August 2, 2012
I admit it, I occasionally watch America's Got Talent. Or rather, I "eaveswatch" it. (Eaveswatching is a hybrid term that combines eavesdrop and watch. It refers to both overhearing and seeing a TV show someone else is watching while you are in an adjoining room loading or unloading the dishwasher.)
America's Got Talent is an old time talent show on steroids. The contestant who gets "voted through" to the final round, beating out his or her competition, wins a million dollars and a chance to headline a show in Las Vegas. Even in the year or so I've been eaveswatching it, the show seems to have gotten bigger, brighter and more dangerous week by week. It used to be just jugglers, singers and acrobats. There are still troupes of manly male cloggers, teenie bopper dance teams and dogs that can slide backwards down a sliding board. But the acts that get "voted through" seem increasingly to be those that involve a risk of injury or even death to those performing them. Now it's jugglers who simultaneously swallow fire, or men who get shot out of cannons, or muscular acrobatic couples who hoist one another aloft at death defying heights.
During each performance the three judges sit at their desks with control buttons. If at any time during the performance they become bored they push an X button and a giant buzzer sounds, testing the mettle and concentration of the hapless juggler, singer, ventriloquist or dog trainer on stage. After each act the judges give feedback. It's always the same advice: "Up the ante. Make it bigger. Make it better. Make it more dangerous. Wow us more or you won't go through to the next round."
Our text for this week in John 6:24-35 is Jesus' second appearance on the biblical talent show....