You can’t imagine the depths of my inward groaning as I realize that it is this Miley Cyrus debacle that has propelled me back to my little blog after such a long break. Shameful. Can it possibly be that there’s been nothing worthwhile in the interim to inspire or ignite?
Much has been written about her performance (?) earlier this week at the Video Music Awards. One had to be living under a rock or engaged in vigorous worthwhile tasks (I was neither) to miss the social media and news frenzy recapping her raunchy performance that apparently included moves that make this long married lady blush and found me locked in the privacy of my own bathroom to look up the word “twerking.”
There must have been a collective gasp from parents across America who saw the clips the next morning or made the extraordinarily poor decision to let the VMA show enter their homes and assault the eyes of their tweens and teens. I mean, let’s be real — this is far from Disney fare in the first place (and I’d even go as far as to argue that Disney is no longer Disney).
And those sighs were drowned out by the corporate pat on the back of parents as they congratulated themselves on raising sweet little Hannah Montanas in a Miley Cyrus world. Because, wow!! The gap, the difference, the giant chasm that separates one from the other is like…so big you can hardly measure it, right? “At least my kid isn’t like that!!”
But the slope is slippery and the reality is this: Without Christ in our lives and the lives of our children, the chasm measures the same frightening distance. Apart from God is Apart. From. God. — whether onstage in front of millions or in the pew going through the motions.
Certainly I’m thankful that my kid hasn’t sold out to the purveyors of Hollywood scuminess, trading a God-given talent for an unharnessed hunger to be more…do more…go bigger…shock. I’m not Billy Ray or his wife watching from a front row seat (literally or figuratively) as my little girl degrades herself with a married singer and in front of hundreds of thousands of people looking on, or worse…applauding.
No, I have my own front row seat at Melody Drive and unless I exercise my responsibility to point my children to Christ and the true riches found in a personal relationship with their savior, Billy Ray and I could have more in common than I care to admit. There’s a gratuitous and inherent danger in comparing ourselves, our children and our sin to others. When God is removed from the ultimate equation, we fool ourselves and believe that the only measuring stick is our neighbor.
But put God in His rightful place as the true benchmark, then the distance remains a Miley Cyrus-sized void that promises the same darkness.
No good deeds, church attendance or missionary trip can compensate for a heart that does not belong to the One who wants it most — and all parents, this parent, must stand guard against equating benevolence and good works with a repentant heart that understands its need for a Savior.
Screwtape shared similar thoughts with his nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters: “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
My cousin weighed in on Facebook, lamenting the attention to Miley’s moral demise instead of the horrific unrest in Syria and Egypt. In a way I agree, except that the spillover from political unrest won’t meet me at the end of my driveway (yet) in the questions of my children as they get off the bus. The Miley poop will — forcing me to address it with the same nausea and sadness I feel as I type this post.
Address it I will, and while calling out Miley’s actions for what they are — I will remind my kiddos that we all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. And darkness is the same color in Hollywood and Newark, Delaware.
But there is Good News — Christ bridges that chasm, fills the darkness.
I still don’t want my kids heading to Hollywood — but I’d rather have them there with a heart that belongs to Christ than here with a heart that doesn’t.