rebelling against low expectations

Thoughts on American Idol


We’ve made a rule not to share things with you we have not personally read, watched, or experienced — and we broke that rule. We recommended you follow Maddy Curtis on American Idol even though we’ve never watched it ourselves. Based on your feedback, there are aspects of the show that should have tempered our recommendation. We apologize for not doing our due diligence.

But if this is a learning experience, it is also a teaching moment. We can certainly do a better job evaluating what we promote, but we will never do a good enough job to excuse you from practicing biblical discernment. Please take everything we say back to Scripture. God’s Word is the only source you should trust to always be right.

With that in mind, we want to offer the following observations:

1) You don’t have to watch American Idol to follow Maddy. Thanks to YouTube you can watch Maddy’s segments without having to experience the rest of the show. This is probably the approach we’ll take because we don’t own a television.

Maddy’s next appearance on the show will take place Monday, February 8th, at 8:00PM (EST) during “Hollywood Week.”

2) You don’t have to watch American Idol to pray for Maddy. She needs our prayers and support to navigate the treacherous waters of success. 30 million people watched her story and heard her sing. Regardless of what you think of the show, pray that God would help her to use her platform for His glory.

Finally, seek to understand people who are different than you. Most of us can’t relate to people with a special gifts, like Maddy. To some people her desire to sing could seem like self-exaltation. But God made her to sing. This comment from her mother helped us understand Maddy better, and we pray it will help you as well:

    With Maddy, it’s all about performance. When our family took the Meyers Briggs test, she and her older brother had the personality type “performer” – and it is very true. He studies opera at Liberty University. Maddy has been asking visitors to our house since she was a toddler to listen to her sing. She has a definite gift.

    It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t wired the same way. As Eric Liddell said in Chariots of Fire, “When I run I feel His pleasure.”

    When Maddy sings, she feels His pleasure. She sings all day long because she loves singing and God has put such joy in her heart. It’s not about money or attention — it’s just about what she was meant to do.

    I don’t see her winning the competition at all. Even if she had the best voice (which I believe she has, and I’m pretty objective about my kids because I have 12 so my ego isn’t invested in them), she doesn’t dress, act or choose the songs that would win her the title.

    So it’s not about winning, not about money, not about inconsistency. Just following the setup they’ve provided so that she can sing [another] time.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • I personally did not feel that what y’all posted was at all inappropraite – that’s just my ideas, and I am a pretty strict person 🙂 THanks for sharing it regardless – May God Bless both of you as you seek to do his will!
    In Christ Along
    Abigail Inns

  • I meant Alone – I think I need to take a nap 🙂 WE are the ones along – he is in the driver’s seat, May he ever be in charge of our lives!

  • I believe that as Christians, we need to jump into areas like Hollywood and the public eye, not because we want to be noticed by the world, but because our light is so much brighter. If a Christian can sing, our first guess in seeing them in Hollywood shouldn’t be “they’ve been sucked into the culture,” but “wow, look at that light for Christ!”

    Even though I wasn’t personally insulted, thanks for clarifying more, guys!


  • That is really good to hear. I was wondering if you both were going to follow American Idol…it doesn’t seem to fit into your way of thinking; your narrow path. I am really happy to see this post. I wasn’t upset by the other one, it was cool to see Maddy, but it’s just neat to see you stand by your set-apart life you have chosen.
    I started watching American Idol this season, but was soon convicted by God that maybe it really isn’t the best choice for me…and it definitely does not benefit me or my relationship with Christ in any way, so yes, once again, this post just makes me happy =)

  • I agree, I was suprised that you all were advertising sort of to watch AI. There are some things on the show that I was not happy about in the past and I decided to stop watching it 2 years ago. It was just a waste of my time as well I thought and as Sarah said I felt it was not helping me in my relationship with Christ. But I will be following Maddie somewhat on youtube, etc. I rather just see her performances and not the other stuff that is junk on that show.

    But I was not offended or thought you all wrong to say watch the show so you can see Maddie.

  • When said its not about winning or the money. It made think about someone i know. They are trying to get on Survivor. I don’t watch survivor myself. This person is a great Godly man and youth Pastor, but during his audition video he doesn’t say anything about God or being a youth Pastor. He just wants people to see the way he acts and ask what is different about him. He wants to be on it is to be a light to the world.

  • i thought your post on Maddy Curtis was awesome…but I also agree with what you explained in this one too. I love hearing stories like this, especially since I want to do something with music later on…so i really enjoyed seeing this!

