The Miley Cyrus Affect
I’ve made many, many poor choices in my life and some of those choices had truly awful consequences. Several of them were the result of bad advice from people that were older and supposedly wiser. Several were my fault and mine alone. The only reason people aren’t discussing my mistakes on FB is that I didn’t make a poor choice in front of a few million people.
Miley Cyrus (the “artist” formerly known as Hannah Montana) has spent the majority of her life as a manufactured pop product for mass consumption. Most of her life has been lived in the spotlight doing whatever her handler, manager, accountant, and PR people thought best. Even more bizarre…where was her father? What was his thought process? Miley is simply being who she has been trained to be and doing what she thinks will benefit her career and build her brand. If millions weren’t buying she wouldn’t be selling. Tragically it says far more about us than it does Miley…
In other words this was an “EGR” moment – “extra grace required.” May Miley be encountered as St. Paul was encountered on the road to Damascus – by the Resurrected Christ. May she find the One Who’s Memory is Eternal. May her value be established at the Cross.
10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:10-14
The reason there’s always outrage when an athlete, actor, musician, etc. behave in a way that people perceive to be contrary to an arbitrary value system is because we are all forced to look into a mirror to see the logical outcome of a system we support and encourage. More horrific; we see our own vices and mistakes staring back at us. In reality Miley did nothing wrong in the context of the event and culture she participates in. The issue isn’t Miley. The issue is the expectations that Miley is required to be something she never really was and may never be. We’re offended because like the Pharisee we’re weighing ourselves in a balance with those around us – the “tax collectors” – and are expecting the scale to tip in our favor only to be blind to the fact that it’s not.
Be gracious with those who values are not your own, its unfair to expect them to meet your arbitrary standards, and be more concerned about whether or not your living in the light of your chosen standards. We all need to spend more time focusing on where we need to fall in line with the values we believe and less time demanding others adhere to something they never claimed to believe in the first place. I’m thankful that my choices haven’t been broadcast to several million homes (Live! In HD! Commercial Free!).
“Let’s get real. For every mean-spirited, judgmental thing some preacher has said, I’ve thought something nastier, more hateful and more cutting about one of my neighbors. For every alleged act of homophobia by my fellow Christians, I’ve done something stupid to demonstrate my manliness. For every brother or sister whose moral failure has been exposed, I’ve failed privately. No matter how boring followers of Jesus may appear to be to the outsiders, they don’t know the half of it; trust me…. If we really believe the gospel we proclaim, we’ll be honest about or own beauty and brokenness, and the beautiful broken One will make himself know to our neighbors through the chinks in our armor–and in theirs.” —Brennan Manning (pages 178-179 of “All Is Grace”)