Beyonce’s song, ‘Church Girl,’ has obviously caused a ruckus within some Christian circles.
On one hand, it’s exciting that some of the Black church is waking up. On the other hand, as a body, we have been asleep. Sadly, the decision to speak out about issues in the music industry are too little and too late.
Instead of harping on the lyrics of this song, it’s a missed opportunity to really address a culture of young adults whose reality is either not in the church or going to church as a formality due to tradition.
According to a recent report by The Survey Center on American Life of the American Enterprise Institute: “Research has consistently shown that every generation of adults is somewhat less religious than the generation that preceded it.
This pattern continues with Generation Z demonstrating less attachment to religion than the Millennial generation did. In terms of identity, Generation Z is the least religious generation yet. More than one-third (34%) of Generation Z are religiously unaffiliated, a significantly larger proportion than among Millennials (29%) and Generation X (25%).”
The real issue isn’t the lyrics of Beyonce’s song—it’s the lack of connection, understanding and real relationship we have with those in our congregations and communities to see the church as a relevant place of transparency, safety, and healing especially for young people.
Although it probably wasn’t Beyonce’s intention to cause a religious dialogue, this song actually provides a glimpse into the multiple realities that many young people face—one of church that does not understand the many dynamics they face so differently than each generation before.
Young people witness the hypocrisy within the church that we are willing to call out sins in the world without taking a deep look at the cancer that has created a duality for a “church girl” to “drop it like a thotty” and still “wanna be centered in thy will” as stated in her lyrics.
Attacking Beyonce actually helped promote her song even more. If we are not careful, this can become a distraction from what’s really going on that’s much bigger than a song. Let’s pay attention to the culture that we have chosen to ignore instead of using these situations as a teachable moment to instruct, offer wisdom and not condemnation, but provide a true alternative rooted in love, hope and faith.
I learned as a parent that the more I said ‘no’ to something, the more my child wanted it. I realized that when I explained the circumstances and taught her to think critically, she made the right decision.
My fear is that we have become more fixated on soundbites and going viral than we are with really creating solutions to address the trauma and many wounds people have in the church—and for some, because of the church.
We might find the lyrics questionable but until we deal with what’s inside of each of us and our congregations, we will not impact the culture. Many of those that are being preached to on Sundays are the very ones in the club dropping it like it’s hot the night before.
They don’t need condemnation. They need to be in the service seeing something different than what the world offers. Sadly, it’s often hard to tell the difference.
It’s time for us to look in the mirror. The world is going to do what it does. And yet, we are called to be different.
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean,’” Mark 7:20-23. We tend to look outside of ourselves to believe that it is a problem in the world, but those same issues are in the church.
Church girls, boys, men, and women all need a place of deliverance, healing, and restoration. Beyonce’s song is a reminder of how we are missing the mark.
We have a real opportunity beyond the two-hour services on Sundays to really transform people’s lives if we choose to engage instead of remaining enraged and doing nothing.