    I think we should all support her and be praying for her…we don’t have to watch the show to do those things (like you said!). Thanks for being such a great example guys!


  • Good rule — and good post. I have watched a couple full episodes in the past and agree that it is a show that should NOT be watched. Sometimes, like when I’ve only watched a clip of something or watched a secular movie with someone who fast-forwards or mutes the bad parts, it’s just easy to forget all that’s involved (or could potentially be involved that we didn’t witness). It’s actually downright crazy that so many inappropriate factors could be involved in a singing competition. In my opinion, this turned out to be a good and worthwhile lesson and reminder to all of us.

    Here are a few things to consider regarding Maddy Curtis:

    When I was around 8, my mother included me in her ministry to street kids. Many of the kids were older than me and smoked, drank, swore, came from pretty bad backgrounds, and one was in and out of juvenile rehab. I was never tempted by any of their behavior and, while I can see the potential pitfalls for other families, would probably do the same with my own children someday. Many of my friends watched television shows and the current movies at a young age which presented the behavior I witnessed firsthand — and glorified it so they were tempted to imitate. I was never tempted to imitate because I saw it firsthand. Some of my religious friends never spent time with non-Christians and only judged them when they witnessed their behavior. I was taught by my mother’s example to understand that every person has a story and that the way to respond to those with a story without God is with God’s Love.

    When my mother began doing this street ministry, she purchased a bright red sports car. I can’t even explain the looks we’ve gotten when she’s dropped me off at church and people have seen us driving through the parking lot in it. We advocate humble missional living. And in fact because we do people sometimes think we’re hypocrites. But because of my mom’s car (think of it as a gift) kids would always come up to her and talk to her about it. We’d offer them soda, play street hockey or baseball with them in their neighborhood, meet their family, pray for them, have them over to our house for dinner, even took one of them in to stay with us when his family was abusive and custody was being transferred to a relative who lived out of the state. People just looked at her car and judged — was she wasting her money, trying to show off, what was she thinking?! If they had looked beyond their own hearts and asked for God’s Heart — if they had prayed and loved instead they could have seen God work.

    I think it would be good to pray that if God wills that Maddy be in the competition, even as a 16-year-old, that He would protect her and teach her, and that if it is not His Will, that He would remove her quickly after first teaching her and her family the lessons they need to learn. Don’t just judge her and her family — respond in love to them. Don’t just “discern” with your mind then act according to that, pray for discernment from the Mind of Christ, for God’s Holy Spirit to lead you into truth and what you should pray or do about it. Don’t be as the religious living only by the written law, ask God to write His law of Love on your heart, and empower you to live by it, that the written law would be fulfilled by God’s people as God intended it.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful clarification of your earlier posts. What teachable spirits both of you obviously have in at least considering the negative responses you received. Thank you, too, for reminding your readers to always measure everything by God’s Word.

  • Thanks for your honesty and humility. I personally have never watched an issue of American Idol (I may have caught snippets here and there every now and again, but never a full episode), so I can’t really judge whether or not I think it’s good to watch.
    Thanks again!


  • Hey Alex & Brett!
    I, too, would like to thank you for bringing Maddy to our attention. Her story is very encouraging and has sparked much discussion. I would also like to quickly share what God has laid on my heart regarding all of this.

    In Mark 1:14, the Bible says that Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of the gospel. If I could somehow underline any part of that verse, I would like to put emphasis on the “Galilee” part.

    American Idol is perhaps–in Christian’s eyes–an indecent show. However, Jesus hung out with indecent people in indecent places. He went into Galilee. A woman anoiting Christ’s feet with perfume and tears was terribly “indecent;” yet Jesus was the one who said to the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) Similarily, Paul followed in his footsteps by becoming “all things to all men” so that by any way possible he could save them. (2 Corinthians 9:22)

    Jesus’ life indicates that this going and becoming can get messy. It will be complicated and uncomfortable. Oftentimes, it draws much criticism.

    I don’t know Maddy personally, but if the Youtube video is any indication of her character and her heart, I don’t believe her motives for trying out on American Idol are self-seeking. I believe God blesses anyone who seeks to use their gifts to glorify him…especially when they take those gifts into Galilee–enviornments that are hostile to Christians.

