Eugene Cho

undiscovered beauty and talent

By now, many folks have heard the story of Paul Potts.  If you haven’t, you need to see the video below! He has become an overnight sensation.  An incredible story of a 36-year-old British man who was making a living as a mobile cellphone salesman.  Check out the story line…it’s made for Hollywood:  Bullied as kid and consequently, resorts to singing; Has ambitions of being an opera singer but gives up his dreams; Wasn’t even going to audition for the talent show…But alas, he enters and wins the Britain’s Got Talent show [equivalent to ‘American Idol’ here in the Stateside]. It’s a little mushy but what a wonderful story of a hidden talent that is now uncovered for others to enjoy. I have a reputation of a tough man to maintain but I have to confess I got a little teary-eyed the first time I saw this video. The last time I cried was when the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl couple years back. That was painful but that’s another story.

While there was some “controversy” of some details that revealed Paul had some vocal training, the truth seems to be that he really is an average bloke.

I have never worked as a professional singer. I have poured everything I could earn into a few lessons, but everyone taking part in this television show has had some training,’ he said yesterday.

‘My four performances with Bath Opera a few years back were all amateur. I am angry about this because I have never earned anything, although I did get petrol expenses a couple of times.’ His story is confirmed this weekend by the singing teacher who gave him lessons until Potts was forced to give up in 2003 because of illness. Potts adds that he has always been open about a trip to Italy to improve his voice. He had saved up to sing for Luciano Pavarotti in a masterclass, but had no tuition from the great tenor. [read the full interview]

What’s he going to do with the earnings? Well, he intends to pay off some debt and fix his teeth.  How average and ordinary can you get?  The bloke even has a MySpace account.  I guarantee you that you’re going to see commercials soon with a montage of his singing and ordinary folks saying, “I am Paul Potts.” 

I want to resist the temptation of making this a nice “spiritual illustration” but how can one resist?  One of the thoughts that came across my mind as I was seeing this video was the thought of all the undiscovered beauty [and talent] in the lives of all people.  And maybe part of the function of the body of Christ and pastors is to serve as “talent scouts” or discoverers.

Filed under: culture

12 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    You are special, very special, a fan.

  2. chad says:

    pastors as “talent scouts”…
    i like that idea
    that’s one i can run with as a youth pastor!

  3. Rachel says:

    pe- yes! i came across this video last week, truly beautiful!

  4. Janet says:

    No need to apologize Eugene. I like the idea of churches, Christians, and pastors helping one another to discover the talent and beauty of each person. While it can be construed as New-Ageish, I actually think this is biblical.

    Happy Discovering.

  5. kd nyquist says:

    I’m going to suggest that talent scouting is a sign of quality leadership in all realms, not simply limited to pastors or the like inside church walls. I think pastors have the dual responsiblity of not only uncovering gifts, but also making sure that those gifts are a means used for worship versus becoming passions that spiritually blind the talented. There is a difference between doing something for God and doing something because one is good at it.

  6. Don Sturgill says:

    Great point, Eugene. As believers, our job description calls for us to see the glorious potential for joy inside of a suffering individual. I was at a low point, myself, when I saw this video…and it was a living sermon to me. Just what I needed, just when I needed it. I have put up (my first ever) blog to invite others who have been touched by Paul to share their experience. Please take a look:

  7. Michael says:

    I heard about the “real” Paul Potts story after discovering him on youtube recently and I must admit, I felt kind of…deceived? I would’ve preferred to learn about his struggles as an amateur paying for his own lesseons, unpaid amateur performances, surgery, broken collarbone, etc, instead of being led to believe this guy just showed up out of nowhere.

    But after a little while, I was still alright with him and I’m a fan. I just don’t like being taken advantage of by the media and recording industry for profit (who does?), which Paul’s initial, sort of half-truth story seemed like.

  8. Mick Daly says:

    I cry EVERY time I watch Paul’s audition video (that’s dozens of times), and am proud of it! Btw, I too was born in Bristol England!

    As an elder at our church I gave a message on Sunday (Journey to Joy) using Paul Potts and his video as an example of a fundamental truth that I think most churches and Christians miss: Jesus was a Man of Joy. Like Paul Potts, when we use God-given gifts and talents (even if we don’t know Him or that he gave them!), and when we use them for the benefit of others, then we give Joy and experience Joy ourselves. Just watch the judges and the audience as Paul begins to sing – that’s some kind of joyful transformation taking place.

    I have a feeling that Paul does know where his talent comes from – if not, I pray he learns that truth and that he is on a Journey to Joy that ends in heaven, where Joy comes from and where his and our Joy will be complete.


  9. John Eaton says:

    Amen, Gene.

    The Jericho road is a long one, and there are many travelers.


  10. Mami says:

    For the record “Britain’s Got Talent” is the equivalent to “America’s Got Talent” – and “Pop Idol” is the equivalent of “American Idol.” Both shows originated in the UK.

    It does appear that Paul is a natural singer and any voice coach will now welcome the opportunity to work with him.

  11. Hope Anderson says:

    I am just so happy for Paul Potts and his family. Much success in the future, Mr. Paul Potts! God Bless you! Hopey

  12. […]  The instant judgment.  This is a familiar story, isn’t it?  I’m not talking about Paul Potts (another winning contestant in Britain’s Got Talent) but for us as Christians, Jesus […]

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One Day’s Wages

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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