When you set up a twitter account, you’re supposed to give a brief description of yourself that’s viewable for the public eye. My description states, “I blog about my journey as a missional funeral director. I’m the last person to let you down in Parkesburg, PA.”
Lady Gaga’s states, “Mother Monster.”
Queer theorist Michael Warner writes,
“Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence. ‘Queer’ then, demarcates not a positivity but a positionality vis-à-vis the normative.”
Lady Gaga is the embodiment of Queer Theory, not necessarily in her sexuality, but by her identification and normalization of “whatever is at odds with the normal.“
A quick scroll through her nearly 14 million twitter followers shows that most of them are “weird”, they are “the rejected” and the “monsters.” The kind of people that would walk through the doors of a church and be sneered at by the onlookers.
Granted, some of her followers flock to her because of her (ambiguous) sexuality. But many flock to her as their “mother monster” … because she accepts, even normalizes the weirdness … the queerness… she embraces those who feel that they’re not apart of the “normal” … that are broken … not whole … not legitimate … that are, in some ways, monsters.
Most churches would hate her. Most churches would hate her followers. They either couldn’t see past the lifestyle, couldn’t see past the way they dress or couldn’t see past the philosophy.
But not Jesus. In fact, a quick look at Jesus’ tribe and we soon realize that he too was the “Mother Monster” … the One who made a mosaic out of broken pieces.
Mary Magdalene the Harlot.
John the Baptist.
Matthew the Tax Collector.
Peter the Zealot.
Philip the Doubter.
Paul the Persecutor
Monsters. Rejected. All.
Lady Gaga’s tribe is strong. They’re strong because they’re united by their brokenness … by their “queerness.”
Like Jesus, Gaga has found one of the strongest bonds for community: not primarily sin, but rejection.
The difference between Gaga and Jesus? She lives off her tribe. Jesus inaugurated his through death.
But, if Jesus was walking in America today, and if He was afforded the opportunity, I’d love to see his conversation with the “Mother Monster.”
And I hope – just maybe – one of Jesus’ people can share of His rejection, of how He was despised, how nobody looked at Him, a man that had nowhere to lay His head … and maybe, if she’d join His tribe, she’d finally find her home.
But, I wonder if Jesus’ people have become too normal to embrace the rejects of the world? If we see Lady Gaga and her followers as the ones Jesus WOULDN’T want, maybe we’ve lost touch with the real Jesus and become too comfortable with a Jesus that doesn’t exist.
Where do you look for Jesus?
Do you look for Jesus in Church?
Do you look for Jesus in the Word?
In your quiet times?
We’ve all looked for Jesus in these places. And we’ve found Him there, once or twice. And we (I) have thought, “Jesus dwells in the Word … so I will wait here until He comes back to show Himself to me again.” And I wait. And we wait.
Martin Buber has said that community is the place of theophany, so we go to church and except that “where two or three are gather” there He is. And I wait. And we wait to find him in this place.
Quiet times alone in prayer, worship and the Bible are the place where our personal relationship with Jesus is built. And it’s true … to an extent. He speaks to us and then silence. Silence. And we wait.
Where is Jesus? Why is it that He’s so silent, so often, despite the fact that we are genuinely seeking His presence? Why does He so often remain so distant while our faith so languishes in the desert?
God is rarely present in a place, or a set aside time. But, “He dwells with the broken and the contrite.”
Jesus says, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
But, it is not us giving to the have not’s. It’s not those of us with a spiritually induced Messiah complex swooping in to help the broken. No, those aren’t the one’s meeting Jesus either.
Jean Vanier, a former naval officer, former professor who received his Ph.D. in moral philosophy in Paris, and eventual founder of “L’Arche”, (a movement of communities that seeks to create a family environment for those who’ve been rejected because of their mental disability), has this to say:
“Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor, not to those who serve the poor! I think we can only truly experience the presence of God, meet Jesus, received the good news, in and through our own poverty, because the kingdom of God belongs to the poor, the poor in spirit, the poor who are crying out for love … God is present in the poverty and wounds of their heart.”
So that the one “place” we might always find God is in brokenness. I’ve seen people who have tried to “break themselves” so as to spur the presence of God in their lives. And that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Buber was right. Jesus was right. Theophany is in the community, AND he dwells with the broken! But it’s not always in individual brokenness, but in the broken community.
God calls himself the “Paraclete” which means “the one who answers the cry.”
We will find Jesus at the funeral.
We will find Jesus around the death bed.
We will find Jesus in the prisons.
In the hurting families.
With the fatherless. With the widow.
And we will find Him, not as outsiders of the broken community, but as ones who find ourselves apart of it.
And I think we will soon realize that He himself is not dwelling with the broken and the contrite as just the “Paraclete”, but because He too is most like … most comfortable with the broken. It’s not that he’s there just because he’s saving us … it’s that He’s with the broken because He’s most like us.
I hope we all find that Jesus dwells with the broken communities.