    I think its fair to say that many are concerned about compromise…in their media choices and in Maddy’s actions. Jesus, when he sent out the twelve, said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) I think Maddy is one such sheep in this case. One doesn’t have to be a Christ-follower for very long to realize how easy it is to conform under pressure. Because of this and the many compromises Maddy may be tempted to make, she needs our prayer…regardless of whether or not we support the show like Alex and Brett indicated above.

    I applaud Maddy for stepping up and using her God-given talent to shine forth hope. Her story has challenged me to continually seek out others in “non-Christian” enviornments and allow God to work through my gifts.

  • Thats awesome that you can have the guts to say that, goodwork! Thats great what her mum said about her, when I see someone like that I immedialty judge *Oh, shes full of herself* but, then with that thought it mind – she probably isnt, thats taught me a lesson! Thanks so much guys!

  • What moves me most is her sincerity and authenticity in sharing the true pro-life life message. She loves her four special needs brothers dearly and speaks of their dignity and worth in an age that wants to throw these precious souls away because they are not “perfect”.

  • That’s really great, thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely keep her in my prayers. “American Idol” is the one TV show I’ll watch every now and then … so if the opportunity arises I’ll be voting for her as well. It will be really exciting to see where God takes her on this journey!

  • Thanks guys. I read your earlier post about Maddy and thought she was sincere. She seemed to be very sweet. I have watched American Idol on occasion, but generally do not. I like talent shows like that (I enjoy the music), but I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around the “idol” part. What happened to stars? And shows like Star Search? Now they’re idols. I am so happy for Maddy. She has a beautiful voice and the joy can be seen radiating from her. But, I personally never understood how true Christians can feel okay about trying out for a show that wants to call them idols.
    Just my opinion.
    I hope God continues to bless Maddy. She’s so beautiful – inside and out.

  • I heard a pastor say one time, “Jesus never shoved people away because they might contaminate Him. You know, if you don’t want dirty water to get inside of a hose, and you place that hose in a mud puddle, the only way to keep the dirty water from getting in is just to keep the water on. So you can get in as dirty of an environment as you want; as long as you keep the Spirit of God flowing from your life, you’ll be fine.”

    I think that’s a good lesson. 😉

  • Thanks for the clarification. 🙂 I think that American Idol can be dangerous… just look at the name. But I also think that people like Maddy can be a great witness for the Lord. We don’t have cable, so it’s impossible for me to actually watch the show (don’t think I want to anyway), but I’ll be praying for Maddy…hope she’s a wonderful witness for Christ.

  • Kudos to you guys to go back and add a disclaimer! I don’t have a TV either, not because everything is bad on the tube, but because the majority of it isn’t edifying, or just plain immoral. While American Idol is pretty clean, YouTube will be the way I keep track of Maddie as well. Again, you guys have definitely shown what you’re made of by going back and apologizing. However, I think most of the people reading this blog would know that you’re supporting Maddy not the show!

  • This show isn’t entirely clean, but my family and i have watched it since about the fourth or fifth season with Carrie Underwood as the winner. Having said that though, I don’t believe that because Christ was in company with sinners as a way to minister to them gives us an excuse to watch anything we want.
    I do think that Maddy will go far due to her awesome personality and overall wholesome character- something that is lacking in the music industry today. And i think that Simon Cowell is rooting for her, because if you watch his reaction to her singing and her overall personality you’ll see he honestly liked her. I’m praying for her journey through this time, and i really hope that she goes far and is able to shine her faith in Christ to everyone watching. 🙂

  • I went and watched the episode of Maddie on YouTube–she has a sweet disposition about her, and she has a great voice!! It looked like the judges really liked her, which I was glad about. 🙂
    Thanks for your clarification and your reminder to take everything back to God’s Word! I don’t personally watch American Idol (the name kind of throws me off…idol…hmm…), but I don’t think that anything you said was offensive to anyone with either opinion. Thanks for your humility!!

  • God has gifted me musically, but all along, He has been very clear with me that He gave me those gifts to use for His glory, not my own. It’s interesting to me that Maddy’s goal is performance, and not worship. And when you watch someone sing like that, you think, “Wow, she is amazing,” and your focus is on her. “God is amazing” is not your first thought.

    As followers of Christ, God calls us to give all the glory to Him. “American Idol” is not set up for glorifying God, but idolizing man. That is a dangerous environment for a Christian.

    Philippians 2:5-7,
    “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

    I think that verse says it all.

