Katy Perry and Restricting Christianity

Brian Burchik —  July 5, 2012

Today Katy Perry’s movie “Part of Me” hits theaters nationwide. The film follows Katy on her tour across the world, as she performs songs from the album that boasts a record 5 number one hits (tying the King of Pop Michael Jackson for most all time).

I haven’t seen the film, but I was struck by the trailer that I saw before watching Madagascar 3 (parenting changes movie selections). The opening lines to the trailer were as follows..

Katy: “The atmosphere that I grew up in was completely, one hundred percent Christian”

Friend: “Katy got her first guitar through the church.”

“How do you find your voice, When you’re not allowed to sing your song?”

Over the last few weeks I have made an effort to watch the various interviews and television appearances with Katy. They confirmed what I suspected after watching the trailer.

A central part of the Katy Perry narrative that is marketed and sold to millions is that Christianity stifled her creativity, talent, and true calling. It could not allow her to “find her voice.”

Whether on Jimmy Kimmel or Nightline, Katy regularly brings up her conservative Christian upbringing, with examples like how she was only allowed to eat “angel eggs” (not deviled ones).

It is sad that this “Christianity-held-me-down” message is the one that promotes Katy, but at the end of the day it sells. It is unfortunate that millions of young people, including many raised in church as she was, will watch and see that for their hero, Christianity was restricting, rather than empowering.

During a recent interview (Kimmel I believe), Perry revealed that she was not allowed to listen to any secular music as a kid. Nada. Zilch. Not even a little.

It would seem that as a young girl singing in the church, she was not given a whole lot of career options outside the Christian music world.

This is all pure speculation, but I can’t help but wonder where Perry would be today if she wasn’t raised with such rigid and narrow limitations in terms of music.

Would she be singing the same songs today had she been given freedom and vision to create music that wasn’t solely “Christian” in genre?

Would she be creating music more aligned with truth, beauty, and goodness if she didn’t just hear “NO” in regards to secular music as a kid?

Biblical Christianity is not stifling to our gifts and passions.  God doesn’t want to kill our dreams and passions. He also doesn’t want them to kill us, which inevitably happens when they take the priority in our lives that is reserved for Him.

As I’ve listened to her share about her family and their faith, it’s clear she’s not wanting to declare war against Christianity.  However, it is also obvious that she is not convinced it’s the way to live the most full life either.

I pray for Katy Perry, and I hope you do too. I pray she comes to a different understanding of Christianity, and more importantly that she would have a deeper experience with Jesus himself.

Do you think there is a direct connection between Perry’s music today and her rigid upbringing? 

Brian Burchik

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This post was by Brian, a leader seeking to know the "why" behind the "how"

8 responses to Katy Perry and Restricting Christianity

  1. Nice post Brian! One of my favorite verses is Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

    We were meant to be free, and when we get hung up on legalism instead of living in Christ, our freedom and ability to live the full life is stifled.

  2. Amyjmorris269 July 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Sadly, I don’t think it is Christianity that stifles one’s passions and freedom. Instead, from my experience, it is those that try to forcefully pass their interpretations and expectations of Christianity on others. Our God is a personal one and I thank God that my relationship looks totally different than that of God’s other children.

    • Brian Burchik July 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      Amy I appreciate the thoughtful response. I agree that true Christianity does not stifle, but rather frees us. Thanks for contributing.

  3. great review & excellent thoughts! so true

  4. I saw the movie today. I was surprised, but I thought it was good. I’m glad I saw it because the clips I’ve seen didn’t portray Katy completely, as seeing the entire movie did. My daughter is 26 & my son is 27, both are happily married. If I were raising them now, I certainly would consider seeing this movie and then asking God how He wanted to use it in my life as a Mom.

    I didn’t know much about Katy Perry before today. But I do know Erin, Brian’s wife. …. and I respect Brian as a wise leader of young people. His post about Katy along with the skewed media caused me to want to see the movie for myself because I care so deeply about the next generation.

    I’m glad I went. I’m sickened that those who’ve never gone to church or been around Christian families may think all Christ followers are like the clips shown in the movie from Katy’s childhood days. In the interview at the end, Katy says that she has a “relationship with God” and that it is personal.

    There is much still to reflect on and ask God what He wants ME to know about what I saw today and how I can impact the next generation.

    Thank you, Brian.

    • Thank you so much for the feedback. I’m glad you engaged with the film and are thoughtfully considering how it portrays Christianity to young people. Keep it up!

  5. I have a newfound respect for Katy Perry.