Thursday, April 30, 2009

Integration, Same-Sex Marriage, and White Bikinis. . . .

Perhaps the cultural moment most discussed and argued currently in the media and blogosphere involves a young 21-year-old senior at San Diego Christian College who was raised in an evangelical Christian home. Carrie Prejean is the reigning Miss California USA, and she stirred the pot when during the Miss USA competition she had to answer Perez Hilton's question about same-sex marriage.

Here's the moment. . .



And quite a bit - as you can imagine - has happened since then. You can read the news to catch up. I'm still trying to process it all as it unfolds. Here are some preliminary thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.

- Perez Hilton can ask any question he wants. This is America and that's what makes America great.

- Carrie Prejean can answer Perez Hilton's question however she wants to. Kudos to her for being blatant and honest about her convictions. By the way, if you listen to her entire answer you'll see that she included some grace.

- My fellow Christians want this thing to be totally black and white. Prejean is the cowboy. Hilton is the Indian. Prejean is the cop. Hilton is the robber. Prejean is us. Hilton is them. Not only that, but we've got no place for guys like Hilton in this "Christian" America that exists only in our minds and not - or never really did - in reality. Is this as deep as we go in the church?

- When it comes to free speech, those in the church will scream, kick, and yell at Hilton for promoting his own free speech and defending his ability to propagate his worldview, while crying foul that Hilton wants to keep Prejean from speaking her mind and freely discussing her worldview. Lousy Perez Hilton. . . . he just doesn't get it does he? Hmmmm. But sadly, his hypocrisy was being practiced long before he ever entered this world and set foot on terra firma, and it was being practiced by Christians who wanted to say everything they had to say while trying to get others who disagree to keep it down.

- Before reading my next comment. . . . watch this video. . . . from the 1:47 mark until the 2:11 mark. . .



Come on. . . . there have to be other people out there who are scratching their heads about the message Prejean is sending as she parades around in her white bikini. We've got a generation of girls who erroneously and dangerously seek to find their identity in what they look like. We've got a generation of guys who define girls the same way. I'm guessing that some of you male blog readers will even get mad at me for posting Prejean's bikini video. . . . which is precisely why she shouldn't be parading around as she is.

- We've done a terrible job integrating our faith into ALL of life. Watch the two previous videos again and let me know if you agree. If you still don't get it, imagine Prejean answering Hilton's question while she's wearing her white bikini.

- And now for my prediction. . . . Prejean is going to become the darling of conservative Christians. I include myself in that conservative Christian group. I don't include myself in the group that will embrace Prejean. I think it will play out that she will be hitting the Christian banquet circuit and the Christian book circuit real, real soon. Some Christian publisher is going to sign her to a contract if it hasn't happened already. Just for consistency's sake, I think she should appear at the podium and on the book cover in that white bikini. . . really.

29 comments:

John said...

Excellent point, Walt. I have always remembered your saying that there are three signposts of this youth generation, one being that they so compartmentalize their faith. Well, here we, their parents, are doing it to!

Joe said...
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Joe said...

Walt, I have to admit that it's a boon to my ego that the illustrious culture guru Walt Mueller and I are on the same wavelength about this. In fact, I blogged about this very topic this morning. Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you think.

Sigs said...

Thank you for bringing some balance to the situation Walt. Great thoughts.

Walt Mueller said...

Joe - give us a link to your blog. Thanks!

Christian the Christian said...

I also agree and found the message she offered odd considering the nature of the pageant. While I do not think she ought to be blasted by Christians it does worry me that she (as you said) is most likely about to become a face and rep of conservative Christianity; in particular, conservative Christianity that wages war with gay marriage. It worries me that it seems conservative Christians primary battle is with gay marriage (as if we have nothing else to talk of, too). Sadder still is how this conversation has been (by all sides and the media) made into an us versus them sort of war. It is pretty difficult for a Lost and dying world to see the Grace in us if we constantly declare war (or appear to) on gay marriage (again, a necessary and worthy conversation), but rarely address any other issues that are equally important and in need of attention.
Good post Walt!

Christian the Christian said...

