In a recent interview with Complex magazine, Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber shared some of his thoughts on God, Christians, and going to church.
In the interview, Bieber begins by acknowledging the need for God, saying “If we can understand that we’re all imperfect, let’s come to God and come for his help. You’re not weak by doing that.”
I find myself silently agreeing. Yes, I'm sinful. Yes, I need God. No, it does not make me weak. Check, check, and check.
Bieber goes on to make a generic statement about Christians, “Christians leave such a bad taste in people’s mouths, even myself. I was like, I’m not gonna go to church.”
So, Bieber is OK with needing God, but. . . he has an issue with Christians.
He then addresses church: “It doesn’t make you a Christian just by going to church. I think that going to church is fellowship, it’s relationship, it’s what we’re here on the earth to do, to have this connection that you feel there’s no insecurities. I think that’s where we need to be. Like I said, you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.”
Minus the last strange comment about Taco Bell, Bieber seems to touch on a couple of the major cultural perceptions on church and christians:
- The first point I think Bieber brings to light is that many people have had experiences that leave them feeling like Christians are hypocrites. Perhaps they have been burned by a judgemental person in the name of Jesus. Or maybe they visited a church that was particularly unwelcoming.
- Secondly, I think Bieber reveals an underlying belief that the church is disposable. As long as we have relationships and connections, we don't need church. Perhaps church is an insitution that just complicates things.
I appreciate Justin Bieber's honesty. He started (very publicly) an important conversation that we should be having as Christians. Some of the questions that this interview leaves me with include:
- How do we work towards removing the cultural stigma attached to the word "Christian"?
- How do we show the value of the church—of committed believers regulary coming together to offer encouragement and collective spiritual growth?
- How would Jesus respond to Bieber's sentiments?
I'd love to hear your initial reactions and questions to this interview! Post your comment below to get the conversation started.