Now, if you don't watch Survivor, let me give you a little background on this Matt fella Julie mentions. Matt is the "Christian guy" on the show. You know the type, the character that reality producers like us to snicker at for there naivety and cluelessness. Except a funny thing happened on the way to the stereotype, Matt ended up being a great story. He was voted out early, but thanks to the season's new twist, Redemption Island, he had the opportunity to duel each week to stay in the game. Week after week he would best the latest evicted tribemate and keep alive the hope of returning to the game. That hope was fulfilled at the merge when he was placed back into action after winning six straight duels. This, of course, was immediately followed by being blindsided by the same people who blindsided him the first time, at which point he survived two more duels and currently sits on Redemption Island still clinging to a chance to win. The whole process has left him beaten, weak, and lonely, yet still committed to playing whatever roll God has for him on this show.
Over 11 million people got to see the beauty of who Jesus is because some kid named Matt decided to just be real and give credit where credit is due. After Julie's speech about being inspired by Matt, I turned to my wife and tears were streaming down her face (well, at least I think they were, I was having trouble seeing through my own watery mess). Probst himself talks about how deeply it affected him in his latest vlog (heads up, minor swears). How much more must it have meant to Matt to know that his perseverance, if nothing else, might lead to Julie reconnecting with her creator in a deeper way.
I love these moments.
And its not the first time Jesus has shown up on Reality TV.
On American Idol, Mandisa, deeply hurt by an insensitive Simon Cowell, returns to not only offer him forgiveness, but express beautifully that "if Jesus can forgive me, I certainly can forgive you"
On Big Brother 3, a handsome young videographer named Jason, turns heads by talking about his virginity and convictions while at the same time showing love and grace to the people who mock him for it.
And again on Survivor, after Michael Skupin falls face first into the campfire, the producers for the first time don't end the episode with an eviction, but rather linger on a group of people holding hands and praying for their friend. The final words heard in that episode, "In Jesus name, Amen".
The tribe has spoken, indeed.
In each instance, it's beautiful not just because someone name drops the Messiah, but because Christ's attributes are lived out right in front of us. It's haircut evangelism. You never have to tell someone you have a good haircut, you either do or don't. And if someone likes your hair, and if they ask you who did it, you just give them the info. Conversely, if you go around telling people how awesome your barber is and how desperately they need a trim, they probably won't take time to listen (especially if your words are trumped by your own tangled head nest)
So to Matt I say, I'm diggin' your haircut, and I have this feeling there will be plenty wanting to know where you got it done. Just keep pointing the way, man.