Do you know what the most viewed video on Youtube of all-time is? It’s this one and it’s been viewed over 600 MILLION times since it was posted last year:
This is no surprise to anyone remotely tuned into pop-culture. But just made me think about the capacity of the Church’s efforts to shape culture ... vs. the capacity of the Bieber to do so. It’s not really fair to compare the two, as it really shouldn’t be one or the other. But I guess that’s my point.
I mean, the Church does a lot of work to change hearts and minds, working for justice and sharing truth. And it is ALL every bit worth it, it’s essential and we need much more of it. So don’t misunderstand me. But it’s always a good idea to reflect on how we might be able to do it more effectively.
After all, it’s hard not to at least question, for instance, whether or not Justin Bieber’s pro-life remarks earlier this year perhaps had a more profound impact on creating a culture of life than anything the Church has done in recent years—particularly with the youth (you know, the “future”). I think the answer might be yes.
If so, then logically, what we need to do is create like a Justin Bieber factory. Like a little teen celebrity factory, except with really good catechesis. And it sends young men and women out to infiltrate pop-culture like “baby, baby, baby ooooo” and instead of the next generation thinking it’s cool to be a single mom or to swing both ways, they’ll think it’s cool to go to Mass, pray a lot and discern one’s vocation.
And I don’t mean they’ll think it’s cool like it’s cool to wear a rosary around your neck (but not pray it) or to get Hebrew scripture tattoos (that you can’t understand). I mean they’ll think it’s cool like Justin Bieber is still cool even after admitting he’s pro-life.
By the way, another name for these little factories is “the family.” We just need to remind ourselves that it’s not just the job of priests and theologians to evangelize. Effective evangelization, just like in any ministry, is as much (if not more) about leadership as theology. This is as true for youth ministers as it is for pop-stars. The theology must be correct. But leadership and cultural influence will largely determine who hears about it. The Church is great at the theology. But maybe we need to put some effort into making some more Biebers? eh?
What do you all think?
Matthew Warner is a lover of God, his wife, his kids, his life, cookies, hot-buttered bread, snoozin’ & awkward (as well as not awkward) silence.