    Look at what Maddy’s mom didn’t say. She didn’t say, “She is driven to use her voice to glorify God,” or, “She’s going on American Idol to worship God.” She said, “She’s all about performance.”

    I am not judging Maddy or her family. I am pointing out the truth, and I’m concerned for her as a sister in Christ.

    Love in Christ,

    Ellen Davis

  • Wow, you guys…
    I personally get very uncomfortable apologizing for mistakes…although I’m working on it.
    I am impressed that you would clarify something like this, because I know that it would be hard for me to do.
    I think that’s really cool that Maddy is doing this, and I love all these stories you guys post about other kids doing incredible things.
    You guys obviously felt that clarification was necessary and important, and you did something about it, and I honor that.
    Thanks, even though I dont’ have the remotest thought or comment on American Idol, good or bad, because…well, because i don’t know anything about it. *shrug*
    And, I’m praying for you guys, and Maddy!
    God bless,

  • Thank you Ellen Davis! I don’t want to sound mean or nasty, but I think we should be very careful of praising someone right away and saying what a great light they are for Jesus when we don’t even know that person’s theology or understanding of salvation is. It’s great that she is not a typical teen, and she seems to be a very nice person. But, that’s all I see.

    I say these things because I have done the same thing before. I have praised people for doing hard things and being a light for Jesus without knowing there theology. And when I research it, I find that I acted in haste.

    That said, I am incredibly happy to see that the Curtis family took in 3 kids with Down Syndrome. Way to go!

  • This is really neat! I only just saw these two posts. Maddie has a beautiful voice, and especially when I too am trying to navigate the deep waters of professional music right now, I am encouraged to see a young teenager show the world that virtue and true beauty from the heart is much more charming than brash and in-your-face behavior. I could say alot more about American Idol and so on, but I don’t think it’s necessary. 🙂

  • Dear Alex and Brett,

    I read all your writings and copy much of it for my son. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with your disclaimer about not watching American Idol on TV, I find even greater problems with your suggestion to tune in to watch Maddy on YouTube. YouTube is a primary promoter of pornography in the USA. To recommend that anyone start using this media is exposing your wide following to a wholly new and unprecedented form of temptation. This form of temptation is novel in that all you have to do is go to the YouTube site and the depravity is one button away – often it is staring you in the face as the “recommended video”.

    I think that you should not being using your influence to give this kind of advice.
    My comments have nothing to do with the Christian merits of Maddy which appear initially to be considerable.

    Forest, VA

  • Tim –

    I wonder how God hears your comment. What I am hearing is that you would not want to praise or encourage a believer unless their theology and and understanding of salvation lined up perfectly in your eyes. Isn’t that a little presumptuous?

    You know, Maddy and I are taking plenty of hits – some very nasty and vicious – in the secular world. To find anything but encouragement for a very pure of heart girl who actually did do a hard thing rather than just talking about it/judging others – and whose testimony probably saved many Down syndrome babies from abortion and softened hardened hearts – well, it just boggles my mind.

    I am old enough to be a grandmother to most of you. I went through many years of feeling superior and judgmental. But our merciful Father in Heaven has a way of breaking us over our lifetimes until our hearts are more tender and we can see just a little bit – the tiniest glimpse – of His perspective.

    I pray that He will give you His grace, mercy, compassion and understanding. Without it we are as delusional as the Pharisees. And we can be of no help to others.

    People like Maddy are like missionaries. They need love, support, encouragement and respect for their courage in engaging the secular world in a winsome and authentic way. Maddy is too busy fulfilling her calling – she just held a fundraiser for Haiti which made 8000 because people wanted to come hear her sing – than to sit around judging everyone else’s theology and picking things apart semantically, like the commenter who seized on the buzzword “performance” to imply that she was not a worshipful person. Maddy visits senior centers and homes to sing to seniors. She mentors middle school girls to help them make good choices. Her daily life -with four brothers with Down syndrome – is very sacrificial.

    C. S. Lewis and Tolkein never had to write about Christ to have the good news resonate in their readers’ hearts. The book of Esther never mentions God. When it comes to the arts, our Christian worldview can be seen without using the Christian jargon I actually teach Christian writers how to avoid so that they do not limit themselves to speaking to the choir.

    Maddy and I were very pleased to meet Bret and Alex last night at her Haiti benefit. Having the utmost respect for the Harris family for many years, I was grateful to find them authentic and real. I came here out of curiosity last night to see what their readers had to say. Maddy read the comments today.

