Saturday, March 28, 2015

Yeah, I met Katy Perry Once

A brand new Christian solo artist was hanging out in the lobby after the concert.  She had only sung one song to open for two other bands.  My friends and I were waiting for Tree 63 to sign our CDs when I noticed her standing by herself a couple of yards away, looking very awkward and ready to get the heck out of there.  I remembered that this was the same solo artist that had been at the Calvary youth camp with our church last winter.  There were hundreds of kids there at that youth camp so I had never bumped into her but my close friends had gone snowboarding with her during one of the free afternoons.  I walked over to her and said “hi” and “great job” and “have a nice whatever” and moved on with my life.  It was only right after this last Super Bowl, when my friend posted a picture of herself with this solo artist, that I realized that this Christian solo artist was the future Katy Perry.


I have not seen her movie she made about her rise to stardom which includes her choice to leave her Christian faith.  I have read several comments on how she blames it on being raised in legalism though I'm sure that is certainly not the complete reason.  I don’t know her full story.  I know it breaks my heart.  I know God is waiting with open arms and complete forgiveness when she does come home to Him.  I know her parents must grieve for her.  I know my heart would grieve if one of my own children walked away from Jesus.

I think the rest of this post is going to make it sound like every Christian kid that walks away from their faith does it because their parents strangled them with legalism.  That is not what I’m meaning.  Christian kids leave their faith for billions of different reasons.  I, for one, do not want my kids to walk away because of legalism.  It would tare me to pieces.  My following thoughts are just from a perspective that sees the trend, the natural inclination, the desperate things we do to keep our kids from drugs, sex, and alcohol.  I see the desperate thought that if we add this rule and that rule onto the Gospel of grace, maybe our kids will be too scared to death to walk away from Jesus.  If I tell my kids that fire and brimstone await those who wear short shorts and listen to Katy Perry then maybe they will be more inclined to listen to me.  You guys...parents really shouldn’t lie to their kids.

We get fire confused with water.  You put your hand in fire and really bad things happen.  There are many sins that God has outlined in the Bible that you just must not do.  You do those and you are playing with fire.  They will cause pain, destruction and maybe even death.  God can always heal and bring you back from them.  There is always forgiveness but fire leaves scars that you may have for the rest of your life.  Then there’s water which is much like our Christian liberties or preferences.  You put your hand in water and you'll be just fine.  Even more so if you add soap.  Our wear this, listen to that, watch this, hang out with them, and be a part of that.  It’s water.  Some of us find that water too murky and some say it's clear and fresh.  That water over there is rushing too fast but for others it’s just fine.  This water is too hot.  This water is too cold.  This water is just right but somebody drank it all up.  This water is full of tadpoles.  Some people like tadpoles.  It’s water.  God didn’t call it fire in the Bible and neither should you.  God tells you exactly what sexual immorality is.  It’s fire.  God did not tell you exactly what bands not to listen to.  It’s water.  You seek the Lord and dip your big toe in to test it out.  Go find another lake if that lake doesn’t float your boat.  It breaks my heart when parents lie and say that God calls that thing fire when it is just water.  Don’t use legalistic lies to keep your kids on the straight and narrow.  Don’t add to the Gospel.  I keep reading Galatians 5 over and over again these last couple of weeks.  We have no yoke of bondage, Christians!  We are free indeed!  Do not enslave your children in legalism thinking it will help save them from walking away in the future.  

I tell my daughter (This really hasn’t come up with my boys yet. They think Legos, Avengers, and sitting on each other is what shapes all life choices.) at the end of almost every reason-why-I-don’t-think-this-is-good-for-you conversation: This is my choice for you.  If you have a friend that gets to do this you should not look down on her in any way.  It’s just a preference.  It’s not written into the Gospel.  If you think you are holier than her because you don’t do that it is called being self-righteous and it is wrong.  It is legalism.  It’s what the Pharisees did and you remember how displeased Jesus was with them?  Go about your merry way and don’t think you’re better than anyone nor anybody. 

I pray so hard that this settles deeply into her soul.  

When she says something like, “I’m glad you don’t work.  It’s so sad when kids can’t be with their moms.”  I do not say, “Yeah, why would moms even do that?!”  I do say, “You know honey, I am glad God has provided a way for me to stay home with you guys but you need to be careful how you think about that.  Moms that work love their kids just as much as I love you.  I am not a holier person because I stay home.  It’s just what God has called me to do.  I’m not holier than them.”

When I say, ”I know that’s a popular style but I really think your legs are too long for it to look very modest on a ten-year-old girl,” I also almost always finish with, “You might see that style a lot on your friends.  Do not tell your friends that your mom doesn’t let you wear that.  I kind of think it sounds self-righteous.  Just say something friendly.”  (Hey now.  Maybe you think that all tweens and teens will only complain about their family’s rules but I know plenty that will go the other direction and be self-righteous about them.)

The self-righteous declarations that come out of your mouth have a huge impact on how holy your children think they are compared to others.  Keep your words peaceful and quiet and out of other people’s business.  You judge other folks' water preferences out loud in your home and boy oh boy will your kids do the same.

I see all those lovely fruits of the spirit listed at the end of Galatians 5 and not one of them says “never listened to songs that didn’t mention God” or “never once wore a skirt above my knees.”  

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control"…that’s what I see listed and that's what I want to see in my kids. 

Guys, I agree with Paul and Galatians 5.  

Let fire be fire and water be water.  The Bible tells me so.  I’m praying for you, sweet Katy Perry.


  1. Very lovingly and gently written. We were just having a similar conversation tonight with some of our children. I sometimes remind them that part of the reason we do or don't do this or that is because we have covenanted with the Lord that we would or wouldn't. It isn't necessarily bad that another person might be doing (or not doing) it because they haven't made that covenant. It helps me organize in my mind why sometimes I am asked to obey without fully understanding every in and out or up and down of the commandment. I just know that I've promised to obey and I know He loves me and will lead me, if I will follow Him. But I'm falling away from your point. YES! We must be kind, understanding, and loving all while standing firm and bold in our convictions. How to do it without being a self-righteous . . . um . . . person takes fine balance.

    1. It does indeed! God has had to do a lot of lifetime work on my heart. I was a VERY self-righteous teenager. Praise God for grace!