12.08.2015

Yes, I went to see Justin Bieber.

Here's the thing, when I read the headline How Justin Bieber turned the Staples Center into a megachurch I had to see what was going on for myself.




For years, I've been a fan of The Biebs or JB as he is called in our home. Having a teenaged girl in the house helps keep me up to date on JB. Baby is still on my running playlist, even though I don't run anymore. Hmm. We've been to the early concerts and I even accidentally saw him when I went to a live taping of The View. I say accidentally because we, my friend Susan and I, had no way of knowing who was going to be the guest on the one day we scored tickets. My girl had actually been to his concert in Houston the night before. Who would've guessed I would be in the same room as him in NYC the next morning. She died of jealousy. I laughed at the odds. 

Anyway, we are still old school, as in our car still plays actual CD's. One of which is the Jesus Is CD by Judah Smith. I would describe it as a bunch of short sermons, but the fact that we listen to it over and over in the car makes us sound so weird, so I'll tell you it's called a Music Project.

One of the tracks is called Jesus is our Advocate (link below). In it Judah mentions pastoring some artists and gives a great perspective on advocate versus accuser. With this tucked away in my mind, I have seen photos and heard statements of Judah being a friend to Justin. In my own circles, I've heard negative statements about this. I didn't agree, but at the same time Justin in the last several years wasn't helping opinions. 

Not long ago Justin turned 21 and celebrated with a roast on Comedy Central. I read somewhere that he did the roast so that everyone could get all the laughs at his expense out, and then to say I'm starting a new chapter, and I'm sorry. 

"The things that I've done really don't really define who I am," he said. "I am a kind-hearted person who loves people, and through it all I lost some of my best qualities. For that, I'm sorry." - JB (source



It thought it was a Man Up moment. And it was enough to make me cheer for him as he tried to make a change. 

As someone who has worked with Students for what sometimes feels like 15 thousand years, this was two fold cheering. 

On one hand I was cheering for all the pastors and people who love him who never give up. Even when it may have been scandalous as a pastor to walk by his side. I wanted to high five these people for enduring in love, teaching grace, over and over again. This is not easy, people. Listen again, this is not easy. 

And two, I simply wanted to cheer on this guy trying to come back, all wobbly legged, to life, to faith. Can you even imagine yourself having messed up royally in front of the entire world, then trying to say I'm sorry, can I have another chance? I can't even begin to imagine. 

Article after article came out on Justin Bieber and his Christian faith. I couldn't keep my cheers quiet. I wanted Students I know to be reading, cheering along, seeing grace. Nothing about the articles were perfect, far from, they didn't present a role model, they simply said this is a guy who had lost his life, but was now trying to find it. 

His next album had released and with it he was going to do a few album release shows. He had something to say about what he has deemed Purpose: The Movement. Because my girl couldn't go I had decided to not go either. Until I saw the turning the Staples Center into a megachurch article. Tickets were still available the day before for $18 so I had no excuse not to go.




You'd be right to imagine thousands and thousands of teenaged girls dressed like they were hitting up a club, so many high heels. And then right beside them, there was me and my three girlfriends. If only we could have bottled up the nervous energy trapped in the Toyota Center. It was epic to be around. Justin got on stage and tried to calm the crowd down so they could hear what he wanted to say. This was more of a sit down and talk than a concert. It sort of worked. (side note: It reminded me about scripture I had just read of Jesus after he had fed the multitudes. He was followed and asked to do more signs and wonders. They weren't understanding that Jesus was the sign and wonder.) Justin was trying to tell the crowd about this change in his life, something profound that he seemed to feel strongly about, and they just wanted to see him take off his beanie or T shirt. He pressed on, whether it was understood or not.




I happen to love the new album. And I have watched all the Purpose videos. There is one which appears to be Justin fighting the devil and one has two ballet dancers that seems to have a much deeper meaning. On the album they play in that order. I think it's on purpose. My girlfriends and I sat and watched all of the videos trying to decipher the meanings. Who knows if we are right on but it was fun trying. 

I know this post is getting way too long and choppy, but I guess I am saying all of these words to say this one thing, let's err on the side of being for people coming back to faith, let's definitely not be against. Especially the ones who have failed big before us. Let's be wild lovers of people, who give grace in heaps, and hold people up as they walk forward. And if they fall again, let's pick them back up and keep walking. Let's be people who teach our kids this grace is for all, especially the ones who seem like they deserve it the least. Let's be advocates of people. I dare us


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