With Lady Gaga being Forbes’ most powerful celebrity in the world right now, it’s safe to say that she has a range of support, more so from her adoring and committed fans.
The 25-year-old, who has over 10 million Twitter followers, is known for attracting those who proclaim to be outcasts as she was once one herself, and in some celebratory way, she still is.
She’s birthed some heavy-hitting songs from “Born This Way,” to “Bad Romance,” and her controversial song “Judas.” Let’s not forget her memorable entrance at the Grammy Award show when she showed up incubating in a giant egg.
Regardless, Gaga has stolen the hearts of many people who may have felt slighted in some way in their life. Some would go as far as to say it’s worship. Even if that is not the case, why do her lyrics of self-love and self-empowerment and even that of other popular artists seem to be more influential than Jesus’ message? Is the church doing its part to be just as influential and more?
One thing is clear, Lady Gaga isn't unique as an artist in terms of reaching a large devoted audience. “I don’t see a huge difference between Lady Gaga and others through the years like Madonna, the Beatles … Music is powerful in culture and artists are able to rally fans because they are putting their thoughts and speaking for them, and their music really connects,” said Pastor Tim Stevens, executive pastor of Granger Campus at Granger Community Church in Indiana.
He said what Gaga displays as an artist isn't much different from other secular artists but she's what's relevant to this generation right now. However, he noted that Gaga’s and other artists’ lyrics speak to a huge void in people’s hearts and that void is for God and Jesus. “Some people see that and some don’t,” said Stevens, who also is the author of Pop Goes The Church, where he talks about using pop culture as a tool to give relevance to the church.
“When you look at the lyrics, longings and desires, some are valid feelings and issues to discuss,” he commented.
It’s obvious that she is “attracted to those who feel like outcasts, and I think we classically throw out the baby with the bath water so we totally discard homosexuality so we treat people poorly, we judge, we don’t make a place comfortable to explore their questions in the church – the church is partially to blame,” the Granger pastor stated.
The Rev. Tony Lee, senior pastor at Community of Hope AME in Hillcrest Heights, Md., also believes the church isn’t stepping up to meet a generation that is frankly speaking a different language.
“There is a generational communication disconnect in the church because the church is communicating with eight-track tapes, when the world is moving in the MP3 age and artists are speaking the language. And the challenge in the language is they understand the experiences and that resonates with them, and they are looking at someone who knows what they are going through and understand how they’re feeling,” Lee explained.
The language spoken by popular culture, Lee noted, is the kind most of the churches won’t understand. It is not so much that Christ’s message isn’t resonating with youths today, but rather it’s the churches that are doing a poor job of communicating it effectively.
“Much of the tensions in the generations are not about the message of Christ, it’s about how the church should be able to communicate in a language that is accessible to the future generation.” Lee said.
And that’s one thing that Lady Gaga is doing. She is communicating with most of Generation Y, which in retrospect is what the church wants to do.