He’s been around for centuries: the teen boy idol. He just takes on a new face and name every 3-5 years. The current post-holder? Justin Bieber.
As of this writing, he has over 22 MILLION followers on Twitter (surpassed by a relatively small margin by only one other Twitter user, Lady Gaga). That’s more than Barack Obama and LeBron James combined. That’s more than the total population of the State of New York. That’s a lot of people. And many of them are preteens and kids in your Children’s Ministry at church.
Here is one of his most recent posts to his cadre of screaming fans: “seeing alot of your tweets tonight. want to let you all know out there to stay strong and know you are loved. gnite and im there with u.”
…..Great, I’m glad to hear that Mr. Beiber is there with me. He even tells me gnite. How personal.
I understand that there is something in the human psyche that wants to admire and idolize other humans for various reasons. We especially love seeing someone rise from commonness to greatness rapidly (as did Bieber through YouTube).
According to the article about him on Wikipedia, Bieber’s stated faith is Christianity and he has taken a public stance on hot topics such as abortion (he’s pro-life) and homosexuality (he believes its “everyone’s own decision”). He was even one of the primary catalysts for widespread public discussion on the Egyptian Revolution (via twitter). This is a very influential person.
Yet, I’d like to suggest that our deep longing to “follow” greatness comes from the “God-shaped hole” in our hearts spoken of by C.S. Lewis. Only God can truly fill that hole in our hearts for eternal love, forgiveness, freedom, and satisfaction. Teen idols (and any other idol for that matter) may fill a temporary void in our hearts, but never eternally as God the Father can.
Let’s be proactive with our kids and encourage them to appreciate great talent and art (which Bieber posseses) without elevating these individuals to anything near idol status. There is only room for One in our God-shaped hearts (Revelation 15:14).
What do you think? How do you talk to your kids (in your family or in your ministry) about Bieber and teen idols?
Remember Davey Jones, The Fonz, Rick Springfield, N’Sync, Zac Efron, Backstreet Boys, The Jonas Bros?
Talented? Of course. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in this position of influence. But nonetheless, they come and they go.
And so will Justin Bieber.