Open letter to Miley Cyrus

I was recently directed to an interview with Miley Cyrus in Parade. The interview reveals some thoughts on her move away from a young star branded as Hanna Montana into maturity and a more private life. More revealing is the fact that she was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in 2005 and gives some insight into how she sees her Christian faith. As a Southern Baptist, or more importantly, as a Christian I am concerned about Miley’s statements on Christianity.

I have this observation about American Christianity summed up with this statement – American Christians have freedom to their detriment.

We are free from persecution, accountability, responsibility, etc. There is a tendency to individualize Christianity to the extent that one’s Christian faith becomes like a get out of jail free card with no historical or theological context. The claim of “Jesus saved me” turns into a propositional statement void of any real meaning. The Christian faith is a living faith not one that is turned on and off at one’s convenience.

Upon reading Miley’s statements, understanding her influence and having a daughter of my own I thought about responding. I may still respond, but my friend and fellow blogger has already done so. And she has done so well. The open letter starts below.

Dear Miley,

I’m under no delusions that Miley Cyrus will ever read this, but I’m going to go ahead and call it an open letter to her all the same. Maybe someone else who needs to hear it will, and maybe it will give them something to think about:

I think it was maybe two or three years ago when I first started hearing about Hannah Montana. Not being a tween myself and not having girls who were tweens yet, Hannah Montana just wasn’t something that came across my radar. Then of course the girls heard about the show and watched it one day and that was that, they’ve liked Hannah ever since. Truth be told, I do too. The characters on the show (Hannah, Lily, Oliver, Jackson, Rico, Robbie Ray, etc.) are all fairly likeable characters and some are just plain funny in a very simple, innocent, fun way. Yes it’s true, I watch Hannah Montana with the kids. I watch most of the shows they watch to make sure what they’re watching is decent. I even know all the HSM songs, and Camp Rock songs, and do in fact think Sponge Bob and Fairly Odd Parents are two of the funniest cartoons going today. I know, it’s an occupational hazard. Go Wildcats!

Now, that’s my condensed version opinion about Hannah and the show and other kid-fare available today.

Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, is a completely different person than cutesy, likable, Hannah Montana. As adults we all know this, but as kids the lines are very blurred and that’s where the real issue is. She’s certainly not the only teen-pop-star who once did cutesy, innocent, fun, girly roles and then grew up and was no longer that cutesy little character. They all grow up, and they all do different things but the problem can be when your girls still want to follow their career, buy their music and see their movies even after they leave cutesy behind and start doing more adult type projects. Sometimes those adult type projects may not always be so wholesome and decent as the once cutesy girl was involved with. In the minds of the fans, it’s still “Hannah Montana” (or whatever character they happened to play at the time when the girls first “met” them) but in reality that’s not who or what they are at all. Sometimes, trying to explain that to a young girl who is a fan is like talking to a wall.

I thought about all this after I read Miley Cyrus’ recent interview with Parade. I’d seen it mentioned on twitter and clicked through to read it, since my girls are indeed fans of Hannah Montana. What I read left me rather disappointed. Now to some, no matter what I say in the way of observation about her statements in this interview, it’s going to come across as judgemental. The fact of the matter is however, she claims to be a Christian and the truth about what a Christian is, is not what she represented in this interview. Obviously she doesn’t realize what a true Biblical Christian is, and that’s a shame. No question about it, there are likely millions of people exactly like her who have these same kinds of ideas and think that makes them a Christian.
Read the whole thing…

tagged as in Culture,morality,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wes Widner March 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

Whining about Miley Cyrus, probably not going to persuade lost people to accept Christ and probably not going to produce much edification among the body of Christ.

2 Resequitur March 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Stalking folks’ blogs and commenting negatively on everything they post probably won’t either

3 Mark Lamprecht March 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Who is whining? That’s quite a uncharitable choice of words. You have no idea who it will or will not persuade so I’m glad you used the word “probably”. Do you think that Miley is going to persuade people to Christ? Or that her image and actions are going to edify?

I’m not whining nor angry, etc. I’m disappointed as the parent of a teen. Miley’s Disney show has been a decent, clean show, but now she is essentially shunning it. She is now proudly proclaiming that she’d pole dance again along side proclaiming Christ.

Her influence in this area remains to be seen, but it is still worth speaking about.

