Although I thoroughly enjoyed the talent displayed by Susan Boyle during her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream,” I’m a bit saddened by some of the publicity in its aftermath. Oh, most reports are quite complimentary, yet it makes me question the mindset of the average person among the 40 million viewers of her performance. Most writers spoke of how they were able to find a deeper meaning in her performance.
Lisa Schwarzbaum said, “Boyle let me feel … the meaning of human grace…. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until the tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective . . .”
One article asked if this experience somehow redefined beauty, grace, and success. I hope not.
Have we really become so cynical that we assume that a person can have no value unless they meet our own particular qualifications regarding physical attractiveness? Have we become so judgmental that we each believe that we’re the best just of what makes a person attractive–outwardly, or inwardly? Do people look at me through a prism of skepticism, and think that I’m stupid or unworthy, just because they don’t think that I’m attractive? Do they doubt that I can add any value, based upon their first glimpse of me?
Oh, we do indeed need “a corrective.” It was the height of arrogance for anyone to assume that Susan Boyle was unlikely to be a good singer because she wasn’t attractive enough. When she first walked onto the stage, we should have seen a lively and fun spirit. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of knowing someone like her.
So, it’s puzzling as to what was so repulsive about her. If it was because she was middle-aged, then billions of us are likewise insulted. If it’s because she spoke with a Scottish accent, then I suppose we could all be offended by the fact that most people don’t have the same accent as we do. Maybe it because she is from a small town, somehow making her unworthy, or at least naive about the big-city life. Or perhaps she’s offensive to us because she lives alone, past the average age for marriage. Or maybe it’s because she’s a cat lover instead of a dog lover, or because she wears her hair differently than what we would prefer.
So what if she was bullied as a child! Weren’t we all, to some degree? Do we really not realize that it was the bullies who were in the wrong, not the objects of their profanity?
For us Susan Boyles of the world:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” 1 Peter 3:3-5
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
For those who might judge us:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
Or maybe we should adopt Christ’s attitude in regard to these talent shows:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2