Her songs may not get the airplay they once did, but this does not mean that Lady Gaga has shrunk from the global consciousness. During this brief respite from her music, we must content ourselves with watching her operatic lifestyle played out before us. It’s fascinating viewing! With her extravagant outfits and bold pronouncements she is today’s most provocative herald of postmodernism.
Piecing her lyrics and press releases together, it becomes clear that Lady Gaga has come with good news for all of adolescence. In her song, Born This Way, she proclaims ”I’m beautiful in my way ‘cause God makes no mistakes”. In her doctrine, every internal appetite or proclivity is validated by its very existence. If you feel something within, it is a legitimate inclination and expressing it is virtuous. “Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re set.”
This fierce individualism is only threatened by intolerance. Those who are prejudice against personal expression do violence against the person and are a threat to their neighbor. Authorities and communities that repress or seek to shape behaviors are the true enemies of humanity. Given the opportunity, Lady Gaga is quick to encourage the youth of the world to discard any restriction that impedes their true longings, even if they are maligned for it. In fact, rebuke is worn proudly as a badge of courage. Calling her fans ‘little monsters’, Gaga assumes the role of their mother and is leading them towards liberty.
Lady Gaga is not the first to speak these sentiments, nor is she the only one speaking them, but she is unquestionably the most flamboyant. And she does it well, even if it’s an easy message to deliver. Simply mentioning ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ gives a person instant credibility these days. But the argument is fatally flawed—and I do mean fatally.
I read a fascinating article today that reported a study on those who perpetrate mass killings. There seems to be a common trait in almost every mass murderer—they are uninhibited by relationships. Isolated from others, they are free to feed their homicidal fantasies. In contrast, people who are connected to close communities are generally constrained by societal norms, and don’t act out on their basest impulses. Their cruelty is curbed by those who are near them. Where Lady Gaga goes wrong, is that she thinks her ‘little monsters’ are benign. This isn’t so. Not every internal compulsion is harmless, more often than not, what lies within is deadly!
Paul, writing to the Ephesians, reminds them that what lurks below is trouble! “We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Eph, 2:3) While we are not without good, there is no part of us that is without stain—we are totally depraved. And the freedom to revel in this depravity is not good news! Monsters unleashed do grotesque things to others.
What is good is the work that God has accomplished in the hearts of those who believe. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph, 2:4-6) The Gospel tells us that liberty is not in giving free reign to our impulses but in surrendering to Christ.
When we deny ourselves and cling to Jesus, we become new creations. Working from the inside out Jesus turns monsters into saints.