Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts on Lady Gaga's Guest Editor Stint for the Metro

Let your identity be your idol…oh I mean religion.

Lady Gaga’s image appeared front and center on the cover of the Metro news in Winnipeg. Born This Way the caption printed under the image of Stefani (real name) a cross hanging from a dog collar around her neck, dressed in a two piece black number with rhinestones hanging from her breasts. Flashbacks to Madonna come to play in my mind as I look at her image. Who is Lady Gaga? In her one hour interview with Michael Freidson she gives snippets of the reality in her life…or is it fantasy. In regards to her Born This Way album, she states, “The most paramount theme on the record for me struggling to understand how I can exist as myself, as someone who lives halfway between fantasy and reality all the time.” This could well paint a good picture of the now 25 year old who continues to paint a very peculiar picture of herself in media and to her “little monsters…her fans”. She wants to change the world.

Funny thing is, the world has bought into another entertainer who by rights saw a void in the whole area of sensationalism and has used that to gain momentum and this is not uncommon nor is it new. Each generation needs or longs for a new sensationalist who grabs there attention and does things that bend and twist the norm, to validate and affirm things within them.

I believe we are all born with an innate void that needs to be filled. If we think theologically, we are all born into sin. We have a predisposition to be rebellious in nature and live to please ourselves rather than submit ourselves and our human nature to our creator God. As Gaga’s interview goes on, she states that she was “taught her whole life about Judas and Jesus and Mary Magdalene.” She goes on to say that Mary Magdalene fascinates her, as she believes that Mary is both “wholly human and wholly divine”. She then asks herself, “how can I be fully magical and fully human?”

I believe we are to come to the place of understanding how we are “Born This Way”, not in the ways we define ourselves, nor allow others to define us, but to recognize the area within us that longs for acceptance, affirmation, love, which in it’s fullness will not be filled until we meet our saviour Jesus Christ and our Creator God. We will in our humanness grapple with identity, self worth, wholeness, acceptance, love and the list could go on, while we are here on the earth.

Gaga goes on to repeat herself over and over again, that her passion is social justice and music. She says she probably should go to therapy and goes on to say that she is in tune with herself. That at the end of the day she has to look in the mirror and be proud of everything she stands for. She says she doesn’t party very much, nor is she seen falling out of nightclubs…yet, she is still a sensationalist. Would Lady Gaga be who she is, if she doesn’t wear a meat dress, nor dress provocatively in an already sex crazed society? In a recent show on TV, she was described as a positive role model for young girls. I had to laugh a bit at that, but took serious note as to that statement. Would I want my daughter to look at her as a role model, dressed the way she does? Would I want my daughter to dress like that? Would I want my son to come home with a woman dressed like that?

I don’t want image to be the only impression, yet it plays a part in the image and role that she plays in our culture. Lady Gaga, doesn’t work with men who are dealing with sex addiction, yet she is a role model for sex addiction. She says social justice is very important to her, yet as a role model what negative roles does she play? Our society of young people are buying into her sensationalistic mentality and running with it.

If Lady Gaga would clear away the outfits, the sexualized images and provocative statements, the makeup (essentially, everything that has imprinted her as Mother Monster) and just sang and worked on social justice issues could she do it? Could she see a bigger picture of what and who she is in the world around her, rather than the Monster image portrayed by her? My heart breaks for her, as I see a young woman desperate for attention, longing to know what real love truly is, even if she can’t see it. As much as she is a sensationalist and a poor role model, my prayer is that she knows the incomparable love of her heavenly Father who calls her to something more, something greater than what she can imagine.

The May 17th issue of Winnipeg’s Metro was focused on the now “Born This Way” LGBTQ campaign. Throughout the paper well known gay and lesbian media representatives answered the question, “What advice would you give your 15-year old self, knowing now what you didn’t know then.”

What surprised me as to the whole theme of the paper was the idea of wanting humanity to find togetherness and in Lady Gaga’s words “We are all different and it is that which makes us the same.”

Is my existence which is different than the cultural expectation of me (someone who was once gay identified, who would still say I struggle with same gender attraction to some degree) acceptable and welcomed, understood and embraced?

Is the message welcomed that if you are in conflict with your same sex attraction, specifically in regards to your faith, that you can seek out wholeness, seek out healing, and an understanding to why you may feel this way, rather than taking on the immediate labels LGBTQ or “Born This Way”? Is that immediately deemed abusive, repressive, homophobic if you decide to uncover why you think or feel this way and decide to find another way to define yourself.

Having struggled with my sense of gender identity for years before I came out at age 30 and then at age 38 decided to look at the root causes of my gender distortion and confusion after an encounter with my creator God, I came to realize that I am so much more than “the struggle” and I see a bigger picture of who I am and why I was created as a gendered being. I see my worth and my identity wrapped up in my understanding of who I am as a son of God. Fully loved, fully embraced and fully free to be the man God had from the beginning desired me to be. I walk upright and fully present to my weakness, my faults and vulnerabilities. My struggle is not a liability, nor does it hinder me to fully love myself, my wife or my daughter…and ultimately those around me.

My message to my 15 year old self if I had been asked the question:

Life gets better. It really does. You may not see it now, nor understand fully because of what you are struggling with and even the ability to understand it fully may not happen for a while, but know that the God who created all things, who knew you before your parents even did, has a plan and a purpose for your life. He didn’t create you gay, nor is He punishing you or causing this internal struggle with your gender. He does though have a bigger plan for your life, one that will BLOW you away. Learn to trust Him. Find some safe people to talk with, ones who will walk with you and listen. They don’t need to have all the answers, but they should walk you toward Christ. Be transparent. Be real. Don’t hide your struggle or your questions, but talk about it. There is no shame in struggling, there is no shame in who you are, unique, wonderful, amazingly talented, handsome, confident, a beautiful gift to those around you. You don’t need to try to be like other men around you, the ones you think you should be like, rather be you. Be who God made you with all the musical talent, creativity that comes from Him.

You are more than your struggle and you are way more than what the world would label you as. Don’t seek out idols, don’t let heterosexuality be your idol, don’t let homosexuality be your idol, don’t let the struggle be your idol. Worship the Lord. Worship Him with abandon. He longs for you to come and bring everything to Him.

He will make the journey ahead full of joy…but remember as you seek out holiness, that does not necessitate happiness (happiness is different than joy). Holiness comes with a cost, it is sacrificing your life, laying it down at the foot of the cross daily. That is hard. It is a sifting and a refining and the LORD JESUS CHRIST who made the ultimate sacrifice is right there with you. HE won’t give you more than you can bare.

Remember to love yourself, for in doing so, you can love others well. Be brave, be courageous and be bold in your faith and your transparency. I love ya!

1 comment:

Esther said...

the words to your 15 yr old self were beautiful, thank you for sharing them.