I wanted to share my thoughts after reading several of these Miley/VMA posts because I’ve had many thoughts that no one else seems to have expressed yet. These thoughts are not meant to instruct Miley on how to live her life or to solve the problems of the entertainment industry, nor are they meant to critique the christian world’s reaction or debate any previous views that have been posted. I simply hope that by sharing my personal reflections, it will cause other’s to reflect and we will all be challenged to examine our own lives in better and different ways.
There are four main types of posts I’ve come across:
1) The OMG I’m shocked posts… ‘I can’t believe MTV would put that on tv’, ‘What is the world coming to?’ I get it, I really do. But at this point are we truly surprised? Maybe if you are less exposed to or less involved in mainstream music, tv, and media, you honestly don’t know. But I don’t see how anyone can be surprised. These things have been displayed, promoted, and celebrated in our society for quite some time, it’s nothing new. Beyond that, my thoughts keep going back to this-our hearts are evil, and when left unchecked they run wild. We know this, we say this, we agree with this. But when we see this on display we act shocked. We expect people to act according to a belief system they don’t claim, and we act disgusted and appalled when they don’t. (I know someone’s going to argue something about just because we live in a sinful world doesn’t mean we should accept it, so let me go ahead and acknowledge- there is a difference in celebrating sin and fighting sin through following Christ.) I will touch on this a little further down..
2) Judgmental ‘Dear Miley’ posts… “Dear Miley, I’m so disappointed”, “Dear Miley, I hope you straighten up soon” and so on and so on. First of all, let’s call it what it is- Miley’s not going to see it so you’re really just trying to sound cool for ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ sake.
Second, we love to make these statements that establish a line between ‘us’ and ‘them’, between ‘me’ and ‘her’. Am I alone? When we see these things there are subconscious thoughts of how someone (like us) needs to tell her (him, them) a thing or two. God must be so angry at this blatant display of sin, I’m sure glad I’m not like that. And this is probably the concept that has most been on my mind- the sin that is celebrated and portrayed on MTV and all other entertainment media is no more sinful than the sin that daily sits in the dark corners of my heart.
Miley and I (and you) are not much different from each other when it comes to our human condition. We were born into sin. We willingly choose to seek after our fleshly, human, desires. We enjoy and celebrate our sinful pursuits because they bring us pleasure. And we are stupid, stubborn, and hopelessly lost in pulling ourselves out of the cycle.
Miley’s stripping down and dancing in front of millions on a stage in an effort to secure attention and acceptance is no more offensive to God than when I tweet cool quotes and verses in an attempt to secure attention and acceptance. Miley’s dancing all up on Robin Thicke is no more sinful than the lust that I have to continually fight against in my thoughts in certain situations. Miley’s seeking refuge in the party scene, sexual ‘freedom’, drinking and drugs, is no more shocking then my own season of seeking refuge in those things.
You see, Miley and I, we’re pretty much the same. The only difference is the transforming work of Christ and the Grace that I am learning to accept. He is daily transforming me into His likeness, but my heart is continually prone to wander away. There is a war within me every day, every minute-my flesh and His spirit working out these things within me. I am daily reminded that the only good in me is the work that Christ has accomplished on my behalf.
These are sobering thoughts. And if we really let them sit in, they change the way we view Miley, and Robin Thicke, and Lady Gaga, and everyone else we’re so quick to point a finger at.
3) The “Dear daughter, let this be an example’ and “We have to protect our kids!” posts… I don’t want to offend anyone (but I usually do anyway). I’m not a parent. I’m not telling you how to raise your kids. But seeing people say ‘this is why my kids aren’t allowed to watch tv, listen to this music’ etc etc blows me away. Should you let your young children watch the VMA’s or listen to current hits about drugs and sex? No, I get that. But the whole concept of ‘retreat and restrict’ ‘don’t let them see it, don’t expose them to it’ so they wont end up the same way? I don’t think that’s correct either because of the logic from above- restricting what your kids watch and don’t watch will not guarantee they pursue a godly lifestyle. Authority, affirmation from parents, boundaries, guidelines, instruction…kids need all these things ‘train up a child in the way he should go’…but ultimately, if your kid does not accept and trust in the saving power of Christ, they can be as separate from the worldly influences as you can possibly get them, and still be completely tainted by their sinful heritage. Your daughter IS Miley. Your son IS Robin Thicke or (2 Chainz or whoever you most label as ‘them over there’). That sinful spirit is already inside of their adorable little body and it’s just a matter of time before it takes on that same expressive shape, without the saving and transforming power of Christ taking over. So let’s not get prideful in our parenting techniques, let’s not brag on how our kids will never be like that or will never act that way or have a good head on their shoulders. If you’re trusting in your parenting strategies or your kids’ common sense to ensure their spiritual health, you’re in for tragic disappointment.
4) The “I’m sad about the state of the world”, “I’m broken and sad for Miley” posts… I’ll go ahead and admit- I felt sad while watching. My thoughts went to many of the same places that these did- the brokenness of this world, the little girl inside of Miley that is searching for something, the fact that this life holds so much more satisfaction than anything these celebrities will find through their career. But this thought has really hit me hard…it’s easy to feel sad, it’s even easy to pray for Miley or pray for these few famous people, and then log off and carry on with our day. What real difference did we make? What real difference are we going to make? I feel for Miley and a hundred other people ‘out there’, but who am I burdened for ‘in here’? In Mobile, in my city, in my circles of influence-work, family, even church circles. There are girls all around me that need love, affirmation, attention, and just someone to invest in them. Beyond girls specifically, there are people all around all of us that are struggling and hurting. Everyone is looking for acceptance, everyone is looking for encouragement. Ultimately, everyone is looking for the only thing that can satisfy- life in relationship with the God that created them. This expresses itself in many many ways- drugs, alcohol, sex, money, relationships, various hobbies, careers, volunteer work, even church work….but we’re all trying to fill a spot that is very empty inside of us. It all comes back to the simple fact that we were meant to live life in relationship with our Creator and we need the truth of the gospel daily- we can’t get to God, God came to us. Those of us who have been reconciled through Christ know this. We have knowledge of the Hope that the rest of the world needs. Who are we sharing it with?
These are my thoughts. Thanks for reading.