new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Judging Susan Boyle, or judged by her

I suspect that by now most of you have seen the clip from the TV show Britain’s Got Talent, featuring a lady who wouldn’t fit into the usual categories of attractiveness, but whose voice took everyone by surprise—as if looks and voice are somehow linked. It’s been all over the web and TV stations around the world; celebrities have sent messages of support and her home has been besieged with media hounds.

It’s been interesting to watch the reaction of the press—rightly condemning the ‘looks’ driven culture in which we live. Yet it is one which they have created and fed with their incessant attention to beautiful people, diets and looks.

It’s hard to know whether we’re victims of our own shallowness, or of clever marketing by Simon Cowell and Co., or whether in true Disney fashion we just like the story of the Frog Princess. Or maybe we feel good about ourselves because we think, “Oh, those awful people sneering at that poor woman, I wouldn’t have made that mistake.”

So, I don’t know who was judging whom: was Susan Boyle judging the judges—exposing their shallowness? Or was Simon Cowell judging us—exposing our own shallowness and self-righteousness?

However the most poignant moment for me was found, not simply in the singing, but in the lyrics. This 47 year-old, single, unattractive woman, who lives alone with her cat, and who had a dream of being a professional singer like Elaine Paige, stood on the stage and sang:

“I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”

It seemed to sum up everything that had happened before our eyes—the plainness of her looks, the sneering reaction of the audience—life had killed the dream. Yet here was Simon Cowell, looking on benevolently in some God-like manner, about to resurrect her dream.

And for a moment on our TV screens we had a little parable of the hope that God offers to people who in his eyes are unattractive. And it’s not that he sees the good in us, but he sees all that’s wrong, and offers to rescue us anyway. He offers us far beyond anything we have dreamed, and a transformation beyond anything we could imagine. And best of all, unlike Susan Boyle’s recording contract, it will never end.

Just a note to invite you to a talk entitled “What are you banking on? What would happen if we applied good investment principles to our spiritual lives?” 8pm Sunday 26th, the Day Centre, Oliver Plunkett Rd, Letterkenny.