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Responding to Miley Cyrus' VMA Performance

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  • 2013 Aug 27

Two days after the MTV Video Music Awards, everyone is still talking about Miley Cyrus' sexually charged performance. She did her best to shock the audience, and judging by the reaction from the media, the Internet, other celebrities and the millions who watched the show or have since seen the clip, it is obvious she succeeded. The reaction has largely been a mix of disgust and sadness, with most left wondering how the former Hannah Montana star and role model to millions of little girls could end up like this at age 20. Now, amid the media storm, Christian bloggers are beginning to tackle the question most of us are wondering: How do we best respond to Miley?

Trevin Wax, in his blog on the Gospel Coalition, said he was initially shocked, then sickened, then saddened by the news report on Miley's performance. "What kind of people are we?" he wrote. "What kind of culture have we created? What do we want our children to be?" Wax said he pondered those questions for the rest of the day. But then, he said, "no more wondering. Tonight, I weep. ... I weep for the lostness of a girl who doesn't see herself stumbling around in the dark. I weep for the news channels that profit from their all-day coverage of a young woman spiraling out of control. ... I weep for an entertainment culture that celebrates the breaking of every social taboo and the casting off of every restraint, only then to turn and mock the stars that follow suit. ... I weep for women enslaved by a false view of sexual liberation. I weep for men (myself included) who have failed to say, 'Enough is enough.' ... I weep for the broken, messed-up world we live in. But then I weep at the power of grace. There's Jesus, lifting the head of a woman of the night and sending her away into the light. There's Jesus in a crowd, healing a woman desperately trying to cover the shame. There's Jesus at the well, transforming a woman tossed aside by multiple men. Weeping is no longer enough. Now, I pray."

Brant Hansen, in his blog on Air1 Radio's website, states: "I'd like to apologize to Miley Cyrus on behalf of all adults." Why? "Adults are supposed to protect young people. Adults are supposed to refuse to treat young people like little gods, put them on pedestals, and parade them on stages. But adults do it, anyway, and our culture is just dumb, and just numb, enough to act like it's perfectly normal. Turns out, as we've always known, celebrity messes with people's heads, particularly the young. ... Kids don't need more kids. They know plenty of them. Kids need adults, actual adults, adults adult enough to reject a culture that is so bored, so dead, that it can only feel alive if given one more jolt, one more shock. And it's hard to shock, anymore, but Miley hit that mark. ... Adults aren't supposed to make kids into celebrities. We're not supposed to let kids just 'follow their dreams' without regard to how foolishly tragic said dreams might be. We're supposed to step in."

"How do we help Miley?" asks author and blogger Annie Downs. "We speak love to her. I know, I know. You're mad that your teen sister or young daughter was exposed to that behavior! and where is culture going? and am I defending her? and aren't I grossed out by what I saw? and isn't she crazy? and why am I not expressing pure outrage because I'm a teen Christian author? I know. But in my heart, I don't feel outrage. I'm very sad for her. ... While today's headlines are tearing her to shreds, we as Christians HAVE to sound different than the world. We HAVE to yell a different chant in her direction about how God made her on purpose and how she is valuable because of WHO she is, not WHAT she does. I'm not saying we ignore the influence she is having, but if we want to help her ... then we have to look at her with eyes of compassion and have our words sound from there."

As we continue to ponder Miley's performance and the ongoing reactions to it, what do you believe is the best way for Christians to respond? How can we best approach this topic with our families, with our kids, and with the world?

Anna Kuta is the editor of