Pop Culture Prayer Room

I haven’t called Google or anything, but I would be willing to bet that in the last 36 hours, “Miley Cyrus VMA performance” was one of, if not the top search on the web. Everyone is talking about it, and most people (especially those in Christian circles) are outraged over it.

And if it wasn’t Miley’s performance, it was Lady Gaga in a thong, or Macklemore’s gay rights anthem that earned a standing ovation. (And rightfully so, he’s a lyrical genius and that girl that sings on that song with him has serious pipes!) At the very least you heard someone say something negative about how all the guys from NSYNC got fat.

What kind of blows my mind about the response to artists like the ones performing at the VMAs from the Christian culture as a whole, though, is that we act like we don’t expect lost people to act like lost people.

You know they were performing on the MTV Video Music Awards, right? It wasn’t the Dove Awards.

I wasn’t actually watching yet when Miley performed (I turned the TV on just in time for Justin Timberlake — phew!), so I watched it on Youtube later. Did I see something that morally made my insides crawl a little? Yes. But more than anything I was just kind of sad for her.

I wonder what goes on in a heart that acts out that way. I wonder if anyone has even asked. I wonder if she’s just numbing a whole lot of pain — she’s obviously crying out for something. Maybe I’m extra sensitive to it in her case, since we grew up in the same town and had mutual friends in high school. It seems like she should have turned out … different.

And I wonder if any of those people I knew in high school that know her still talk to her. I wonder if they’re among the millions of people posting nasty things about her. I wonder if there’s anybody actually believing for her life and contending for her soul in Heaven.

Why do we feel entitled to talk about celebrities like they aren’t real people? What if that was your sister, or your best friend? Wouldn’t it weigh on you a little differently?

I started thinking about this a few months ago when I was talking about going to see Beyonce in concert and someone brought up that her “Sasha Fierce” alter ego was demonic. I don’t really think that’s true, and I kind of think the whole “all of hip-hop is in the illuminati” conspiracy theory is stupid, but it got me thinking about the way we talk about celebrities like they’re so disposable. And the way we treat them like they’re untouchable, whether we put them on a pedestal or a guillotine. It seems like we’re either worshiping them or wishing death upon them.

We don’t even give them a chance to be better. We put them in the “unsaveable” category and somehow that makes it ok to say awful things about them.

Here’s the reality: they’re in the spotlight, so we’re going to talk about them. We’re going to think about them. We’re going to see their faces plastered on magazine covers every time we check out at the grocery store.

But what if we started talking to Jesus about them? What if no one else is? Maybe we could be hopeful for them where everyone else is hateful.

So I’m taking action. Once a week, this space is turning into a prayer room for celebrities. Artists matter, you guys. They shape the culture that we live in. Their work infiltrates our lives, so we might as well invest back into theirs.

It seems appropriate to start with Miley.

  • I’m praying that she gets tired of searching for pleasure and thrill in the world and finds the wild adventure she was made for in Jesus.
  • I’m believing for the people she needs in order to walk out in that to find their way into her life.
  • I’m asking God to preserve her life even in the midst of rebellion, because he made her for something in his kingdom. Nobody is a mistake.

Will you join me?