When Miley Cyrus and I Were at Church

Aug 27, 13 • Culture, Featured1, Music6 Comments

[Author’s caveat: I am one to be star-struck. Call me shallow but I am. Though I know that famous people are still just people, the uniqueness of meeting or being near someone well-known is still exciting.  So yes, I’m name dropping someone that I never even met and using my own platform to tell you about it. Thanks for indulging.]

One Sunday, my wife and I walked in to church and there was Mr. Achy-Breaky Heart himself. His teenaged TV-star daughter Miley was smiling and giving a kid a hug. They sat in the back and people pretty much left them alone.

Soon after, Easter weekend was upon us. At church, I looked out the window and saw a guy with a camera sprinting across the lawn and up the steps. He didn’t look like he moved that fast that often, but then I saw the camera and I saw the other horde of paparazzi all shooting pictures and yelling at Miley. She smiled and chatted as she walked until she reached the doors of the church, then ushers escorted her inside. The photogs were welcomed in but without cameras. None accepted.

That was five years ago.

This week, Miley is getting trashed in the media (both mainstream and social) for her trashy performance on MTV’s Video Music Awards Sunday night. If you haven’t seen it, you don’t need to. I liked this description of the performance best:

If it were anywhere but the VMAs, we would not be that interested in a mediocre pop star in a beige bathing suit rattling her butt at Alan Thicke’s son in an inept attempt at eroticism. We certainly wouldn’t call it “X-rated.” If you want to see something actually sexy, try porn. Or HBO. Or just wander into any dance club in any major city and see people who can dance better than Cyrus and actually make it hot.

Another report tries to say that she was making a commentary about sex, and “Blurred Lines” and being all meta and everything. I don’t really care. One of the harder things to do in life is to make a meaningful contribution to society. Miley tried to make hers on a televised stage beamed to millions of viewers.

She probably failed.

You can call me biased because Miley and I were ten feet apart once in a house of God, but I don’t think we should be all up in arms over this. We should all welcome Miley to our churches whether she comes defiantly with her entourage or meek and humble. Anything else–calls for censorship  hand-wringing over morality, personal attacks on one’s morality–should be avoided by Christians. There is no place for finger-pointing by people who hide their sins in privacy at those that broadcast their mistakes to the world.

Again, that Easter was five years ago. I don’t think the Cyrus’ attend our church anymore. I hope they attend somewhere, and I hope that any church would welcome any Cyrus member–especially the member that is most-famous–even if she comes as she is.

As we are–that’s the only way any of us ever to go to church, too. Let’s make sure our hand-wringing and culture bemoaning is empathetic and caring rather than judgmental and exclusive.

David Moore (48 Posts)

David is the coordinator for the Lowell W. Berry Center for Lifelong Learning at Fuller Theological Seminary and editor of The Burner Blog.

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6 Responses to When Miley Cyrus and I Were at Church

  1. Josh says:

    Nice one, Dave.

  2. Karren McClenahan says:

    Back 5 years ago when they came to church semi regularly, I taught the 5/6 grade Sunday School class. They were star-struck to say the least! So to take some of the glitter off of her we started “the Miley Cyrus Prayer Team”. Every week we prayed for her, her family, and asked God to protect her and guide her. It changed how the kids saw her. She was just like them, coming to church to learn how God wants us to live. I am consciously trying not to judge, and I’m still praying for her. Join me :)

  3. […] was five years ago.   Read more here…. This entry was posted in The Burner Blog and tagged music, The Burner Blog. Bookmark the […]

  4. Leanne Clark says:

    It’s not our place to judge; it’s divisive and repels seekers.

  5. gator says:

    let he or she who is without sin cast the first stone!

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David Moore, editor