Jesus Loves Miley Cyrus
What's left to say about Miley?
The former tween star's already-notorious performance at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards has everyone freaking out, about the vulgarity, about the sexism, about the racism – not to mention the problematic celebration of drug culture in her song "We Can't Stop" and the misogynistic date-rape vibe of Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines," which the two performed together.
Are we really back here again? It's been 29 VMAs since Madonna writhed in her wedding dress to "Like a Virgin," 23 VMAs since Prince wore butt-baring pants, 12 VMAs since Britney performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" wrapped in a live snake, and four VMAs since Sacha Baron Cohen dressed as a dark angel and landed crotch-first on Eminem's head.
The VMAs exist to shock, and by promising to deliver a moment "even crazier" than 2003's Britney-Madonna kiss, Miley left little doubt about her intention to use this performance to carve out her own place alongside these icons of pop.
Part of me hates even acknowledging this event by writing about it—we're giving MTV and Miley exactly what they want. But when people are talking, they're also listening, and it's important to think through what our response communicates about who we are.
As Christians, when confronted with something offensive, we often condemn it on instinct. We want to make sure everyone knows how strongly we disagree, how completely we disapprove, how far we want to distance ourselves from such behavior. (To some extent this seems like a human instinct, given how much everyone has gone on and on this week about Miley at the VMAs.)
There's absolutely a time and a place to call out sin, but if all we do is shame Miley—a 20-year-old girl who grew up extremely privileged, extremely sheltered, and extremely publicly and is now in the process of discovering her adult identity—for her behavior, and bemoan one more nail in the coffin of this world, what are we communicating about a God who loves sinners and offers hope not just from them but to them?
Jesus loves Miley. Nothing she could do could separate her from his love. Even more than she needs to know how we feel about her dance moves, or her drug use, or her sexual history, she needs to know that truth. The world needs to know that. The way we talk about other people, particularly those we condemn, communicates a lot about who we are and what we are about to other people who are "outside," even when it's not their choices we're berating in a public forum.
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