4 C.L. Bolt March 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Hey Wes,

Lots of people are not persuaded or edified by the Gospel. Does it follow that we should not preach it?

Oh one more thing. Please get over yourself.


5 Rhology March 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Wes can always be counted on to troll in and make a disparaging comment against someone who is attempting to explain or defend the Christian faith. Thanks Wes.

6 Wes Widner March 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Is pole dancing in and of itself wrong? Martha Stewart doesn’t seem to think so ( 😛

Seriously, though. We spout negative messages like this all the time and we wonder why our image is almost wholly negative. Is that what Jesus said we should be known for? Correcting adolescent teenage girls’ theological views?

7 C.L. Bolt March 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Was the video or the comment about pole dancing relevant in some way that I missed?

Seriously, though, Wes. You spout negative messages frequently.

Yes we should be correcting adolescent teenage girls’ theological views. Whom else do you think will do so Wes?

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 11.18-19)

You need to examine yourself Wes. Seriously.

8 Wes Widner March 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I apologize for not taking into account your lack of a sense of humor CL. Please feel free to ignore that section.

In regards to the rest of your comment as well as the one you left for me below all I have to say is: Really?

“Yes we should be correcting adolescent teenage girls’ theological views. Whom else do you think will do so Wes?”

Well, their parents for one thing. The verse you cited, along with the one Jewish kids learned several chapters before it in Deut 6:4 (the shema) seems to indicate that it is the parents primary responsibility to teach their children. I believe Billy Ray has and is doing that quite effectively with Miley all things considered (her comments in the Parade article seem to bear this out as well).

Oh, you might argue that it is our responsibility to help parents raise their children as part of a community of believers. But the key word there is “help”. I can tell you from experience (and speaking for my wife as well), when I meet random strangers who feel they know how to raise my children better than I it takes a fair amount of self-control not to punch them in the face. Like I said above, you have to earn the right to comment, critique, or “help”. You need to demonstrate more than a passing interest in me, my children, and my family. Same goes for Miley. Mark admitted he hadn’t followed Miley and only recently started looking into her after recieving a tweet regarding her interview in Parade.

I actually have followed Miley Cyrus somewhat (mostly because of my niece I swear!) and I have to say that such critique of her is really unwarranted. It reminds me of how Christians get all upset every Christmas over stores who won’t tell them “Merry Christmas”. Cry me a river.

Come on, we have much better things to do and discuss than an adolescent teenage girl.

I’m done here.

9 C.L. Bolt March 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I am not sure how my sense of humor or lack thereof is relevant to my question asking about the relevance of the video or corresponding comment but I will go ahead and ignore it.

I am not sure how “Really?” addresses any of my concerns here either.

Parents should certainly be indoctrinating their daughters as should the community of believers. Miley’s comments did not evidence that she has understood or practiced the Christian doctrine she learned from her parents (assuming that she did learn it from her parents).

“I can tell you from experience (and speaking for my wife as well), when I meet random strangers who feel they know how to raise my children better than I it takes a fair amount of self-control not to punch them in the face.”

Perhaps you should examine yourself with respect to this as well for a number of reasons.

“You need to demonstrate more than a passing interest in me, my children, and my family. Same goes for Miley.”

Aside from not really being relevant since Miley is a public figure who made the false and concerning comments that she did; this has nothing to do with your original comment which was, “Whining about Miley Cyrus, probably not going to persuade lost people to accept Christ and probably not going to produce much edification among the body of Christ.” I addressed that comment. You responded with a hollow, “Really?” I am not overly interested in your ad hoc justifications elsewhere.

“I have to say that such critique of her is really unwarranted.”

It is warranted by Scripture, truth, and love. I am telling you man, you need to check yourself. Your comments really concern me.

“Come on, we have much better things to do and discuss than an adolescent teenage girl.”

And yet you are here.

10 Rhology March 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

we have much better things to do and discuss than an adolescent teenage girl.

Oh, is that why you came here and spent the time you spent correcting the rest of us? How noble!

11 daniel lewis June 18, 2010 at 11:26 am

heres the thing, im a miley fan, i think she has a great talent, but I am concerned for her soul, she is of age, and accountable for her sins, as Christians, it is our job to reach out to the youth and tell them the truth of Jesus………you cant live any way you want to and expect to make it to heaven.

