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Monday, September 25, 2006
Madonna Scheduled to Be Crucified
Okay, so I have to admit that I'm cheating a bit with this link since I originally posted this blog on our church site, but I'd love to get input from everyone here, too.
What?? Yes, you read that right. Of course, the "crucifixion" is an on-stage stunt that is part of her current "Confessions" tour. And the US will be able to view it on TV, as NBC intends to air it as part of their November sweeps schedule. Churches worldwide are, of course, up in arms. But here is how one concert goer (seemingly non-Christian, though she didn't declare one way or the other) described the spectacle in an article for the St. Petersburg Times:

"Thanks to the Russian Orthodox Church, most of the public was aware that one of the songs in the concert would be performed with the singer suspended on a giant luminescent cross. What I — and, I assume, most casual observers — did not know was what the song would be and what the point would be. The song was "Live to Tell," her 1986 hit, and the point was not subtle. Flashing behind her (and the cross) on a giant video screen were the faces of children and some statistics: the number of children orphaned by AIDS in Africa and the fact that without help they will all die before the age of 2. And then there was a long quote from "The Sheep and the Goats" story from the New Testament.

'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink' — I think the words are familiar to most of us, even those of us who are not Christians, right through the 'as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' The point of this passage is that Christianity is measured not by faith alone but by good deeds. It was not a point that Madonna made subtly, or in good taste, but it is the sort of thing that ought to disarm any protest, simply because at the end of the song she makes an appeal for
donations to help the children. "

Now, I'm not asserting that Madonna's performance is in good taste, or that her assertion that the AIDS epidemic can be layed in the Church's lap is entirely fair. In fact, her actions are not the point of my telling this story. The bigger concern for me is our reaction to all of this. The church in Moscow, apparently, made quite a stink with extensive protests that included a church spokesperson referring to Madonna as "a 50-year-old whore." This is the impression these actions made on the reporter I quoted above:
"In the Russian Orthodox Church's view, [the performance] was a satanic ritual. Which serves to prove, yet again, that the Russian Orthodox Church is as dogmatic as is a 40-year-old when it comes to new music. It is as crude as its spokesman's 'whore' remarks. And most of all, it is mean."

Once again, I fear, Christians will be known more for what we are against than for whom we serve and what we stand for. What a pity.


posted by Cary Fuller at 11:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/26/2006 08:04:00 AM, Anonymous soldiermom

    To me it seems Madonna is imitating Bono, only in her really amazingly gifted way of getting attention. She may be saying, "You people say that you are all to be like Christ, yet you allow these horrors to happen. You say you would die like he did, but can't get up off your knees long enough to help the widows and children." She is blasting Christianity, just as Bono does. I say, go for it Madonna, slap us silly, we probably disserve it. But don’t ignore the complacency of the other faiths, including your own. Raise awareness about the AIDS issue, get people talking, but don’t let it stop there, actually lead us to do something, besides attending your concerts and filling your pockets.

  • At 9/26/2006 09:09:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    Just by seeing pictures of "the Cross" performance, I was a little turned off. I would not have known that it was tied to all of that. I am still not sure how it sits with me, but I have my thoughts on Madonna anyway. Not that I know her, but from following her all these years, I think deep down there is a woman with a story to tell. Having lost her mother at a young age, and a strict, overbearing, Catholic father (at least what has been said), I think that there is a lot behind the woman. My hunch is that she was burned, or like many of us, was preached at all of her life, but many times didn't see Christ in all of the preaching.
    Sure it's for shock, but obviously it resonates with people, because she is hugely popular, and has had a long career.

  • At 9/28/2006 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I agree Christians will miss the message and give some just one more reason to assume that we are pointless...

  • At 9/29/2006 09:08:00 AM, Blogger From the Margins

    Cary ... you brought up a real tough one! I give kudos to SM and Michele for taking this on. Personally, I think both of you contributed some excellent both/and reflections. I wonder if the lack of posts on this one reflects the complex issues that one can see in this story.

    In my opinion, Madonna certainly makes a fair critique, but will "we" not hear the message because of the method of delivery?

    But then, what method of delivery IS making any difference within the evangelical crowd to address social justice issues? I sense deaf ears and hardened hearts in many arenas.

    So, maybe God has covered His bases and could be justly saying, "I am trying to deliver the message of my heart through every means possible and ya'all in my Church still aren't listening to my plea for meeting the needs of the hungry, sick and homeless. What else can I do?"

  • At 9/29/2006 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I agree Sherri. Maybe in "the Christian" world that is totally innapropriate no matter what the cause. Regardless, I think most people who look down on Madonna and criticize, probably don't have much to stand on, seeing as she may be doing much more to promote those causes and do what she can with her celebrity than many of her critics put together.
    I have often thought, I wonder how many out there are truely "following Christ" and helping all these causes, but may not "be" considered Christ followers? How many "Christ followers" aren't doing anything, or only help support the causes that "build up their world"? I bet the stats would shock us.


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