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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Miley Cyrus appeared and performed on the 2013 MTV VMA. That fact is well known by now. A lot has been said and written about Cyrus; yet, here’s my two cents worth. First, Cyrus’ antics remind me of Madonna, Lindsey Lohan, Brittney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles, Rihanna and the countless others before them. In other words, behavior such as this by females is not new and nor will it discontinue or will it? (Keep reading). Second, by and large Americans are prudish and voyeuristic. That is, while we may be disgusted at such things that are aired on TV, we actually like seeing it. I am confident that some have watched Cyrus’ performance over and over again; technology affords us the privilege to do so – and oftentimes in private. In other words, we like “looking in” on the misery or misfortunates of others (see the appeal of voyeurism in the film, The Truman Show). We are just glad it’s not one of our family members! Third, this is yet another sad instance of the objectification of women or misogyny in our society.

Consider these few examples of women being objectified:
a) rap arts objectify women in their videos – typically men are fully clothed and women are dancing and gyrating while barely clothed;
b) the automobile industry objectifies women – go to a car show or two;
c) the sporting industry objectifies women;
d) the food industry objectifies women. For example, Carl Jr. “uses” super model Kate Upton to sell burgers. See http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=+racy+burger+ad+with+upton&qpvt=+racy+burger+ad+with+upton&FORM=VDRE#a
and e) some women, like Miley, do the honors and objectify themselves.

Fourth, there is an unrelenting and capricious Hollywood/Entertainment “machine” that forces people like Miley into its image. These ladies and those who will come after them will be forced to conform to an image that is totally foreign to them. Fifth, I just wonder what if anything did these ladies’ families of origin (FOO) teach them about their sexuality and how precious it is. Sixth, such things happen because accountability is sorely lacking in our culture in general and Hollywood in particular. I think this ultimately played a role in Whitney Houston’s and Michael Jackson’s deaths. Why didn’t someone say to those before Miley, “hey, other girls are modeling their behavior after you. Stop such things as this self-degradation or young women will view this as a necessary rite of passage to success.” And lastly, as a Christian father, I have a responsibility to teach my daughter that she is pretty enough and that she is beautiful. As a Christian husband, I have a responsibility to treat my wife as someone made in God’s image – someone with inherent worth and dignity. As a Christian father, it is my responsibility to teach my son the difference between misogyny and a healthy admiration of females. As a Christian brother, I have the responsibility to treat other sisters – Christians or not – with dignity and respect because they too are made in God’s image. As a Christian citizen in the United States, I have a responsibility to pray for the likes of Cyrus. As a Christian cultural prophet and change agent, I have the responsibility to encourage other Christians with the gift for the arts to enter these fields to be ‘salt and light’ and to bring reform.

As someone over 50 years of age, I know a few things. One, I know that Jesus is the hope of real and lasting racial reconciliation. He will truly reconcile the races and all those things that divide us in the new heavens and new earth. Truly this truth keeps me going and helps rein in or tame my cynicism. Two, despite having an African-American president in the White House and other advances made along establishing and maintaining racial equality, we do not live in a post-racial society. Just consider the awful things said about Senator John McCain and his family after his son married an African-American woman. For example, someone said this, “No wonder McCain has crawled into bed with Obama…His son married a black girl! McCain is a RINO and a TRAITOR!” (See http://cocoafab.com/jack-mccain-marries-black-woman-john-mccain/). Just consider the shameless and cowardly vandalism against the statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese in Brooklyn, covering it with swastikas and racial slurs. Three, God has left the church (His contrast society, His redemptive agency) to move winsomely, courageously, and aggressively to make what will be true in the new heavens and new earth a reality on earth now; namely, God has left the church to narrow the racial divide that still exists. We will not see the gap completely closed but the church is nonetheless responsible for making some headway in this regard. Four, closing the racial divide will take the efforts of all people of all races, of all ethnicities, of all socio-economic levels, etc. This monumental task will require “all hands on deck.” Until everyone feels the wrong inflicted on another person made in God’s image, efforts to eradicate the racial divide will falter. In other words, until everyone understands we are our brother’s keeper, little progress will be made. Dr. King said this, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” That is, until everyone understands what happens to one person or a group of people invariably affects us all because our lives are intricately woven together, our efforts will stall. To be sure, we will achieve some degree of progress but I believe we will experience that proverbial “for every few steps we take forward, we take many steps backward” until we realize and appropriate that we are indeed our brother’s keeper and our lives are all amazingly interwoven. Lastly, there is a cost for remaining passive and quiet about issues related to race in our society and similarly, there is a cost for actively narrowing the racial gap. I believe the latter will cost us more – maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to get farther down the road toward real racial reconciliation? This reminds me of what Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797), Irish orator, philosopher, and politician said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Actively narrowing the racial divide will take good men and women to DO something otherwise, such shameful and racist acts and words like those against McCain and President Obama and others will persist.