    We certainly do appreciate all those who are praying for Maddy. Her audition was an act of obedience. We are both at peace with however God wants to use it. If she doesn’t progress any further in the competition, that’s absolutely fine as God may have only wanted that one moment of hope for some and challenge for others.

    My response is at my blog:

    May God bless and keep you always – and your families too. And may you continue to grow in wisdom and grace. And may the peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus – and not in systems of theology which produce pride and judgmentalism.

  • I do agree with you Ellen, that it’s hard to see God’s glory instead of the singer’s “glory” on this show, and that we should make sure that we know the person’s theology that we’re praising and make sure that their beliefs are in agreement with our own. (And only by His grace are our beliefs directly equivalent to His Word’s teachings!) We shouldn’t be so quick to judge the Curtis family. There’s nothing wrong with having a desire to preform, and it’s especially great whenever that person has a desire to glorify God while doing that, giving Him all the praise and worship he deserves. And that’s what i think Maddy is desiring to do.

  • I agree. Honestly, on American Idol, who is the Idol? The People. I’d like to see a great Christian get on there and give the glory to God, but I don’t think I’ve seen that yet. Not saying the people who have won aren’t Christians, I just haven’t heard a lot of Jesus talk from them. Probably because Jesus doesn’t sell albums.

    Anyway, Brett and Alex, I’d love it if you checked out my own blog

    Your book really inspired me, and now I blog regularly too on all sorts of topics. I’d love to trade links with you, I’ll go ahead and add you guys on my links.

    Thanks again, give the site a look if you have the time!


  • I appreciate Maddy Curtis for being skillful enough to make it to hollywood week on Amer Idol.
    Thousands of people did not receive the same opportunity. American idol is a reality show where singers can grow their skills as performers and musicians.

    Is the show sensual, and frankly, inappropriate at times? yes.
    But only skilled singers are given the chance to participate on the show. Maddy Curtis getting even this far on the show is something to be celebrated by her family, friends, and supporters.

    Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

    Maddy Curtis’ experience on Amer Idol makes me ask myself whether or not i have developed a similar level of competence with my gifts and talents. If anything, she inspires me to strive to be excellent and diligent in all my endeavors. thanks for posting!!! ;D

  • I appreciate Maddy Curtis for being skillful enough to make it to hollywood week on Amer Idol.
    Thousands of people did not receive the same opportunity. American idol is a reality show where singers can grow their skills as performers and musicians.

    Is the show sensual, and frankly, inappropriate at times? yes.
    But only skilled singers are given the chance to participate on the show. Maddy Curtis getting even this far on the show is something to be celebrated by her family, friends, and supporters.

    Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

    Maddy Curtis’ experience on Amer Idol makes me ask myself whether or not i have developed a similar level of competence with my gifts and talents. If anything, she inspires me to strive to be excellent and diligent in all my endeavors. thanks for posting!!! ;D

  • Dear Brett and Alex,

    I wrote yesterday evening about my concerns about suggeting that your readers go to YouTube. I am curious as to why you did not print this. As a physician I have grave concerns about the impact of media choices on young poeple, who clearly just too often do not have the self-discipline nor the discernment to overcome the powerful allure and ease of viewing material that is so harmful to the soul, mind, and body.

    The entire edifice of the internet porn industry is designed for t his very purpose because it makes billions of dollars off of our young who are not mature or disciplined enough yet to control their impulses.

    Certainly it does not take a physician like myself to understand and to see the incredible damage being done and the resultant baseness of our culture which results from this marketing.

    Your reply would be appreciated.

    In Christ,

    -Wm. Brown

    Forest, VA

    Brett’s Comment: Mr. Brown, your comment was caught in moderation because it had the word “porn” in it. That’s one way that we try to protect the young people on our website. 😉 You have a valid question, which we will answer in a future post. =)

  • I plan to follow Alex & Brett in following Maddy’s progress on You-tube. I am reminded of what Paul wrote in Romans 14:14-15: ” I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. I share a lot of commonality with Alex & Brett. I, too, do not have a TV set, although I do have a DVD player. My wife and I home-schooled our 2 children and 8 of our gr. children (another is not yet old enough) and 2 of our great gr. children have been home-schooled.
    I would be slow to judge Maddy’s family about her appearance on AI, for Jesus Himself was sharply criticized for associating with Publicans and harlots, but always had a godly motive for doing so.

