Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry

Today Fox News featured commentary on a new pop hit titled “I Kissed a Girl”. The song talks about a girl seeing another girl and giving in to an urge to go over and kiss her, though she doesn’t even know her name. What’s more, the song goes on to say how much she liked the kiss and the taste of the other girl’s Chap Stick. The Fox commentators were alarmed at the message it would send to young girls.

I’m a parent and I serve a lot of parents as a pastor. For some time I’ve been concerned about the increasing confusion for teens and tweens concerning gender identity and sexual experimentation. Over the past couple of years there have been growing numbers of girls experimenting sexually with other girls. I share the concern of the Fox commentators.

But then the story went on to give some background to the vocalist and my attention was captivated because the artist is 23 year old Katy Perry, whose mother and father both serve as pastors in a local church. What’s more, Katy was forbidden to hear rock or pop music growing up in a strict Christian family. However, one night in a sleepover with some friends she heard Queen for the first time and testifies that it was like heaven opening up and saving her.

Growing up she was Katy Hudson who used her musical talent for ministry, recording a Christian CD in 2001. (You can read Christianity Today’s magazine review of that album here.) Pursuing a musical career with a new name she is touted by “Blender” magazine as the next big thing. Madonna recently said that she loves Katy Perry. Currently “I Kissed a Girl” is #2 on iTunes.

The music video to the song is quickly receiving thousands of hits on YouTube. Sensually writhing on a bed and surrounded by women in negligee Perry’s persona comes off as soft porn and it’s catchy beat has young girls all over the country mindlessly singing along. All of which raises the question, “What happened?”

Now if you found this post by Googling Katy and you are now ready to pounce on me for judging her, I’m not. As a father and as someone who has worked with youth for 30 years, I truly feel a love and compassion for Katy even though I haven’t met her. I feel a kinship with her parents. I don’t agree with or condone the choices she has made but I don’t judge and condemn her.

When I wonder what happened, I’m reflecting on what I know and what I’ve experienced as a long time follower of Christ. As a Christian (not a religious person--they are two vastly different experiences) my life is shaped and made more like Christ because I know Him and follow Him. Again, I’m not talking about being an uptight rules keeper who freaks out at rule breakers.

Sexuality is a gift that God gives us with which we communicate love and experience intimacy in trusted and committed relationships (like monogamous marriage). Therefore it is totally inconsistent with Christ to promote a message or encourage a sexual experience that is random, lustfully motivated, nameless and unfaithful to another with whom you are in a committed relationship. All of these characteristics are celebrated in “I Kissed a Girl”. Yet, Katy still contends that she is a follower of Christ (see the YouTube clip below). So, for me it raises the question, “What happened?”

For now I just feel burdened and impressed to pray for Katy and for her parents. Fame and success are poor substitutes for meaningful connection with God and loved ones. With all my heart I don’t want to see this beautiful and talented young lady go down a road that she will forever regret.

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