young man Clark Beckham (he’s gonna’ be huge someday, I’m telling you) using his considerable talent in passionate but pure praise and worship was almost inexpressibly exhilarating for me. It’s a true “soul sensation” that I think only a believer can understand. A spiritual experience completely un-self-initiated that feels so right and good and powerful…and connected. When I witness anyone musically offering sincere and humble praise to God, my heart sings with him and I feel like we are one with each other and with our Lord. And when that one is worshiping in front of millions of people, my heart is lifted up with a joy unspeakable for the honor and glory that our almighty, all-worthy God is receiving in the sight and hearing of so many.

Music is a gift from God. There’s something beautifully mysterious and sacred about the way music can stir the soul to feel all kinds of things. Can we really explain its ethereal qualities from a purely naturalistic worldview? And if music is divinely designed, what an affront it must be to a holy God when we use it to sing about and stimulate unholy passions and lusts.

But what a powerful tool for our good and his glory when we employ it according to his will. Not that every composition has to be a hymn. But no recording or performance should celebrate, instigate, or demonstrate behaviors that oppose his goodness and denigrate his image. And we are his image. We are much more than beasts in heat, yet that is pretty much how many popular recording artists portray themselves. And us, if we’re buying what they’re selling.

J-Lo is beautiful and seems like a very nice person. But watching her perform makes me feel dirty. Clark Beckham, on the other hand, lifts me out of the muck and mire to a place of goodness and real love. To where I am beholding the face of my Savior, and feeling washed and clean.