  • It’s ok guys, we forgive you! 🙂
    Jordan –
    Actually Mandissa and Chris Sly were both on American Idol as Christians and because of that they are now successful Christian music artists!

    Maddy is in my prayers! Just because I don’t watch American Idol or am not allowed to get on YouTube does not mean that I can’t pray for her! May she “Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope”!

    A Sis In Christ,
    1Tim 4:12
    <3 <

  • I believe that Kris Allen is also a christian (he won last season). He was a youth pastor before he came to american idol. And his new song is called “Live Like We’re Dyin'” which is actually a realy good song. While it doesn’t mention God, it pushes people to live knowing that we don’t have all the time in the world. 🙂

  • Thanks, I personally had no problem whatsoever with what you said…I think its absolutly amazing to follow, as she is TOTALLY a bright light shining for Jesus among a group of people who don’t know him! Thanks though, you obviously have alot of humility..i respect you guys SO much!!!
    God bless you!


  • I think that watching American Idol is ok for sometimes and not ok for some other times. I mean that some songs that people sing will not uplift you in your faith, but some of the contestants are christians and they sing christian songs or songs that are ok. I would use your discretion when watching that show. I personally don’t watch that show because I don’t have a tv, but I have watched some clips of it.

  • Hey! I didn’t read everyones comments on here, but wanted to say I willn’t be watching “American Idol” either. While we own a Tv we can only watch Videos/DVD’s on it so I havn’t watched “Tv” for 7 years I think…Anyway I will try to see if I can find some stuff about Maddy Curtis else where!

  • Thanks for clarifying. I would highly suggest, however, listening to what William (Bill) had wrote in an earlier post. Youtube is, well, horrible in many ways. There’s a ton of pornographic images on the side bar and it’s honestly another form of temptation. Please understand, this is not a matter of legalism but rather, being discerning. We must, again, as I said in another thread, look to our examples, one being Pilgrim’s Progress. Which town will you choose to go in, which path will you take?

    I love you guys and your passion for God and His glory, but even in these times we must learn that, while social media may be a good way of communication, we don’t need all of it especially those that contain high levels of pornographic content (and this is coming from someone who works as a web designer specializing in online social media/UI/UX design) I hardly go to youtube any more due what is on there.

    as a Christian, I just don’t need it. I’m also told to “flee youthful lusts.”

    Thanks for your clarification,
    I love you guys in Christ,
    your brother,

  • I personally think that it is great that Maddy is able to be a witness to so many people through American idol. I have never watched AI, but I think that she was a great example of a Christian, and that the judges could see that she was different from the rest of the teenagers they usually hear. I will be praying for her and her family.

    Thanks Harris brothers for posting this and for trying to be so careful about what you expose us to =)

  • Hey! Thanks for the fyi – this sounds like a fun story to follow 🙂

    Oh, and everyone’s walk with Christ is individual and distinct. You both are mature believers with sincere relationships with God, and you don’t need to justify to the world the decisions you make. We’re all becoming responsible adults, and part of that maturation process is to learn that not everyone has the same moral standards. But thanks for your sensitivity! 🙂

  • I think that it is wonderful that this Christian girl is stepping out and shining her light for Jesus. Even though I myself do no watch American Idol (1- I do not think it edifying and 2- we don’t have “TV”) I think that it takes a huge step of faith to get out there in front of a huge audience, many of whom are not believers, and express God’s love. Way to go Maddy! I will be praying for you!

    I have seen all of the comments here about going on YouTube, and while I agree that we should not support all most any of the videos on there, I will at times go on to watch a specific video that my parents and I both know is edifying WITH my parents. I would never be allowed to go on without them.

    I think the main point of this post was to tell an encouraging story about a girl who is using her God given gift to glorify HIM.

    GOD BLESS! =)

  • a lot of the posts on here remind me sadly of Jesus’ parable criticizing those who publicly boast about their claims to honor God by fasting and praising those who pray to God in secret

    people who constantly declare their every action as something “for the glory of God” are just like those unintentional hypocrites against whom Jesus warned

    in contrast, when Jesus attends a wedding at which he turns water to wine, He isn’t celebrating the wedding “for the glory of God” –he’s celebrating the wedding as a wedding!

