Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Try a blind audition
"The Voice". Maybe you've seen it. I hear that it's now approaching "American Idol" viewership. In "TV speak" that means it's a really big hit. I've been watching the past few weeks as season two has begun. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then here's the "Cliff's Notes" version. Aspiring amature singers have been auditioning for the show over the last several weeks. There are four judges that sit in gigantic, rather comfortable looking chairs. They critique each aspiring young singer with what looks like a great amount of thought, at least judging from the very serious faces they make while they listen. If you didn't know any better, you'd think that they were studying for final exams. It's basically the same concept as all of the other shows that judge America's Greatest Talent, America's Greatest Dancer, America's Greatest Cook, and America's Greatest Idol. One difference with this one. On "The Voice", contestants earn a spot on the show by going through what they call "blind auditions". While the singers perform, the judges have their backs turned to the stage. They can't see who's singing. They can hear but they can't see. If they like what they hear, and if they want the artist to be on their "team", they press a button and their chair turns around to face the stage. A sign lights up at the bottom of the chair that says "I want you". I like it. The judges don't want to be in any way biased by what they might see. They want to judge on merit (and voice) alone.
Have you ever heard the expression, "you eat with your eyes first"? It's true, presentation is everything. If it looks like it just came out of the dumpster out back then you aren't going to eat it. I once ordered a green hamburger on St. Patricks Day. Not good. I decided that before I put it in my mouth. Sandwiches with weird looking bread are a turn off for me. I like my fries to be long and thin, I don't like for them to look like miniature waffles. Long, thin ones taste better. Maybe that's why green ketchup and Diet Coke on white cans never passed muster with the public. It's just to strange. It looks funny, which of course means that it's no good. It's not just food. I hear that something like 80% of all people who visit churches for the first time decide whether or not they'll come back before they ever walk in the door. I guess you worship with your eyes first too.
I'm wondering what criteria I typically use when I judge the people I meet? Is it hair color and style? Color of skin? Weight? Smartphone? When I see someone with a cup of Starbucks in their hand, this communicates something to me. I'm not sure what exactly, but I know that if the next person I see has a cup from the Exxon down the street then I will make a judgement call. Shiny black Hummer vs. Ford Fiesta? You get the point. There's a place in the Bible where it says that Jesus could "see into the heart". This can sound like a threat at first, like, "Jesus knows the skeletons in our closet". I don't see it that way. Jesus sees past our hair. He looks past the diet long since forgotten. Droids and iPhones are the same to him. Starbucks might be what's served at the heavenly banquet (surely it is), but Exxon will do just fine. Jesus sees us for who we are. Children of God I think it says.
Try this for Lent (we have 5 weeks left). Try doing a blind audition. I'm not suggesting that you turn your back on everyone you meet, and then if you like their voice, that you then turn around with a shirt that says "I want you" printed across the front. That might land you in jail where the food is not meant to be pleasing to the eye. Instead, try to look past outer appearance, dress, or coffee cup. Try your best to see people for who they really are. Rather than huffing and puffing because you have to sit next to that "person" on the flight home, strike up a conversation. Maybe they like Starbucks too. Instant bonding will commence. If you get "stuck" next to another one of "those people" with one of those ridiculous sounding ringtones that has the same effect on you as nails on a chalkboard, rather than thinking them to be yet another "loser" who's strayed right into your path, say hello. How are you? When you're in the elevator and the girl gets in with purple hair and a piercing in every visible orifice complete with complimentary tattoos, nod your head as if to say"good morning". Better yet, say it. Don't judge by what you see outside because you (we) have no idea what's going on inside. You might be the only "good morning" they get all day. They just might need it. Perhaps, you have been placed in their path for a reason.
Try the blind audition. Meet some fascinating people. Drink Starbucks. Love people. After all, it says somewhere else in that book I referenced earlier that they are your brothers and sisters in Christ. I think they might be worth getting to know.