The Gospel of Katy Perry

June 15, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - KATY PERRY performing at the launch of Volkswagen's 2011 New Compact Sedan in Times Square in New York City on 06-15-2010.  2010...K65180HMc. © Red Carpet Pictures

Yes, Christian rockstars are real. But Katy Perry isn't one. She years ago gave up on Christian music, and her image is anything but. Last week Perry appeared on a cliched cover of Rolling Stone under the headline: "Sex, God & Katy Perry: The Hard Road & Hot Times of a Fallen Angel." Perry told the magazine that she is still a Christian.

Christianity Today's entertainment blog excerpts one of the more choice quotes while revisiting a review the evangelical magazines sister's publication wrote eight years about Perry's Christian music:

"God is very much still a part of my life. But the way the details are told in the Bible -- that's very fuzzy for me. And I want to throw up when I saw that. But that's the truth. ... I still believe that Jesus is the son of God. But I also believe in extraterrestrials, and that there are people sent from God to be messengers, and all sorts of crazy stuff.

"I look up into the sky and I'm just mindf---ed -- all those stars and planets, the neverendingness of the universe. I just can't believe that we're the only polluting population. Every time I look up, I know that I'm nothing and there's something way beyond me. I don't think it's as simple as heaven and hell."

There are a lot of theological issues to unlock in that quote -- it's like Paul's letter to Rome for the uber-universalist. And I'm not sure how the Rolling Stone writer followed up on it because viewing the story online requires a subscription, and I can't even handle the six magazines I already get.

But I was able to access this story from The New York Times. It gives a nice window into Perry's life and a decent arc to her pop culture transformation. Still, the religious details are in want.

After mentioning early that Perry was raised an evangelical Christian but is now one of pop music's dirty girls, the reporter actually gives us a quick window into Perry's upbringing. The meat is only contained in this paragraph:

Ms. Perry was born Katy Hudson in California, the middle daughter of itinerant preachers who set up storefront churches and gave sermons around the country. (She uses her mother's maiden name to avoid confusion with the actress Kate Hudson.) Eventually they settled in Santa Barbara, Calif., where Ms. Perry attended a Christian school that, to her retrospective dismay, did not have "cute or sexy" uniforms, just plain old khaki ones. Her family spoke in tongues at home, and she sang in the church, picking up guitar and writing her own songs at 13, around the time she realized she was "an interesting little oddball," she said. She was kept away from mainstream pop culture but had some traditional Southern California pleasures' she went to a Christian surf camp where the kids prayed for big waves. "I was sheltered in a weird way," she said. "It was very, like, pick-and-choose."

Yes, Katy, I too wish that people reserved prayers for more meaningful needs -- or at least issues that He would expect us to take to him. I don't, however, think this should inspire a crisis of faith. I'm interested in details about her parents' ministry, though it's vague and raises more questions than it answers. And that's a funny line about the school uniforms.

But what was that about speaking tongues at home? Would they do this when filled with the Holy Spirit or just when sitting around the dinner table, much like a child who was very into Star Trek might talk Vulcan to his parents?

That question isn't answered. Instead that detail is left hanging, adding to the others and giving the impression that Katy Perry lived a very sheltered existence and that it's no wonder she "Kissed A Girl" and has become the creator of exactly the type of pop music her parents tried keeping her from.

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