Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bald Britney

The sad demise of Ms. Britney Spears has taken another twist, she's gone skinhead. Britney's slide from grace has been story-boarded to us all through the cruel medium of the paparazzi lens - and it's been painful to watch. One of the things I remember about Britney when she first appeared as a pop star was that her kinky school uniform video didn't seem to fit at all with her virginal church-going interview persona. I wondered at the time why the faith she professed appeared to have no impact on the material she produced. Now I find myself wondering what sort of faith Britney had growing up - was it ever personal or only just part of middle-class Mississipi life?

The story of kids from Christian families deserting their faith in their teens and twenties has been acted and re-enacted over and over again. Now that I've become a parent it's becoming more relevant to me as I work through how to bring up my own kid. I've known two different seasons of difficulty in my faith life, the first in my late teens and the second in my late 20s / early 30s. At the age of about 15 I deliberately walked away from my faith, I thought the big wide world looked much more exciting that the strange little community I inhabited at the local church. I was right, it was far more exciting, for a few years. Eventually, having tasted pretty much all the world had to offer I found myself still yearning for something more. I found God again, or he found me, and it quickly became apparent that what I'd known as a kid was only a glimpse of the full life he desires to make available. Strangely, throughout those 6 years, much of which was spent in a drug-fuelled haze, I never stopped believing in God - that came later. From experience I can attest that losing your faith is more painful than the bruises you feel the morning after a street-fight. It's a deeper emptiness than attending the funeral of a friend. It's a blacker hole than a bad LSD trip. How I got there and how I got back is probably too much for one post so I'll tell you more about that another time. All I can say today is that looking back now I'm so glad I didn't have to deal with the consequences of my rebellion and the loss of my faith all at the same time.

I worry that Britney might be having to do that. I feel for her.

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Anonymous said...

I agree, it's sad to see Britney Spears crumble, but I do believe the press and some of the people around her are more than willing to help her on her way.

Britney Spears

spurious said...

If I could just make a quick request on the back of something you've mentioned in this post... I think the troubled period of mid to late teenage years for young Christians is relatively well documented and something many of us may have experienced. But I'm fascinated by the later problems you've faced and wonder, if it's not too personal for you, if you wouldn't mind sharing something of that time.

Spy Mattoid said...

I remember a conversation with a friend of mine who'd been reading about "the 5 (or 6) stages of the Christian journey", each a bit of a crisis where a Christian's faith changes style/essence slightly.

Unfortunately I can't remember the reference for it but maybe these stages are integral to our faith journey? I certainly get frustrated when it seems someone is arguing a particular point of faith out of a (for want of a better word) "lower" stage, but I've come to the conclusion that Christians need to experience these crises for themselves.

Maybe pain and feelings of emptiness are part of the Christian walk?

Matt Wilson said...

When I get time (currently in the middle of moving house!) I will blog a bit about my flickering faith. Kind of related - I spotted this statement by Paul last night whilst skimming through 2 Corinthians:
"When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus." (2 Cor 7:5-6)
It made me wonder whether too often I've been searching for answers instead of relationships.