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April 25, 2007

Idol Gives Back

My husband and I are watching tonight's American Idol special, "Idol Gives Back." We have been especially touched by the stories coming out of Africa, though it's good to be reminded that there are many American families who are also living in extreme poverty. If you want to donate, check out their website. I think it's wonderful that this program (which, in my mind, has been terrific this year) is using its considerable popularity to raise awareness and funds to help the "least of these." 

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It is nice indeed to see American Idol doing something for America and the world other than creating, well, idols. (Exodus 20:4) But I'm a bit disturbed by two things:
1) How efficient is the giving to these causes - how much of the money actually goes to the people who need it?
2) Doesn't this encourage a mentality of giving only once in a while, rather than regularly?
While Idol actually giving something back is good, I feel that my money could be more effectively spent elsewhere, like being given regularly to one of my missionary friends actually living in Africa and doing concrete things to make lives there better. Ditto for missionaries to the USA.

I'm also amused by the thought of Ryan and Simon going on this trip together, thereby putting the lie to their (I believe) scripted on-screen tiffs...

Diane Singer

Lee raises good points about how we choose to give and who we choose to give too. My husband and I are also involved in mission work in Africa, and that's where the bulk of our giving for international missions will continue to go. However, as we watched the program last night, we saw a chance to join in a worthwhile cause that benefits not only those in Africa but also poor Americans.

I also checked out the ONE website (the charity that Bono is involved with) and noted that it involves a number of charitable organizations that I am familiar with or have supported in the past, especially several Christian ones.

I'm hoping that, in the long run, the show will raise awareness that will translate into an ongoing involvement with helping the needy. Still, when I remember Jesus' words about the value of giving even a cup of cold water in His name, I can't dismiss the value of even that one time giver.

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