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Busted Halo
feature: entertainment & lifestyle
February 11th, 2011

God in Gaga

Lady Gaga's latest single is an anthem for the marginalized

 
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Lady Gaga’s new single, “Born This Way,” is an anthem for the different. The song offers words of encouragement for everyone on the margins of society, including gay people, members of racial minorities, and even the “broke.” She insists, God makes no mistakes,” and later adds:

Whether life’s disabilities
left you outcast, bullied or teased,
rejoice and love yourself today,
’cause baby, you were born this way.

Gaga is spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, whether intentionally or not. Her views on celibacy, personal strength and individuality are certainly laudable; and far more compelling is what she has to say about human nature and human suffering.

Unlike Madonna, to whom she is often compared, Lady Gaga seems to understand that human nature is not reducible to sex. Humans are complicated, and Gaga gets that. We can be ugly — that’s true — but Gaga understands that human beauty is only meaningful in contrast to human ugliness. So yes, we are monsters (fallen), but as the song says, we were “born to survive,” (born for eternal life).

Because Lady Gaga is able to embrace the ugly, and in so doing embrace the beautiful, she has a sensitivity and appreciation for inevitable human suffering. She acknowledges that people struggle constantly with their fallen nature, uncertain of their potential to be good.

Because Lady Gaga is able to embrace the ugly, and in so doing embrace the beautiful, she has a sensitivity and appreciation for inevitable human suffering. She acknowledges that people struggle constantly with their fallen nature, uncertain of their potential to be good. She acknowledges that life lets people down. And as she constantly urges her little monsters to love themselves, she adds (in “Born This Way”):

give yourself prudence,
and love your friends.

From her attention to human suffering, I’m reminded of the Christian theme of uniting your sufferings with Christ’s suffering. Gaga is demanding that the marginalized be seen as the valuable, beautiful, Christ-like people they are.

Lady Gaga is eccentric for sure. She can be grotesque. She can be vulgar. But she is a role model of Christian virtue precisely because it seems unlikely that she would be. She has the potential to introduce God to so many people precisely because it doesn’t seem like she is doing so. Lady Gaga is telling a huge, devoted audience that God loves them.

 
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The Author : Helen Lee
Helen is a former Busted Halo intern and recent graduate of Fordham University, where she studied Theology and Communications.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Chad Clinard

    Lady Gaga is a satan worshipper who scoffs at Jesus Christ. She is a sicko.

  • andy

    Yo Greg, sarcasm is a sin too, huh?

  • Greg

    Yes, Lady Gaga (like Katy Perry, like Lil’ Wayne, etc.) is a perfect role model who loves God and is leading youth in the right direction with her liberating music… Are you serious???

    Are there some traces of goodness, truth, and beauty in her work? Sure. But it seems a little inconsistent to pick a few lyrics from one of her songs and sing her praises while so much of her “act” is downright vulgar (have you watched any of Gaga’s videos?).

  • Amber

    Ummmm…I’m pretty shocked and disappointed by this article. I guess we should just overlook that the woman is eating a Rosary in one of her music videos?! Satan is not an idiot, he is conniving and clever…do not be deceived. He cannot create. He can only take what God has created and distort it. Pray against deception from the enemy and I believe that instead of labelling Lady Gaga as “a role model of Christian virtue”…we should be Christians ourselves and offer our prayers for her and others that may have lost their way. Of course God is in her…she is a beloved daughter of God. I pray that she could recognize her own worth and dignity. It is only in the Truth and goodness of the Lord that we find our peace and fulfillment.

    If you want a real role model of Christian virtue, look to Blessed Mother Teresa or the mother of five in the South Bronx trying to make ends meet but who always has extra room at the dinner table for the poor off the streets of NYC, because there are people like that around us…maybe they don’t have outrageous clothes and flashy makeup but the light of God so clearly shines through them, if only we could have the eyes to see.

  • Tom

    What about someone born with a cleft palate?
    Should we just accept it, or try to do something about it?

