The opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics were truly spectacular. The creative genius of the program and disciplined performers left me awestruck. But a news story the next day left me a little angry. The beautiful little girl singing during the telecast was actually lip syncing. Was it because she was too nervous or too young to perform live in such a pressure packed environment? Nope. It was because the actual voice belonged to a singer dubbed not “cute” enough to represent the country. The Los Angeles Times reported the story.
The child in question was 9-year-old Lin Miaoke, who was seen belting out "Ode to the Motherland" as the Chinese flag entered the National Stadium. She became an instant celebrity and was quickly christened a "smiling angel." The image of her in a pretty red dress appeared around the world. But it wasn't Miaoke who was singing. Chen Qigang, the ceremony's music director, told state broadcaster Beijing Radio that the voice heard around the world belonged to 7-year-old Yang Peiyi.
Peiyi had the voice and was supposed to perform, but was yanked at the last minute because her looks were deemed not suitable by a senior Communist Party official, Chen said. "It was for the national interest," Chen told Beijing Radio. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."
That just makes me ill. Especially when you see the face of the little girl who was rejected.
Yang Peiyi (Courtesy of Los Angeles Times)
She is beautiful. But because she has buck teeth and a chubby face they brought in another little girl to lip sync the song. What a horrible message this action sends to young girls and boys around the world. But as followers of Jesus we must be so careful to not send a similar message.
I know pastors who will not allow overweight or unattractive people to be a part of the praise team or to serve as greeters. Here is what I want to see when I watch a praise team. Faces reflecting worship of Jesus. If I want to see pretty faces I will go to an up-scale boutique. When I am greeted at the door I want to sense the warmth of fellowship and love of Christ. I don’t care how straight their teeth are or how perfect the attire. James wrote about this dangerous path that Christians can go down.
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?
Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. (James 2, NLT)
Seriously James…can you tell us how you really feel? I have to be so careful about being drawn only to those like me (scary thought) instead of embracing whoever Gods places on my path. Some of the most beautiful believers I know have the spiritual parallel to buck teeth and chubby faces. They are beautiful because of Christ and who they are becoming in Him.
I reread the quote from the official above with sadness.
"The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."
We live in a world full of people who know they are not flawless in image, internal feelings and expression. They know just the opposite. They are deeply flawed in image, internal feelings and expression. That is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus. Whether you can sing or not sing. Whether you have perfect teeth or buck teeth. Whether you have lived a pretty good life or horrible life. Jesus is ready to forgive your past and rewrite your very nature. By simply putting your trust in Christ you can become a new person. Flawless in the eyes of God. No need to fake it or wonder if you are good enough or pretty enough. The message you will hear from God is amazing. You are enough because of my Son. You are a saint and you are precious to Me.
That is the message I live to communicate. The grace of the precious Gospel of Jesus is for everyone. And that is truly spectacular.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports
director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and
Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the
Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.
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