Timberlake’s Half-time Show Reminds Us We Crave Authenticity

As a Patriots fan, today is slow-going. I am sitting at my desk in my Pats tee shirt (which I slept in), pajama bottoms, and puffy socks. Mourning this morning will happen; I’ll give myself until noon. Great game Eagles! Well-deserved win.

As a big fan of Justin Timberlake, I was disappointed in his half-time show. I remember the absolute chills I had watching him perform “What Goes Around” on SNL some years back.  And don’t get me started on N’Sync. The dance moves! The harmonies!

What was missing in JT’s show? Other artists, for one. And a better, unmistakable yet subtle tribute to Prince. It seems Prince was no fan of JT, and he also abhorred singers singing with dead artists via hologram tech. But more troubling than any of those was the lack of authenticity. I’d rather see Steven Tyler of Aerosmith straight-out rocking his brains out – being his authentic self – than JT taking selfies, creating club scenes in the hallways of the stadium, and wearing spiffy designer duds.

Too much production douses creative spark with cold water.

It seems like more of our lives is fed by this vein of inauthenticity. At special events we busily take pictures to post to Facebook, forgetting to live in the moment. We are too busy to really care about neighbors in a sustained way, locked in our homes glowing with the light from Netflix on television, preferring the relaxation of  on-demand theater to the simple satisfaction of  ongoing neighborly connection. We design our daily input with Pandora for music, DVR/subscription options for TV, and geolocation tech for our road trips. Spontaneity fades, taking its cousin authenticity with it.

(Remember the simple joy of hearing your favorite song on the radio? Now you can download that song and play it until you are sick of it — taking it to the gym, the shower, the car. You couldn’t do that with albums!)

Our longing for – and recognition of – authenticity comes from God. He has planted within each of us a small bell that rings sweetly in our soul when something is real and truthful. It is the place where our gasps, sudden tears, and widened eyes come from. Is there anything better when you suddenly feel His presence just when you need it most? Is there anything more beautiful than a spontaneous, authentic moment; a marriage proposal, a baby being born, an artist throwing his head back and singing his truth for the world?

Seek and create the authentic. It is seeking you, reaching its arms out from within the patterns and rituals of everyday life. Pick it up and let it ride with you awhile.



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