No sooner did I type my last comment then this article appears: "Carrie Prejean to 'Protect Traditional Marriage' on ABC News. http://www.abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Television/story?id=7470479&page=1

Christian the Christian said...

sorry for the multiple posts, but as I mentioned in my first post (about many other issues equally worthy of our attention, to include other marriage issues), I posted a blog yesterday titled "NEW! Seven Year Marriage Warranty" that addresses another one of these issues. it can be seen at www.christianthechristian.blogspot.com
that was my last post (unless i reply to someone elses). lol :-)

Lantz said...

I agree with your thoughts...

And yes...I am one of the male readers...that is offended that you would put the video up.

Could you have not made the same point without the video??

I know you are trying to help people think critically, but are we not supposed to flee all sexual immorality...

www.lantzhoward.com

Joel Sanabria said...

I thank you for bringing the issue around. I applaude her for standing for what is considered true biblical belief. But again, Like the word teaches us let us be careful how we walk so that no one has any negative thing to say about us. She obviously said the right thing but doesn't live the life of what she believes. If you preach it...Live it! Now we going to have a lot of young ladies looking up to her as if she is Mother Theresa. Well, I'm no one to judge but a true Christian is known by the fruits and hers just got rotten. Stay bless Walt

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are saying that the pageant isn't an arena for christians, is that it? Or at least to not make beyond the point of having to wear a bikini?

What other areas do you see this example then running away with the promotion of wrong values to our teens? Can any sport be guilty? Can pastors buying expensive vehicles and clothing be the same? Or Christian pro-football players wearing a Superbowl ring? Aren't these just as materialist displays that should also be argued against?

I personally didn't have a problem with the bikini nor seeing her answer the question asked by Perez in it.

I watched the video link and saw that all of the girls seemed to be wearing the same outfit--making it fair perhaps? Not sure what the "judges" look for in that competition...

But what of watching women in bikinis? Or putting a link on our site for others to watch bikinis? And more questions than answers perhaps...good discussion starter...

--in search of balance in a lopsided culture.

Josh Mann said...

"We've done a terrible job integrating our faith into ALL of life."

Walt...this is not critical thinking! You are essentially saying that wearing a bikini is a failure to integrate one's faith into all of their life?

One can't help but deduce that believing in man/woman marriage, following God with one's life, and wearing a bikini are mutually exclusive?

And...the jump from her wearing a bikini to her finding her worth and identity in her physical appearance and that others seeing her in a bikini will do the same?

Where is the critical thinking in this? This reeks of old school/black and white/majoring on the minors/no movies or alcohol thinking. Very disappointed Walt.

Have your daughters ever worn a bikini? Ever? My what strong things it would say about their character and their relationship with God, let alone your work as a father.

That last statement was out of line and below the belt, but, in my opinion, it's the same statement you made about Miss California.

Matt said...

I totally agree with you on all the points. I don't agree with society supporting views like those of Perez Hilton, but I also don't agree with people being two-sided in their Christian beliefs. If we stand for one side, we stand for the other as well; no "lukewarm" views. However, Prejean represents the struggle that many teens and young adults face today: the struggle for identity. The church should take notice of this, and address it right now, instead of skimming the issue. This is what the church exists for: to heal the broken, and bring about change.

Anonymous said...

Josh Mann - its too bad YOUR comment lacks any critical thinking (or common sense for that matter). This issue is not about bikini's, or even whether someone should wear one as a christian. Read Walt's blog again and think before you comment...

- Jason

Josh Mann said...

I quoted his post! What else was Walt pointing to as the disconnect between her faith and the video clip? What is the issue about o wise one? ;) I seem to have missed it! And let's be respectful here bro, i believe i have been. "Think before you comment?" You're better than that and i don't even know you--

Walt Mueller said...

Wow! I think I knew this post would stir the pot but that's okay. These are the kind of issues we need observe, think critically about, and then discuss. To Josh Mann. . . I do think you took my quote out of context and that you went down a slippery slope logically. I would never say that wearing a bikini is a failure to integrate one's faith into one's life. My post was about the church, a lack of integration, our bent towards not thinking, etc. I do, however, question the whole beauty pageant culture - I think it's seen its time and its time should be up - especially in our current body-obsessed culture. My point is that understanding this stuff in our current cultural context has to lead to asking some hard questions about how this stuff can actually serve as gasoline on the fire of the dangerous identity messages our girls are getting. I would love to know how to redeem beauty pageant culture. . . any ideas???

