The most popular theologian in the world right now is…(drum roll please) Lady Gaga?
I said most popular, not most prolific or even the most accurate. But as far as popularity goes, Lady Gaga is it.
This is why the Church needs to listen to her. Lady Gaga is the epitome of fame. From having the most Twitter followers of anyone, to selling millions of records, to her headline stealing eccentricity, she exists in a league of her own when it comes to being an icon. In fact, she has garnered the name “Mother Monster” by her devout fans, who look to her for inspirational tweets and for her commentary over social causes.
Yet why is she a theologian?
She talks about Jesus… a lot, interpreting Him for her staunch fans.
Lady Gaga grew up Roman Catholic and that influence still reflects in her music. She has covered sin, God’s creation, Jesus, internal spiritual struggles, etc. in her music. Lady Gaga openly claims to love Jesus and be a Christian. Does she get it all correct? No. (Personally I believe she is so close to “getting it” but lacks a true understanding of grace, forgiveness and holiness.) But people are listening to her…
So a conversation is taking place on faith. It happens on the radio, on the internet, on people’s iPods, and in magazines every day. It’s one that the Church hasn’t started, but needs to take notice of, starting now… Lady Gaga doesn’t get it “all right” (although I don’t think she is trying to). But what she does get right the Church needs to claim, and what she gets wrong the Church needs to critique.
I’m not saying we should play her music in church, nor am I saying to opening embrace her art. You don’t have to like her music to notice the effect it is having on millions of people. Either we can accept that she is the source of a lot of young people’s ideas about God and Jesus (whether true or not), or we can ignore the conversation that has already been started. If we choose to ignore it, then we fail to have a say in the accuracy of any of it.
“I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track,
baby I was born this way” – Born This Way
“There’s only three men that I’m a serve my whole life
It’s my daddy and Nebraska and Jesus Christ” – You and I
“I wanna love you,
But something’s pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue,
Judas is the demon I cling to I cling to” – Judas
If Paul stood on Mars Hill and used the altar to the Unknown God to lead people to Christ, can we not use Lady Gaga to do the same?
For my video reviews of some of Lady Gaga’s songs from this year, click here.