Beyoncé Knowles and Katy Perry were all the conversation this week with both socially connected Christians and the secular media following their performances at the Grammys Sunday night. Miley Cyrus’ performance (‘twerking’ at the MTV awards in August) almost looks tame compared to what reportedly happened Sunday night. I didn’t watch Beyoncé nor Katy, but I did see some pictures and I read the details. The details were shameful enough.
It would have been predictable had we thought of it – but when Miley twerked her way to the headlines in August, there had to be a ‘one-up’ at some point…and that’s what we got Sunday night. This is the new normal in our culture – if sex sells and grabs your needed attention then that becomes par for the course. This is just the beginning of what will no doubt be a long string of grossly sexualized entertainment unlike anything we’ve seen before. These artists will have no choice but to stay ahead of the pack by continually ‘upping’ their sensuality.
Beyoncé, Katy and Miley have made their choice: in order to be heard you have to have a voice. And in today’s culture your body and showmanship are your voice. But their antics can teach our kids and students important lessons to make sure they don’t fall prey to the same bad choices. So what can Beyoncé, Katy and Miley teach us?
1. Choose wisely what you choose to imitate.
Because our culture is so absorbed in what happens in 2 cities: New York and Hollywood (L.A.), teens can be duped into thinking THAT is normal life. Those of us who have lived longer than 15 years KNOW what Hollywood/the music industry produces is all based on cash and fantasies – not reality. Imitating Beyoncé or Miley with the hopes that it will bring you what Beyoncé and Miley have is absurd – but not to a 14-year old girl. Imitation is like fire – it can be a great thing in the right context, but devastating otherwise. Check out what the Bible says:
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;” Ephesians 5:1
The greatest examples that we have to follow are Christ’s (1 Peter 2:21) and those who walk closest to Him (1 Cor. 11:1). Teens need real role models – not the plastic ones our culture produces. Are you an example (I didn’t say perfect) that a teen could model their life after?
2. Love is always about others, not us.
When Beyoncé chooses to flaunt her body for the world to see, she is, in reality, only thinking about one person: Beyoncé. She doesn’t realize the selfishness in all of it (or maybe she does?). Throughout the Bible, we’re continually instructed to use what we have for God’s glory and others – never us. When we use what we have to elevate us, we idolize us – it’s the epitome of selfishness. God teaches us another way:
“…and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:2
Christ’s life was always about others – never Him. He used His life to glorify His Father and to show love to others. He was never a personal billboard. We need to help teens understand that ‘flaunting it’ serves no purpose other than to escalate you. Someone who lives their life to please themselves is not a very attractive person. Selflessness radiates beauty.
3. Sensuality: It’s Time for War.
Trash is trash. We can’t be afraid to call sensuality trash and abhor it. This one’s tough, because it’s very counterculture. It’s everywhere: Victoria’s Secret commercials, advertisements in the mall, awards shows – everywhere. We need to be teaching our young people that sensuality (outside of marriage) is absolutely disgusting to God, and thus it needs to be disgusting to us. We can’t play with it. We can’t ‘hem and haw’. We need to treat sensuality as if it were something real that could destroy a life or a family – right up there with an intruder or other disaster. Would you welcome something devastating into your home or into the lives of your kids/students? Absolutely not.
“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” Ephesians 5:3
In my mind, “not even named among you” = war.
So how about it? What is happening in our culture can’t be avoided, but we can use these events as life lessons to help our kids/students stay pure.