Take me to Your Leader?

In 2009, Susan Boyle took the entertainment
world by storm. When she appeared that year
as a contestant on ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ (a
television show similar to ‘The Voice’ and other
talent-searching reality programs), there was
nothing about her look that said she had great
ability, or any ability at all, to be honest. On the
contrary, she was middle-aged at that time (she
is now 61—so still middle-aged I guess ☺), and
she was arguably not a striking beauty. She
was just a simple—albeit spunky—late-40-
something rural Scottish lass seeking a shot at
stardom. It is obvious from the very beginning of
the video of her initial audition that no one
expected her to be much of anything. As the
camera panned past the judges, in fact, they
were each undeniably skeptical. Their
expressions clearly gave away their thoughts.
Also, as the camera panned through the crowd,
people rolled their eyes, indeed thinking that
this upcoming ‘performance’ might fit better on
an old ‘Gong Show’ episode than it would on a
program specifically designed to showcase and
discover great artistic gifts. It seemed that this
performance, in the estimation of every witness,
was going to be quite the bomb—and not in a
good way.
Yet, in just the first few seconds of her
routine, she had fully silenced all critics. She
was amazing, and still is. The clarity and control
in her singing voice is superb. Her sound is
unique. Her tonal quality and range are
incredible, as is her stage presence. Needless
to say, those judges, and that crowd (both in
studio and on TV), were shocked to hear that
this voice came from that source.

Voice and source are important to consider
in combination. In life we hear many, many
voices. I do not—of course—refer to the literal
voices that we hear every day from our
families, our friends, and our coworkers.
Rather, I speak of the voices—the messages—
with which we are bombarded on a routine
basis. It is the ceaseless barrage of conflicting
information that we suffer under each day of
our lives that we must filter. It is crucial that we
be able to parse these many and varied
messages so as to ascertain their authenticity.
It is also critical—and I contend even more so
in this regard—that we match voice to source.
It is only when we accurately do so that we can
correctly and affirmatively determine the value
of the message. It is only when we are certain
of the source of the voice that we may
confidently conclude either to absorb or to
discard the message. I will say it again: it is
imperative that we consider voice and source
in combination.
In Luke 9 Jesus asks maybe his most
penetrating questions. First is, “Who do the
crowds say that I am?” The disciples give their
answer, which includes many possibilities,
each of which is surely based upon what they
have heard. But it is also conceivably based
upon what at least some of them believe in
that moment. Jesus then asks a second
question, “But who do you say I am?”
(emphasis mine).

It is here that Peter makes his great
confession that Jesus is “the Christ of God.”
Nonetheless, many questions remain
unanswered here, at least in my mind.
Examples: Was Peter truly convinced at this
point (his later behavioral pattern shows
otherwise, to tell the truth—just continue
reading through the gospels and you will see),
or was he just giving the answer that he
thought should be given? Was it only Peter
who believed this way, if even he truly did at
this point? And the big question: based upon
their response to the original question from
Jesus, were the disciples listening to other
voices and sources? From where were they
getting their information, and what did they
Which brings me to this question: from
where are we getting our information, and what
do we truly believe? –Ricky

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