It’s a Silk Purse, I Swear!

For those who don’t know, Oprah Winfrey has started a new reality Television series called “The Big Give”.  It sounds very noble on the surface of it.  Take twelve contestants and match them up with 12 families, and then reward the contestant who can give the most stuff to their particular family using the $5000 the show gives them.  Since Target is one of the corporate sponsors I end up seeing the 30-second commercial every couple of minutes when I am at work.  As batty as that would drive anyone, I must admit that I am getting very ticked off at the concept of this program.  First off, I am not impressed by a Billionaire finding a way to make a public spectacle of giving some no-name middle-class american 1 million dollars.  But even besides that, I was amazed at how blatant the humanism driving the program was… just from seeing the commercial.

Maybe I’m too cynical, but I can’t stomach the idea of idolizing people for giving away things that they never owned or purchase with money they didn’t earn.  The biblical precedent for giving is that when you give, it should be sacrificial and should by changing your heart towards what you are giving to.  However this seems more aimed at training people to be wealthy humanitarians than just being charitable.  I would say that this is a prime example of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.  Those wrong reasons make the right actions just as wrong as a wrong action.  The thing that has stuck with me is a 3 second soundbite from one of the contestants on the show that gets featured in the commercial… the soundbite of a 30-something woman looking at an interviewer just off-camera and saying “I CAN’T let this family down…”  She doesn’t say “this family really needs help” or “they are really deserving of this”… but the focus is entirely on the contestants.

The other thing that goes through my head when I think about this stuff is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.  That whole “do not do your charitable deeds to be seen by men” thing.  When people give, it is supposed to be before God, to be seen and rewarded by Him.  However, this television show is dedicated to making a nationally televised broadcast of people giving to their assorted families.  As sad as it is, Oprah, her twelve contestants, and all of those involved in financing this program have received their reward in full… no matter what the ratings tell us about the viewership.

Humanism by any other name is still humanism.


PS, should you want an easy way to give secretly… just click on the “Adopt-a-Missionary” page  ((hehe))


~ by xristosdomini on March 12, 2008.

3 Responses to “It’s a Silk Purse, I Swear!”

  1. Amen, amen and amen. Not only is this counter to the Word of God, but to me it seems really belittling to the families they are giving to…

    (P.S. Brilliant title.)

  2. Good post. I saw the show, and it was pretty much as you assume it is. People working hard to give away someone else’s money, all with the hope of winning $1,000,000 for themselves. Now, granted, there are worse things you could do to earn a million dollars, but I doubt this really adds up to true charitable giving. To be sure, the people they gave to were financially blessed, and I’m sure they are grateful, but it’s the heart motive for the “givers” that concerns me.

    And, I agree with Amanda. To me it really looked like using some needy people for selfish gain. That isn’t the focus of how they edit it, of course, but that’s really what it comes down to; “I’ll find some poor people to impress the judges with my generosity so I can get a ton of money for myself.” Not exactly magnanimous. Add to that the gazillions of dollars that Oprah and the network will make if this show is a hit, and it seems like the people who will benefit the least are actually the needy people… Hmm…

  3. Yeah… the needy people and the people who get offed during the competition. I mean, you go through all of this, get voted off the Island, and you don’t even get an eternal reward for it.

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