Lady Gaga: Born This Way

(Originally posted on 5/24/11)

Lady Gaga was on “The View” yesterday for an interview.  She was speaking about her new album entitled “Born This Way.”  Her responses to questions and her own thoughts about it were very interesting.  She said the album was inspired by the message of her fans.  In her words, her goal was to make herself and the album “a vehicle for their message.”  The back cover captures this with a picture of lady Gaga’s body melded with a motorcycle–she wants to let the message of her fans “ride” on her popularity and influence.  What is this message?  “Celebration, self-love and self-worship,” she says.

When asked to describe what she was about in one sentence she said: “Be yourself, be proud, love yourself, because you were born this way.”

Lady Gaga is Catholic.  She prays to her deceased aunt before every show.  Her Father’s sister died at a young age.  She wears a gold version of her birth certificate around her neck so that she may vicariously live through Gaga.  On The View she also had a large cross dangling from her black weave.

Forbes Magazine’s “Celebrity Power List” ranked Lady Gaga as the world’s most powerful celebrity for 2011.  Oprah fell to #2.  You can read about it at  The View showed clips of her crying before a show speaking to one of her make-up people saying that she still felt like a loser.  Gaga was bullied in middle school and high school and says that much of that pain still lingers with her.  “It is so hard,” she says, some days to get up and “be this superstar.”  She has to “pick herself up” and be who her “fans need her to be.”  Gaga admits she has been scarred by life; she is open about her insecurities and her weaknesses.  She recognizes that many of her fans are fragile… just like her.  This motivates her and drives her message of kindness and self-appreciation.

I have respect for Lady Gaga.  I appreciate her willingness to be open with some of her struggles.  She recognizes human frailty and doesn’t seek to cover it up.  She doesn’t seem to be obsessed like so many with hiding her faults.

Honestly, on this point, she has something to teach most of us Christians.  So many of us think being Christian is about being right or about being strong.

Maybe this is why Gaga feels comfortable enough to go on national TV with a large crucifix dangling from her weave while lauding the idea of self-worship and see no contradiction.  But all of this seems to imply that the cross is an emblem of self; or an accessory that makes self look good…  Where did she get such an idea?

I would dare to say that she got the idea from Christians.  Somehow our portrayal of the cross to our culture has given the impression that the cross exalts men; that the cross does not show contempt for our evil but that it beautifies it.  The cross has become a testimony to the worth of man and not the greatness of God.  We have failed to live in weakness, self-denial, and repentance.  We have not agonized over our sins, our failures and labored to put self away as we should.

Many Christians in Americahave defined love as being made much of.  We feel loved when others applaud us, recognize us, and do things that make us feel important and great.  This poor definition we have even twisted to somehow describe God’s love so that many of us now believe that God must make much of us in order to love us;[1] we believe that God must celebrate who we are and how we were born in order to truly love us.  And this is what the cross has come to symbolize!  For most American’s, the cross is a symbol of the greatness and value and worth of humanity.

However, the man who died upon the cross that so many of us wear around our necks did not see it that way.  For him, the cross did not speak to the greatness of man’s worth, but to the greatness of man’s sin and rebellion against his creator.  It was a monument to human bondage, helplessness, and depravity.  Man’s evil was so gross and dominating that his only hope was to be re-born; to be “born again.”  Jesus did not come to celebrate how man was born (as so many in our culture suppose) but to tell him that if he was not born again he would never even see theKingdomofGod.  The cross was God’s way of making this possible.

The cross is not an emblem that should move us to celebrate how we were born, it is an emblem of the brutal death we all deserve to die.  The cross defines God’s love as his working to change us so that we might enjoy celebrating and making much of Him forever and ever. [2]  When we look upon the cross we should see God’s infinite love and mercy extended to sinners, saving them from themselves, freeing them from the inability to value God as He is.  When Isaac Watts penned the hymn “When I survey the wondrous cross” in 1707, he did not think it to be a monument to human worth but a glorious testimony to the great love of God in freeing sinners from their sin and shame:

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,

Spreads o’er His body on the tree;

Then I am dead to all the globe,

And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

[1]Piper, John: Sermons from John Piper (2000-2007).Minneapolis : Desiring God, 2007

[2]Piper, John: Sermons from John Piper (2000-2007).Minneapolis : Desiring God, 2007

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