It’s out. Lady Gaga released her video for “Born This Way” yesterday. I’ve watched it twice. . . only twice so far. I’ll be watching it and thinking about it more over the coming days. Not surprisingly, Lady Gaga continues to make my head spin as my understanding of who she is, what she stands for, and what she hopes to accomplish continues to evolve.
Initially, the video surprised me. I really thought this would be one that took advantage of the opportunity to use every single frame to tell a more direct story that relates to the song’s lyrical content and message. As she sings the now-familiar tune in the song’s video treatment, it’s all about dance. Sure, the dance, the costuming, and the lighting combine with other elements to tell a story. But at its core, it’s a dance video. . . that is, when the music starts.
Before that in a lengthy spoken intro, Lady Gaga gives us context that reveals more of who she is, her personal agenda and hopes, and what the song is all about. She tells us it’s “the manifesto” of “Mother Monster” – a label that refers to her growing band of “Little Monster” minions along with an admission of her place as the leader of this almost religious-like following. The video starts and ends with the pink triangle, a symbol used in Nazi concentration camps to identify male homosexual prisoners. That symbol has since been adopted by Gays and Lesbians as a reminder of how they’ve been oppressed and their hope to be liberated from all oppression. In the beginning of the video, the triangle points down. By the end, it’s flipped.
Lady Gaga has said that the video is the story of the birth of a new race. . . a new race that is all about no prejudice, no judgement, and boundless freedom. The video serves as a kind of creation narrative ala Gaga. . . a creation narrative that sets the stage for a world of unity and togetherness. . . where Gaga serves as creator, sustainer, redeemer, and lord.
Our pressing task is to understand and deconstruct Lady Gaga, her music, and the movement she’s inspiring. We must walk carefully through this landscape, taking the time to look carefully at who they are, what they believe, and what they worship. Where they are right, we must affirm that. And where they are lacking understanding and direction, we need to gracefully step into the gap with a compelling, well-informed, and Biblically-based apologetic to answer the heart cries that scream for redemption.
After watching this video, I’m thinking that many of us will identify the main issue as the homosexual agenda and same-sex attraction. Yes, these are issues that must be addressed. But it’s much, much deeper than that. This is simply one more expression of brokenness. . . a reality that we all share as human beings. Today, my great concern regarding Lady Gaga’s message is our increasing tendency to write off any and all challenges to what we’ve accepted as the status quo of our lives by saying “Hey, I was born this way.” Ultimately, it’s about our understanding of the human heart. If I was born this way and that justifies anything and everything I do, then we have no need for a proper understanding of original sin. In a world like this where there is no original sin, then all things are permissible and we have no need for a Savior. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was a waste.
I think Lady Gaga is right. We need more unity and togetherness. We need more compassion. But the unity, togetherness, and compassion we need is not the kind that says all things are permissible. It’s a unity, togetherness, and compassion that is built around our shared understanding of our ultimate brokenness in a world where there is right and wrong. . . and a unity, togetherness, and compassion that flows out of our gratitude to the One who came to fix it, make it right, and then send us out to do the same.