    Jesus does not act as those unintentional hypocrites, as though weddings exist only because God is insecure enough to need propaganda, but instead He enjoys the beauty of the life God has provided for all of us and enjoys a wedding for being a wedding

    the Bible is filled with examples of God’s chosen enjoying life itself without turning every moment into a braying advertisement for God

    this is true faith in God, as Jesus Himself points out in His parables

    it frightens me to read so many comments from people who have somehow mistaken the path of the unintentional hypocrites as the ordained path, in direct contradiction to what Christ Himself says in the Gospels

  • Hey Matthew,

    Thanks for your response. I would like to direct you to a preacher who fears God with all of his household, who teachers some amazing messages and even writes absolutely outstanding literature on not wasting your life but doing all for the glory of God; that being, Pastor John Piper.

    Remember, 1 Corinthians 10 and verse 31 states “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” If God had created us for His glory and to reveal His glory (Isaiah 43:7) then it is our calling to do all for His glory. Pastor John Piper says it in better words than I and I don’t take him to be an “unintentional hypocrite” but rather a God-fearing pastor who speaks and does know the truth of the Word of God.

    In Him,

  • Oh, and one more thing. Pastor Piper explains how we’re not robots constantly saying “I’m doing this for God’s glory…I’m going to the bathroom for God’s glory…I’m dreaming for God’s glory…” But rather, the life that is Christ centered will have Christ centered affections and long to bring Him glory in all that he does. Again, pastor Piper has some amazing resources on this subject.

  • I did some clicking around on Mrs. Curtis’ blog, and all I can say is that she seems like a very wise woman who has been tempered by time. We youngsters would do well to keep our big mouths shut once in a while, and listen to older people who have experience.

  • I will be praying for Maddy. Not primarily that she wins (although that’d be cool if she did), but that she’d be able to share the love of God with those around her.

  • Hi Alex and Brett! I rarely have time to read the comments section on your blog, but I was catching up on your blog this afternoon and found these two posts. I just wanted to write and tell you that I appreciate your efforts to set an example for young (and not-so-young) Christians and encourage them to follow God wholeheartedly. Your example has encouraged me as I am tempted to let the busyness of college classes and homework become an excuse for being lazy in other areas of my life. Keep up the good work!

    P. S. I have just added the two of you to my weekly prayer list. 🙂

  • God has calling for many people in our time. Maddy is undertaking something hard, and that can be used for whatever she does with it. I pray to Hashem that she chooses to take this a an oppertunity to save souls.

    “We are a voice of one calling the desert, prepare the way of the Lord!”

  • Hey you two,
    Wow!!You two must eb pretty excited!! Are you plaining on meeting her? I bet you are really looking forward to it!! Keep us posted!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!!

    In His Everlasting Arm,

    A Rebelutionary for Christ

  • Friends,

    This is something I am passionate about — the unlimited grace and love of Christ! I have only one thing to say: grace covers!

    This is the topic of the book of Romans. For those who believe on Jesus Christ, all is permitted! By the time he died, Ted Bundy the serial killer was the same in God’s eyes as any of his victims who also knew Christ. That is the glory of God. Not that you have or don’t have a TV. Not that you sing only gospel music in church or sing country songs on American Idol.

    What matters in life is love. We can waste our time backbiting our fellow Christians, or we can look outward and spread joy, peace, and love wherever we go. In the end, we answer only to God for our actions.

    Major kudos to Maddy Curtis for having the guts to become who God wants her to be! I had the pleasure to say a simple hello to her at the Haiti benefit concert mentioned above. I pray what I pray for all people — that my Lord will open her heart to love and be loved all the more from her new experiences.

  • The Bible says to be in the world but not of it. That means that we shouldn’t be secluded from everyone that doesn’t agree with us, that we shouldn’t be involved in the sinnful things they do.. Singing is not sinnful. However what you sing and how you are dressed and what you do on stage can be wrong.. there may be people who do the wrong thing on the show but her being on it is not wrong..

  • I can see the problem with watching American Idol. Some have also voiced a concern about youtube which is valid, as many times there are indecent previews along the side.
    Perhaps you may consider embedding on your blog the video segments of Maddy singing. Just an idea.

  • Maddy didn’t make it! I feel like crying. I don’t know what I should even think. Is there any way for us to contact Maddy?