And Josh. . . regarding your admitted "out of line and below the belt" comment. . . my daughter's are not me. The integration I'm talking about in this context is integration within one's self. . . which logically leads to me making this correction to your argument. . . to be consistent you would have to ask me if I've ever worn a bikini. . . so. . . . now Josh, I've successfully ruined your life and lives of everyone else reading this with that image! Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Agree. I appreciated her clumsy grace considering the many people she was trying to please with her answer, not the least of which was Perez Hilton - at least I think she tried. On the otherhand, I'm not sure what a Christ-loving young lady is doing when I wouldn't dare bring my 16 yr old in the room to see her video you posted. Your point was well-made and I applaud you for posting the video. It's the elephant in the room, might as well acknowledge it.

David said...

You absolutely hit the nail on the head with your post. Sadly, your point was strengthened yesterday when USA Today released information on Carrie Prejean getting implants a few weeks before the pageant. I don't want her being the "poster girl" for Christianity in 2009. I don't want my teens or my 17-year-old sister getting caught up with this body-obsessed culture. It's odd to think, but maybe Christians and homosexual activists are both hoping this all goes away very soon.

Jonathan said...

Walt... i like the way you think... and the way you force us to think. Keep up the good work.

rod arters said...

First of all, I don't believe Walt ever answered the question of whether he has worn a bikini or not. Actually, thank you for not answering, Walt. We don't want you to cause Perez Hilton to stumble. Speaking of stumbling, yes, Walt's posting of the bikini video probably tempts most normal men. Was his intention to make the lustful among us stumble? No. His inclusion of the video was to make a point - which he did. But, truth be told - I (like most of you) watched the video clip. Not all of it, mind you - but enough to see Miss California, Miss Alaska, Miss ... you get the point. If I stumbled - I did so willingly with my eyes wide open - to blame Walt denies James 1:13-15.

Lastly, on our best day - we are all hypocrites - trying our hardest to walk consistently in our faith. She wears a bikini for 30 seconds of her life and is judged for it. I don't know about you - but most of my compromises last much longer than that. NOW, she has an enormous platform she can use for the glory of God. What gave her the platform? Not the bikini, but her stance for God's standard.

Interestingly, the day she took her stand was April 20th - 10 years to the day another young woman took a stand for Christ at Columbine. Rachel Scott - takes a stand and is physically gunned down for it. Carrie Prejean takes a stand and is verbally gunned down for it. The reality is - in today's culture - take a stand for truth and you WILL be gunned down for it - physically, verbally - or in the form of blog comments.

keep taking a stand, Walt.

Isaac Milton said...

Walt, your post brought up a great point and I'm glad that it has caused this much conversation. The heart that I'm seeing is that what say if filtered by anyone who hears it by what we do. Our words can mean very little to both believers and non-believers if our lives don't back it up. I work at a Christian camp full time and I always remind youth leaders that they can lose the respect they have spent years building in their youth in just a few seconds (usually related to sportsmanship).

We can speak truth (as I believe Miss California did) but our choices can make it hard to swallow.

HowardM said...

Absolutely dead on. We want unity if people agree with us, we want freedom as it affects us and we define faith only by how we interpret and how it affects us. Thanks Walt

Dan said...

Her tour has begun. She was in Liberty U convo last week and is apparently transferring here..this was greeted with hoots and hollers from the males in attendance. Lord help her when she steps on campus. Liberty continues down a dark path spiritually, not because of her, but because of a watered down spirituality among half of the student body.

brian c. berry said...
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brian c. berry said...

Walt,

I did not read all the comments on this page, but I can't agree with you more... on your observation and your predictions. From here in San Diego where she lives, it's all coming true and she has already spoken in at least 2 large church services in the area where they are clearly so proud of her for her bold stance... But I'm guessing they did not ask any of the hard questions about the beauty or image or how that fits with following Jesus. I'm positive they didn't show her bikini pics or interview her in one either.

