It’s been a little over a week since Beyonce took the stage for the half time performance of Superbowl XLVII in New Orleans. Immediately following her performance Twitter and Facebook was buzzing with criticism, praise and even condemnation.
From a production standpoint (which I’m a huge fan of), I thought it was stunning and engaging. From a performance standpoint (which I can often look past), I thought it was of the ‘cleaner’ I’d seen in recent years, (everything is now graded against the “wardrobe malfunction” performance from a near decade ago).
I have to be honest, much of the negative feedback I saw over Twitter and Facebook came from “Christian” parents and that bothered me. Statements such as “slutty performance,” or “she ought to be ashamed of herself,” or “gross and detestable,” were down right judgmental and wrong.
As I scrolled through my Twitter feed and Facebook newsfeed, reading some of the harsh comments toward Beyonce, the thought occurred to me- “I’m not going to condemn her.” Here’s why-
- She’s a human being just like me.
- She’s a sinner in need of God’s grace just like me.
- It’s not my job to condemn her in the first place.
My two youngest daughters stood in the room watching most of her halftime performance. We didn’t send them out of the room. We didn’t quickly turn the channel, hoping to shield their innocent eyes and keep them from watching it. Why? Because, the reality is they’ll see something just like it it somewhere else if not in my home and I was present in that moment to discuss their thoughts and outlook with them. My wife and I were able to ask them questions like, “What are your thoughts on the way she danced?” “What problems did you see with the performance?” “What did you find right or wrong about it?” “What do you think God’s perspective is?”
I realize this is a huge gray area with a lot of parents- the decision to openly discuss touchy subjects verses the decision to shield and protect. I get both sides. Where we fall is this- we recognize that our girls live in a very real world and it is nearly impossible to shield them from every temptation, every moral issue, and every negative viewpoint. Our choice is to, rather than condemn or cover up, discuss openly. We will get their take on the matter, allow them to express openly and honestly, and counter it with healthy, moral advice. We believe that is one of our biggest responsibilities as their parents.
As believers in Christ, we also believe that jumping to condemnation on matters such as this paints Christianity poorly and does not represent the heart of God. If my wife and I stood in our living room that night and lashed out at Beyonce, saying things such as “She dances like a slut,” or “I can’t believe she dresses like that, she ought to be ashamed of herself,” it doesn’t teach them to react to matters like this the way God does.
Truth is- God created Beyonce. God gave her the enormous talent she has. And, God adores her. He really does! She is His daughter.
Could it be argued that Beyonce is not using all of her gifts and talents for His glory? Sure. But the same argument could be made about me (and you too). Do I think the way she danced the other night at the halftime show was completely appropriate? No. But, what do you expect? She’s a world entertainer. She’s not called to be a “Christian” entertainer. Besides, my attitude and actions are not always “appropriate” as it relates to how God calls me to live either.
Finally, does God call Beyonce to better living? Yes. But He also calls you and I to the same thing. With every finger we point, there are 4 pointing right back at us.
We could sit around and argue about the way she dressed or the way she danced but it would do zero, if any, good. Bottom line, if our daughter tried to dress the way she dressed at the halftime show, and walk out of our house, we would have a conversation about how unhealthy that could be, and we would have her change. But we wouldn’t condemn her. If my daughter was dancing the way she danced, we would have a conversation about the message she was sending, but we wouldn’t cover it up or try to avoid the topic. That would not be productive at all.
Therefore, we are not going to condemn Beyonce. My opinion as a parent is that I need to enter into healthy conversations with my children over issues such as this. Covering it up, refusing to talk about it, or pretending my girls aren’t aware it exists is not working. Why? Because they already have seen dancing like Beyonce’s and they already are aware of the moral dilemma. In this world, it’s all around them. The safest bet for me is to be open to discussing it in a healthy manner with them. Condemning the artist or making judgmental comments only pits me against another human being in my girls eyes and they fail to see a good example of how to love another human being.
What about you? What are your thoughts on this subject? Start or join the conversation…