Now that American Idol has picked its silver-haired hero and started a national tour, the Fox network has to fill those lonely broadcast hours until January rolls around again. So they’ve come up with an Idol-wannabe program for the toe-tapping set: So You Think You Can Dance.
On each edition of So You Think You Can Dance, would-be dancing stars strut their stuff for a panel of three judges, one of whom is a Brit who throws out occasionally caustic remarks about the contestants. (Hmm, three judges, one a nasty Brit – where do you suppose they came up with that concept?) As the show goes on, the dancers will be eliminated until we end up with one gifted individual who apparently Can Dance!
Of course, at some point even this show will run its course, so I have a suggestion for those brilliant programming executives at Fox. (Unless, of course, they turn me down, in which case they are mindless minions.) How about a program called So You Think You Can Preach?
Would-be preachers gather at large tryouts in arenas across the country, trying for that coveted “ticket to Nashville” and a spot in the finals of So You Think You Can Preach. We’ll have a panel of three judges – a nasty Brit who makes rude comments to the contestants (hey, the formula seems to work), a nice lady who thinks they’re all pretty good, and an insightful (and potentially handsome, with enough makeup and the right camera angles) editor of a popular preaching magazine. (Hey, a guy has to get some benefit out of coming up with the idea!) Maybe we can even call the panel our “Pulpit Committee.” (Clever name – maybe it can be used elsewhere.)
Of course, the early shows will have those funny clips of the really awful contestants who can’t preach their way out of a paper bag. (Hopefully we’ll have at least one who tries to preach with a paper bag over his head – visual humor always helps in this sort of show.) These clueless contenders will include a handful of would-be pulpiteers straight out of seminary who are convinced they are the best thing since Spurgeon. This group will grow particularly irate when the Pulpit Committee fails to send them on to Nashville, and will question their judgment (and humanity) at length. We’ll probably see endless clips of the guy who said he was going to preach from his favorite New Testament book, then starts reading from Job. (Oh, wait, that was Howard Dean. Never mind.)
Finally we’ll get down to the twelve finalists, and each week America will call in to vote for its favorites. One by one the preachers will go home until, finally, the big finale arrives and we learn which contender really Can Preach! The winner gets a call as senior pastor of a giant megachurch, a recording contract with a big Christian record producer, and top billing on the So You Think You Can Preach national tour, hitting all the top preaching arenas and seminary bookstores.
If this works out, I’ve got a few more ideas – like the 13-week job interview in which a group of promising young preachers take on a variety of tasks in order to win a job as The Apprentice to Rick Warren – including a lifetime supply of online sermons andHawaiian shirts!
So give me a call, Hollywood. There are more ideas where those came from.
Michael Duduit is Editor of Preaching magazine. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.michaelduduit.com.