On Super Bowl Sunday, Lady Gaga attended the 8am worship at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston and heard the Rev. Sarah Condon preach. Then, she did the Super Bowl halftime show, flew from the rafters, danced her heart off and went through her hits with passion and confidence.
The past few months she has also been available to stand up for her faith in Jesus, and for every person Jesus related to.
Be aware, the premise of this conversation is that Lady Gaga is a Christian.
And I know how that sounds, and the questions it might raise. Questions like, “How could she be? Have you seen her outfits? Have you read her lyrics?”
Yes I have.
And of course you can question her faith.
But I recommend you not, and I have two reasons for it.
First, Jesus said to focus on the log in our eye and not the splinter in Gaga’s. Second, because of her incredible response when someone else did.
Let me explain.
A few months ago Lady Gaga went to mass and felt particular moved by this quote from Father Duffell, “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.”
As most millennials do, she saw the opportunity to highlight the quote, and the man who said it, on her Instagram account.
As Relevant Magazine shared: A day after the initial post, Lady Gaga—whose real name is Stefani Germanotta—once again took to Instagram to respond to an article from “CatholicLink” called, “From Lady Gaga to Steph Curry: 5 Things to Remember When Celebrities Share Their Faith.”
The piece praised Curry for making “faith more than just a Tweet or FB status,” but said, “Many celebrities are sharing Bible verses, quoting priests, and singing Christian music while at the same time still leading a typical Hollywood lifestyle void of Christian values such as modesty and purity.”
“Dear, Becky Roach. Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Christ and was protected and loved by him. A prostitute. Someone society shames as if she and her body are a man’s trash can. He loved her and did not judge. He let her cry over him and dry his feet with the hair of a harlot. We are not just “celebrities” we are humans and sinners, children, and our lives are not void of values because we struggle. We are as equally forgiven as our neighbor. God is never a trend no matter who the believer.”
And it didn’t take long for the site to post its own response. They wrote:
“Dear @ladygaga, your screen shot was a one part of the article which was not aimed at judging you, rather it was an effort to help Catholics to have a balanced and positive view of when celebrities publicly share their faith. It was an invitation to value the hunger of God that exists in the world of the famous. It was a reminder to not forget that they, like us, are fragile and that we should not judge, rather pray for them. This said, what you wrote is absolutely beautiful. It is one of the most touching comments we have ever read. Know that we will be praying that experience of God’s mercy continue to grow and bear fruits for you, for the people that you love, and all of your followers.
I know her outfits and lyrics might validate our questions about her statements. But I can guarantee you all, that if my private life/thoughts/questions would be exposed, people would be as judgmental towards me as they are towards Lady Gaga.
And I have a feeling the same would be true for you.
The Radical Faith of Lady Gaga is based purely on the story and the grace of Jesus. And although she might not fit in our Christian world, I’m sure Christ makes room for her, in his.
As I wrote back in 2014 when Shia LeBeouf became a Christian, “Unfortunately we identify ‘conversion’ with behaviour management. We want new Christians to do less _____________ (drinking, cursing, fornication, etc.) and more _____________ (praying, tithing, posting Bible verses on Facebook, etc). But those behaviour changes are the product of a relationship. The fruit of a new reality.”
Back in 2010, Lady Gaga shared with Larry King that though she had some issues with the church itself, she considered herself religious: “I am very religious. I was raised Catholic. I believe in Jesus. I believe in God.
She then said, “I’m very spiritual, I pray. At the same time there isn’t one religion that doesn’t hate or speak against or is prejudiced against another racial group or religious group or sexual group. I guess you could say I’m a very religious woman who is confused about religion.”
Welcome to my world Stefani Germanotta!
I’m a born-again Spirit-filled Christian pastor, and I have been confused about religion myself. Especially Christianity itself.
Though, I’m beginning to realise that the Gospel is different to Christianity.
And that’s the message that will change the world.
The Gospel Jesus preached is God’s perfect statement of love and grace. Christianity is just our response to that message. The Gospel is the Good News of Salvation, to all people, everywhere. Christianity is the imperfect expression of the people who receive and acknowledge that news.
You see, Jesus was not a Christian. Neither did the Early Church called themselves Christians. There are multiple stories in the New Testament of people who received Salvation (and will meet us in heaven) who never once called themselves a “Christian.”
Never did the sinners prayer. Never heard Hillsong or Kari Jobe. Never watched The Passion. Yet they’re doing pretty great.
So it’s ok for me (and Lady Gaga) if an expression of Christianity does not suit our style, or age, or preference. That’s the beauty of family! We can honor and celebrate each other without having to agree on everything.
Jesus did not die to create a Sunday Morning gathering, he gave his life for everyone we encounter Monday through Saturday.
From the poorest of the poor, to the most famous celebrities alive.
Also, Jesus did not die to force Lady Gaga to sing only worship music or to make her wear lamb meat instead of steak. If she says she believes in Jesus, I’ll believe her.
And hope for the best.
So I will agree with the editors of CatholicLink when they wrote, “We must rejoice at the fact that she is having such a beautiful and powerful experience of God’s tender love and mercy.”
I need the same kind of experience with God’s tender love and mercy.
And I have a feeling the same would be true for you.
Let’s join Lady Gaga’s prayer in the middle of her Super bowl performance, “I bow down to pray. I try to make the world seem better. Lord, show me the way.”
Yes Lord, show us the way.
“I’m not sure there’s anything worse than causing those whom God loves, to question whether God loves them.”
Read more in Tullian Tchividjian’s, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World.
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