— Is Katy Perry a UU Firework? I Kissed Uhhh….God and I liked It!

April 12, 2013 at 9:25 am | Posted in Online Ministry | Leave a comment

April’s finally showering down and forsythia’s soaking it up, bursting into yellow flames everywhere in the D.C. area. Even though the overcast, stormy skies thunder through this day, fireworks are flying chez moi. I’m ecstatic that I will be home in Virginia for nearly all of May. I’ve been away from my home church too long!

So, I’ve decided to dance to the hugely popular pop star, Katy Perry, in my living room. And baby, Katy’s  a UU firework…..oh, oh, oh!

Her Firework lyrics pack a wallop of  liberal faith. And to boot, her evangelical minister parents — both of them — are even leveraging her lyrics, such as “I kissed a girl,” to  “I kissed God and liked it!”  True, her mom and dad preach about their fallen daughter and state publicly they hate her lyrics that celebrate homosexuality. The reality is that she’s ministering to more people than her parents ever have or will. Meanwhile, she’s prepping the way for more people to attend church, especially for young Christians, who are far more accepting than many of their generations’ parents, especially young Christians who’ve turned into “nones.”

Despite the tension, the Perry-Hudsons have worked on their inter-relationships, and they still try to function as a family.  Katy’s childhood wasn’t pleasant. For example, her parents stripped searched her to ensure she didn’t hide evidence of the devil, like rock CDs. They didn’t let her eat  Lucky Charms cereal either.

Something to consider: If our congregations want to really appeal and attract younger people, we should consider singing a few of Katy’s songs. Just because a song is a mainstream culture favorite, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t counter-cultural lessons! Multi-generational choirs should sing “Firework!”

Her lyrics are a call to action to keep the inner light on so that when cracks occur, what’s inside shines out brilliantly, anyway. She’s more proactive than Leonard Cohen! Mary Oliver’s poems often do the same, calling for the reader  to throw his or her wild and precious life into the universe.  The lyrics to Katy’s  “Firework” do the same:

“You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July”

‘Cause baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky”

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July…..”

Putting aside some narcissistic overtones,  her music speaks to a universal theme: life creates life, and we all have the power to create all kinds of life and joy if we take it upon ourselves to do so.   If you watch the documentary on her young life, you see how she interacts with people and is aware of the depth of her struggles as a human being to recognize joy, even through dark periods.

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