It’s probably a fact that everyone knows, but The Voice is one of America’s most popular reality programs. Shown on NBC on Monday and Tuesday nights in the fall, in in its 7th season in the U.S; the show, where singers are judged initially solely on their voice rather than appearance as well; what you may not know is that it is extremely popular in Australia, where I am from, as well.
So why is this show, which is essentially another singing show like Idol, The X Factor, ____’s Got Talent, and Eurovision, seemingly the most popular and relevant show in recent years? Well let me tell you about something I saw a few days ago, which is shown below.
A few days ago, my family and I were watching a segment on TV about the blind auditions, and Matthew Garwood, a Tasmanian and grandson of a Baptist Church minister, stood up to sing a flawless rendition of “All I Ask Of You” from the musical Phantom Of The Opera. You would think that this is a standard segment on the show, but in fact it wasn’t. Matthew is covered almost head to toe in tattoos, and though it may not be his family’s choice, they support his decision 100%. Now it’s surreal for me to see someone sing so well and have that kind of image, but let me cut to the chase. Ricky Martin picked Matthew as the last spot on his team, and all the judges were stunned to think that Matthew was actually singing an opera song given his image he portrayed. Yet that begs the pertinent question- if he were to appear on any other singing show (that don’t have the judges turned around), would Matthew have been chosen? I’d like to think yes, but I’m not sure. And on that note, I think it’s partially sad that Matthew only thought that he could get on a show like the Voice (in which a judge is obligated to pick a person on his/her team, regardless of their looks and the judge’s own preconceived ideas and viewpoints, if they are the only judge to turn around) and not any other show, because of the assumed deep seated prejudices that could still be present in our community today. But if the judges didn’t accept him, God loves Matthew despite his appearance and the amount of tattoos he has.
Prejudices based on age, colour, ethnicity, sexual preferences, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, political views, and even where people live, are all very real in today’s society, as is discrimination based on what we have done, our sins. The church, for one, is a culprit (we all fall short, and all put people down whom we wouldn’t otherwise if we act in God’s love) but also mainstream news generally points at the ‘down-and-outs’ and the ‘different people to society’ and paints them in a negative light. Everywhere, the people on the fringes of society are being mistreated, and this video from the Voice is a tool, I believe by God, to get people thinking about their own bitterness, hate, and grudges, to look inside themselves and see if there is a motivation in their heart that they need to change.
All throughout the Voice, I will be rooting for and supporting Matthew Garwood- I believe that as a musician he will succeed and succeed well, yet I will also pray for people to become more accepting in general, and Christians to show the love of God to those on the outer of society rather than shunning them. For in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul instructs us to love, and to be shining God’s love to everyone around us.
And it’s strange that watching Matthew Garwood sing in The Voice can open up a lot of these issues that have been tugging at me, such as loving other like Jesus does, yet God does work in mysterious ways, and hopefully He can minister to each one of you in this chilling and refreshing performance, and show you that appearances and outward expressions, though sometimes reflective of what is in the heart, is ultimately not as important as the heart. For Jesus hung out in the New Testament with lepers, prostitutes and each of the disciples who were common people back then, and perceived by the Pharisees to be lesser. Yet each of the people that Jesus touched had a heart for Him. So who are we to judge?
If we think that someone is not a Christian, do we really know for sure? Do we really know the motivations behind why people do what they do? Only God knows. So let’s love without reservation, and draw people to Christ. In a roundabout way, Matthew has certainly done that with his performance, even if he isn’t a Christian! Perhaps this performance is a reason why people are drawn to The Voice, maybe it’s something else. But there’s no denying that God is speaking in this season of The Voice (at least in Australia), so perhaps all we need to do is listen to hear what God is speaking to us about ourselves and Himself.
What other reality shows do you all watch? Has God spoken to you through that show and what has He spoken to you about?