  • This whole thing reminds me of an article I read yesterday in Christianity Today. It was written by an obvious sports hater, and he basically suggested that Christian completely get out of contact sports like football that, according to his opinion, don’t glorify God. He several times cited Scripture: “Our bodies are a temple to the Holy Spirit.” If you think about it, don’t ALL sports just show how amazing the human body is? Anyway, the basic idea of the essay was that if a certain sport/activity/area is “dirty” or “wordly” or even “evil”, that Christians should just keep out. Well, that’s not true. Jesus told us to “go into all the world” — yes, even the not-so-nice places. The more Christians there are in the NFL or on American Idol, the better the world will be.

  • I personally watch American idol (notice the lowercase ‘i’), and I dont feel a conviction about it, so I guess it really depends on what God is convicting you of. Thats my opinion, though. 🙂

  • Just in case Maddy comes back to read these comments, i just wanted to say how proud i was of her attitude even though she didnt make it past hollywood. I personally would have been wailing and who knows what, but i really think she handled it well. And i hope she knows that a lot of people are praying for her and her family, just because she didnt win American Idol doesn’t mean she isn’t in need of our prayers to continue to be a shining light for Christ around her 🙂 She definitely made the show something to look forward to me, and i hope she knows that.
    in Christ,

  • Sarah, im so glad you posted that you did watch Ai i personally dont but its honest and honesty is a great value. thank you, Megan

  • Megan, I am glad my comment benefited you. I really do think that it depends on what your convictions are. Some people are convicted about Ai, but some people don’t. I personally don’t. I don’t like the idea of them being ‘idols’, but I think Ai is fine for me. 🙂

  • I disagree that a Christian should agree to allow the producers of a secular television show to choose one’s clothing. Her clothing on the show did not, in my assessment, line up with Biblical guidelines. Too short and too tight.

    As believers, we are to keep ourselves unstained by the world.

    God wants us to be be conformed to his image, and our ministry needs to not compromise our holiness.

    I was also uncomfortable with her enamored (full of respect, adoration maybe) attitude towards the AI hosts…

    As a believer, one should use one’s gifts and talents to minister, not perform.

  • Good word!

    “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…”
    Philippians 1:9-10


    God calls us, as Christians, to use discernment. Looking at the “fruit” of someone’s life is not the same as judging them. We are called to walk in grace, but also in truth. Jesus loved people, while at the same time He called them to come out of their worldliness and sin. That is our God! His love is so unfathomable: He can LOVE us, at the same time He is showing us our sin and calling us to come away from it.
    (And I clarify: I am not saying that it was “sin” for Maddy to go on AI. That is not for me to judge! It would be sin if God had told her not to, but that’s between her and God)

    Love you all!

    Ellen Davis

  • I hate the name American Idol… I watch the show though and keep in mind not to get caught up in it and I do not vote… If Maddy’s story touched even one person from not aborting a baby because it was special needs, wouldn’t it have been worth it? Maybe that was why she was there. To save a life, not to be the next American Idol.

  • The hard thing to do is to apologize and stop talking about Maddy – no “but”s.

    The blog reads like “I apologize for breaking the rule BUT you as readers have responsibility too. Let me share more about what I think about Maddy.”

  • As Maddy’s father, I want to thank so many of you for your support and prayers. I’d like you all to know as well that Maddy’s first words to me after she was cut were, “No regrets Daddy, I did what God wanted me to do.”

  • hey guys I actually do watch the show so I can keep you posted on Maddie. And I do think maddie’s story is so great. She is also a great singer so its really fun to watch her sing. I will be praying for her and hopes she does well

  • I honestly think that most of the people watching Americn Idol watch it to hear Simon’s insults (which I admit, are pretty funny). I’ll pray that Simon doesn’t hurt her feelings and that she’ll make it all the way. America needs more christians in the limelight. I’ll try to keep you up to date on Maddie. =)

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  • Thanks for the post. I agree that I don’t think American Idol is a show that can help us with our relationship with Jesus Christ, although that is probably an opportunity for Christian singers to share their faith. I really liked it on the show when Jermaine S. said ‘God never fails’ when he got out. That was awesome!
    Thanks for the post, guys.

  • רבותי אני רוצה להציע להיכנס
    פורטל הספא המתקדם והמוביל מסוגו בארץ.
    תוכלו למצוא באתר אפשרויות רבות של השוואת מחירים הכוללים
    חבילות ספא אטרקטיביות במיוחד
    הזמנת מטפלי ספא עד הבית
    קורסים והכשרה בנושא רפואה משלימה
    בואו להנות ולהתנפק כמלכים כמו שניתן לעשות רק בספא
    רק באתר
    ספא בחיפה.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →