Katy Hudson is known better by her stage name Katy Perry.
During my recent 17 hour drive, one way, from Columbus to Dallas and back, I flipped through radio stations continuously for part of the trip. You know how when you’re driving a long distance one station stays clear for a few minutes and then you have to find another one.
It seemed like every other song was by Katy Perry. I heard two different singles playing one after the other. Then, last Friday night I was watching a high school football game where my wife coaches the cheerleading squad, and the marching band performed a song covered by Katy Perry. She is everywhere.
Unlike a lot of other pop stars, she can actually sing. If she writes any of her own songs, she is a great writer. Her singles have multiple hooks. The melodies are instantly singable. The lyrics are concrete and memorable. When you hear her song content, however, it would probably be surprising to know that she is a pastor’s kid. She tried to build a career in the Christian music industry a few years ago, but it never got off the ground.
Mark Moring, an entertainment writer for Christianity Today, interviewed “Christian singer” Katy Hudson in 2002. Read the full article here. He then quotes an interview Katy recently gave to Rolling Stone in which she said that she is still a Christian. Whether or not religious people accept her statement is their choice, but her faith must still mean something to her, or she probably wouldn’t have claimed that to a Rolling Stone reporter.
She talks about her conservative upbringing. Both of her parents are pastors. They speak in tongues. She said that after growing up in her home, “speaking in tongues is as normal as ‘pass the salt'”. She was not allowed to listen to “secular” music as a teenager (a term that causes knots in my stomach- see my entry “Some Guitar Songs in G-Tuning”). Ultimately, as she became an adult, she started making her own choices.
I wonder how many people who grew up in conservative religious homes can identify with her? I grew up in a very conservative religious home. My family didn’t go to church services much, but when we did, they were very conservative churches. The Christian TV channel was also on occasionally in our house. Along the way, I got the idea from these churches and Christian TV that sex was dirty and that I should feel very guilty about it, that drinking alcohol is a terrible sin, and that anyone who votes Democrat is in league with Satan (I’m not kidding). There was very little open-mindeness or grace in this type of religion.
If Katy Perry grew up anything like that, I can see why she has made different choices with her life and career. When I was in my early twenties, I realized that much of what I had been told as a teenager was ridiculous, and I experienced the other side a little bit. I just didn’t have my songs played continuously from Columbus to Dallas.
Maybe at some point she’ll come back to a center. Being freed from a strict upbringing can be a like stretching a rubber band. When you grow up, it’s like you stretch the rubber band as far as you can, and then over time, it relaxes a little bit, but it will probably never go back to the small, rigid shape that it was. There will be much more elasticity, or in other words, openness and grace.
Many people share Katy Hudson’s (Perry’s) story. My question is what role should grace and open-mindedness play, both from Christians toward her now, and when Christian parents are raising their children?
Also check out a related post “Christians and Hollywood”.