As for "there have to be other people out there scratching their heads"... here's the secular world's take. It's raw, but it proves the point. They are scratching their head on this one too.

http://www.popcrunch.com/miss-california-breast-implants-carrie-prejean-implants-paid-for-by-miss-california-organization/

The fact that she had her breasts enhanced and funded by the pageant leading up to the competition only seem to me to prove the point further. I'm not sure walking around in waterproof underwear and high heels with surgically enhanced parts sounds like a "Jesus called me to this thing" to me. But maybe I'm missing something.

Catherine said...

Thank you for the post on April
30th. We all do a terrible job of integrating our faith into all of life. I pointed this out to our teenagers. We scream about the world not understanding us when we try to tell them about Jesus. This is precisely why. We want to pick and choose those things which we believe are biblical and what are not. We believe, and rightly so, that homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. However, in I Peter in exhorts women to be modest. We seem to forget the passages of scripture that do not promote our agenda. This is why the world is confused and critical.

Anonymous said...

I just think its funny the word prayer hasn't come up.

I understand the thing is not black and white. I pray God keeps me from throwing stones at any of you, or any of those mentioned here.

I understand the person under scrutiny is not a perfect reflection of Christ. I pray God continues to heal and use broken people for the expansion of His kingdom.

I understand my knowledge is limited, I may very well be wrong and you are perhaps wiser than I. I pray God would straighten my paths and reveal Himself to you and me.

If I should try to point you in any direction, may it be away from me and to the Word of God. Luke 6:37-38. Romans 14. 1 Corinthians 4:1-7. James 4:1-12.

If you believe I am mistaken (which may very well be the case), please pray for me. God has readier access to me than you and will know how to correct me.

JA

Anonymous said...

Walt Mueller has ingrown moral indignation. Very fashionable to toss up contorted and baseless moral equivocation and lay blame upon fellow Christians who he conjures to be censors, hypocrites, shallow, and binary non-thinkers. As seen on TV.

Perez Hilton is “Lousy”, but, you know, no more so that Christians (many many of them) who trod the earth before him. Forget about that other stuff Hilton did/said which has no precedent in Christianity. It is irrelevant because it can't be equivocated.

Moving past Hilton, Mueller then gets out the sharp tools to rectify the miserable Miss California—that piece of Christian doo-doo who is partly responsible for a generation of girls who care too much about appearances ...er...not that there’s anything wrong with that...of course.

Grace is for sinners. Wrath is for fellow Christians.
That is the new recipe for archetypal moral indignation.
Buffalo goring buffalo, while lions giggle and demand to see more of it as a demonstration of sincerity and credibility.

Mueller should write lyrics for “Casting Crowns”. Like so:

The world is really bad, but Christans are worse.
Nobody I know personally, that is,
but the ones on TV for sure.

Christians are hypocritical pigs
Shiny plastic people
No wonder everyone hates us.

We must pull our eyes out of the log
before we can remove the spec from another

Plastic phony people whose lives are boring.
Unworthy of the sinful people who come our way

Cold and judgmental
Cold and judgmental

Except for me and my band.
Except for me and my band.

This song proves it...
This song proves it...

Owww...oooo...waaaa

tghali said...

Thanks for the solid post Walt. I know I’m a bite late but it seems that Miss Prejean has started a conversation that many cannot stop talking about.

I do not understand the idea of beauty pageant to begin with and if the Lord blesses us with a daughter, I would discourage her from ever objectifying herself in such a way. How this idea ever made it to our televisions has been another sign of our culture’s foolishness. To our relief, very few men and even fewer teen-age guys watch these beauty pageants (I’m a youth pastor and I ask almost every year and indeed, few guys watch these things). These pageants are consumed by mothers and their identity seeking daughters. Sadly, if guys want to watch beautiful sexy women, they have the internet, and the numerous movies and tv shows that offer various degrees of objectification and gratuity at their disposal.

Unless Miss Prejean was doing this as a “missionary-prophetess” and being subversive to this indulgent system, I only equate her with being part of the problem. Among the last things we want is for more of our teen-age girls thinking she is a hero for standing up for traditional marriage while objectifying herself.

Please understand that I am not against beautiful women - honest ;-). Further, I am not against bikinis either if they are modest … and used for swimming and/or beachwear. Nor am I implying that Prejean is not a good Christian, but unfortunately, she is a product of this crazy system we’ve created. Unfortunately, I’m part of the problem too. May we allow the Lord to open our eyes.