by Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser
Editor’s note: Shhh, no one tell Faithful Word’s Steven Anderson that France is only 2% Evangelical or he’ll be there soon on a ‘Soul Winning’ mission. I thought this piece bears some discussion because it’s a perfect example of when Quiverfull, Fundamentalist or Evangelical culture bleeds down into pop culture and those in the religious world take it as proof of some sort of Godly influence in culture. Not going to detail all the various flub ups, ups and downs of Justin Bieber and the many times that Hillsong United has exploited the poor kid for publicity. I hope Biebs saves some of his wages for the therapy he’s likely to need once he’s done with Evangelicalism.
Justin Bieber, raised in a Fundamentalist Christian home, continues to struggle with the vestiges of a life left long ago. Evangelicals, hanging on every superficial mention of Jesus as proof that their God is real, see in Bieber’s performance below proof that he is still one of them. Never mind that the song I Could Sing of Your Love Forever never mentions God or Jesus or that the next song, Cold Water, reverences getting high, all that matters is that The Bieb sang a praise and worship song.
This video is a perfect example of how watered-down praise and worship music has become. I complained of this years ago, saying that many of the songs could easily be turned into boyfriend/girlfriend love songs. Out of the thousands of adoring French fans who heard Bieber sing this medley, how many of them knew the first song was a religious tune? Not many. Less than one percent of Frenchmen are Evangelical. Protestants make up two percent of the population. The overwhelming majority of Frenchmen are Roman Catholic, and only five percent of them regularly attend mass. Sixty-three percent of French youth say they belong to “no religion.” I think it is safe to say, based on the aforementioned statistics, that most of the concert goers thought Bieber was singing an easy-to-learn love song.
I feel sorry for Bieber and other raised-Evangelical pop stars. Superstars such as Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and Bieber have all acted out in ways that brought the disapproval of their parents and the outrage of offended Evangelicals who thought these artists were on Team Jesus®. Their actions, often displayed for the world to see, are their way of rebelling against their Fundamentalist upbringings. In Cyrus’ case, she has repudiated her former beliefs, lashing out at Fundamentalists who continue to attempt to control her sexuality and censor her lyrics. Bieber, on the other hand, is still trying to hang on to Jesus. Several times a year the Hollywood gossip blogs and magazines will regale us with all the juicy details of Bieber’s latest youthful indiscretion. The latest? Nude (frontal) photographs of Bieber and his girlfriend. There, hung in all its glory, is Justin Bieber’s junk. I have no doubt that Bieber sought forgiveness from God for his latest “sin” and later sought out counseling from whichever Evangelical pastor is currently his spiritual guide.
If I could give Bieber counsel I would tell him to let go of his Fundamentalist parents and his Evangelical upbringing and enjoy life. Stop feeling guilty over whatever behavior your parents or other Evangelicals are telling you is “sinful.” It’s your life, and you are free to live it as you wish. Just remember the paparazzi are always near, ready to splay your life before their readers. Be discreet, but sin away!
Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Bruce Gerencser blogs at The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser He writes from the unique perspective of having been a pastor for many years and having seen it all in churches. His journey out of being a true believer and pastor has been an interesting and informative one.
Bruce Gerencser spent 25 years pastoring Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Christian Union churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Bruce attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. He is a writer and operates The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser blog. Bruce lives in NW Ohio with his wife of 35 years. They have six children, and eleven grandchildren.
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