    “Born this way” is a lame excuse to stubbornly refuse to change.

    Being forgiven doesn’t give us license to do whatever we please.

    There is a difference between love and lust. Jesus taught that it was as much of a sin to look at someone lustfully as commit adultery–a capital offense in the first century.

    Contrast Lady Gaga with the work of artists like Amy Grant, Sara Groves or J.J. Heller.

    Christian soft porn? None for me, thanks.

  • Elliot .S

    With so many different cultures and idea’s in the world who out there is truly a good role model for Christians. I don’t see her doing this, but she is encouraging people to try and accept who they are.
    I am tired of the same endless progression of those who cling to over teaching the word of the Apostles and not about what Jesus said. Faith is an inward journey that we all need to take, but it cannot be found with fear, judgment or bigotry. John 13:34-35 is a great example. We must learn to love each other and ourselves. Love has no room for judgment or bigotry. Love is overcoming fear and accepting. I am not really a fan of Lady Gaga, but I applaud her message in this song and the good it will do for those who find hope with it’s words. In this world today with so much bad, we all need hope.

  • rowland

    The message to me is God without religion. God may very well be working through her to reach out to the gay community cause right now, the christian church is about 100% failing to do so. Christians are generally too judgemental towards gays not realizing that that little white lie they told the other day is ever bit a evil sin as homosexuality is. God is very capable of separating Himself from the religion in order to reach people.

  • Lea S.

    I definitely like the idea of finding a Christian subtext in Born This Way. However, I find it extremely difficult to seriously try and think of Lady Gaga as a role model for Christian virtue–even an unintentional one–when she routinely relies on shocking sexual imagery in everything from her music videos to her “every day” outfits. I would recommend that you watch her newly-released video for Born This Way and see if it changes your opinion–and take a look at the video for Alejandro too.

  • JarJar

    David Shepherd wrote: “Paul may have made passing reference to the writings of Aratus or Cleanthus in addressing Gentiles (Acts 17), but he didn‚Äôt exactly cite them as unwitting Christian role models, did he?
    He does refer to God‚Äôs forbearance towards our attraction to the popular icons, or idols. Then he loses most of his audience by mentioning resurrection and repentance. Rating for Paul‚Äôs speech to the Areopagus: content: 10/10; spin: 3/10.”

    Where in the NT does Paul denounce the pagan poets that he quotes from? He doesn’t. And where in the NT does Paul denounce any of their poems? Or any _part_ of their poems? He doesn’t.

    Nor does Paul cite these pagan poets as Christian role models.

    But what Paul _does_ do (rather skillfully I might add) is focus on
    specific passages from their poems as a point of contact with the men of
    Athens. This was part of his strategy: “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Paul used aspects of people’s own
    beliefs and culture to show them the truth.

    From: relevantmagazine.com

    Paul in Athens
    by Joseph Sanok

    [snip]

    If we are truly to become like Paul, we must engage in studying every
    aspect of our culture. We truly limit the power of God when we only trust
    Him to touch us when we are in the sanctuary. Moving past this mindset is
    a higher calling, one that spends time “carefully looking at” the culture
    around it. We have to systematically experience the culture to be informed
    of where God already is. Then, as Paul did, we can help others discover
    how God is at work in their culture, workplace, school or personal life,
    even if they have rejected this notion.

    When we see God’s boundaries expanded, our faith expands as well. We see
    God in places that we never thought he would be. Paul expected to find God
    in the pagan poets and in the Statue to the Unknown God. In our time there
    are millions of cultural truths that have yet to be connected with the
    depths of God. We must allow Paul’s approach to infiltrate our life,
    rather than fear an unknown culture.

    So explore the temples of today without fear, leaning on the power of the
    same God that walked with Paul through Athens.

  • g peterson

    Matt

    I ask you and everyone.. when did you make the choice of being straight? do you remember that day? do you remember looking over both choices and then determining that you pick what was behind curtain A vs curtain B?

    as time progresses.. the church will catch up to society.. it is just a matter of time..

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