- (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
The author who profiled Justin Bieber for the 2011 book, Belieber!: Faith, Fame, and the Heart of Justin Bieber, has written a heartfelt letter to the Canadian pop star just days after he was shown in photos purportedly smoking marijuana.
"Like so many of your admirers, I have celebrated your successes, danced to your music, sung along with you in the car, prayed with you when you've publicly asked us to join you in lifting up the victims of cataclysm and despair, and prayed for you – for your protection and health, direction and inspiration," writes Cathleen Falsani, the award-winning religion journalist who penned the Bieber biography for Worthy Publishing.
In her open letter published on Wednesday for CNN, Falsani acknowledges Bieber's humility and maturity, as well as his influence on "countless children and young people around the globe."
"What you do and say echoes around the world. Your very young fans watch and listen to you carefully," she adds, noting that his messages are sometimes "inconsistent and confusing."
Despite his apparent failings, Falsani reminds Bieber that "everybody makes mistakes."
"None of us is defined by our worst moments. That's what grace – and I know you understand what grace is – is all about," she adds, referencing Bieber's Christian faith.
The 18-year-old Ontario native was raised in a conservative evangelical environment and reportedly got saved and baptized quite young.
Bieber has expressed on numerous occasions his faith in Jesus Christ – which has led some to label him as a "Christian pop star."
"I am spiritual. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I believe that he put me in this position, and that I have to always give him the glory he deserves for putting me here," Bieber said in a 2012 interview. "But I don't consider myself religious."
The teen singing sensation wound up in the spotlight last week when TMZ.com published photos of Bieber at a social gathering holding what looks like a marijuana cigarette and apparently blowing smoke. Criticism ensued, with some doubting the TMZ report while others wondered if such behavior was normal for the Canadian crooner.
While avoiding specific statements on the controversy, Bieber seemed to have acknowledged the TMZ report, eventually tweeting to his more than 32,000,000 Twitter followers, "I see all of (you). I hear all of (you). I never want to let any of you down. I love (you). And..thank (you)."
Falsani closes out her letter by encouraging Bieber to remember who he is at heart – "a precious child of the Creator. Not because you are a pop idol. Not because you are a commodity. Not because you are a superstar.
"You are loved because you are. Full stop. Nothing you could ever do would make God love you less. Nothing you could ever do would make God love you more."
Falsani's words caught the attention of evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren, who shared a linked to the journalist and author's letter with online followers.
"Thoughtful Cathleen, Pray for him," Warren wrote.
Despite the negative attention the pot-smoking photos have caused, things appear to have calmed down for Bieber, who recently shared with fans his invitation to appear on the Feb. 9 episode of "Saturday Night Live" – which observers have speculated will inevitably feature skits poking fun at the teen's recent controversy.