12 christian June 29, 2010 at 7:16 am

May God help her and bless her.

13 Rick July 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Miley is such a beautiful girl, very talented. God loves her but she should learn more
about God and read the gospells so that she can be a real Christian.

14 Johnny Daniel January 26, 2011 at 11:21 am

Miley Cyrus is a human being with her own insight and interpretation of what Jesus records in Scripture everybody knows that. My opinion on this disagreement is Jesus knows that she is His (out of pure faith in who she claims to be ) and knows why she does what she does whether it be good or bad!!! She is in fact learning from her mistakes and like an important someone said,”The number one most important ingredient for success is failure!” I believe that quote and have benefited greatly by that! So she is experiencing wrong and right in her life given to her by her LORD JESUS and GOD will continue to protect her from those who right judgmental words online about her and for her to possibly read!!! It to me is a waste of our valuable energy! Jesus doesn’t want us glancing one look at someone else’s life and then implying doubts about her GOD-given faith that doesn’t always show 100 percent of the time leaving people distracted from their own walk with their only LORD! I’m sure her father would agree that she in fact is a believer in JESUS CHRIST and in my opinion this is another sly and sneaky way for our enemy to creep in unawares and try to rip off her love and stand for JESUS CHRIST by the voice of another believer in JESUS CHRIST! But that is the way it is sometimes I’m convinced in my own mind and MILEY FANS (CHRISTIAN and non-CHRISTIAN alike) let’s voice out words of comfort and encouragement for this wonderful girl and DROWN OUT the negative with the positive why because we know that she is trying to be a light in this crazy dark planet! LET’S UNITE AS ONE FOR HER ENCOURAGEMENT DURING HER FAMILY’S TOUGH TIMES!!! SHE NEEDS TO KNOW YOU BELIEVE IN HER!!!

15 Erik February 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

Ps 2. God Bless You, Miley. I pray that the LORD your God guides you and opens your eyes on the ‘not so unimportant’ subject of modesty. Ponder it, pray on it. You can also look very feminine and even ‘sexy’ when you dress a little more modestly and don’t do pole dancing in front of an audience! ;-D

16 Erik February 18, 2012 at 8:47 am

Something went wrong…here’s my entire comment:

Interesting letter! I’m with you on quite some points, especially the ones on modesty! However, I’d have to say that christians in general don’t follow Jesus, at all. They follow a paganized version of the real Jesus, who’s name is Yeshua. Christians often don’t know what it means to follow Christ. They judge other believers according to christianity and forget that not one person in the Bible EVER created a new religion called christianity and the Church how we know it. Christians firmly believe in a Trinity (while God ALWAYS tells He is One, as Jesus also affirms everywhere! The Trinity is a concept instituted by Roman Catholicism around 300-400 years after Jesus walked the earth), they celebrate Christmas, Easter and Sunday and eat unclean animals which on top of that still contain blood, i.e. life (Acts 15 at the end strictly commands to abstain from all of this as new non-Jewish believers in the God of Israel!!). Christians believe that the Church in one way or another is the successor of God’s only chosen people, Israel (while Romans 9-11 clearly shows that it’s Israel ON WHICH gentile believers are planted!). They in some denominations believe that speaking in tongues, falling and rolling on the floor and making insane noises is from the Holy Spirit, while the Bible means only speaking in LANGUAGES (“tongues”), clearly shown! And this is just the tip of the iceberg! I’ve come to the conclusion, sadly of course, that I learned so much more outside of the Church then inside it! Still go like twice a month, but mostly to show my face and sometimes a good sermon. My faith in the One God of Israel through His servant and son Jesus grew amazingly ever since I discovered that Israel is still His people. The church has lost its blessing long ago (in Genesis God says to Abraham “I bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you” with which He said “anyone who distances himself from faith in my plan with my people Israel, I will curse”) because of its arrogance to Jews and by that toward the Lord Jesus, our Saviour himself. Repent christians and meet your True Lord! And Miley, well, same story to her, but you might be surprised how much closer she is coming to the LORD outside of the church, the bastion of Christian dogmatic religion! She is still young and Gods Spirit strong! Judging her TOTAL faith on just a little interview with a couple of things expressed, is pretty dangerous. I know and believe you can recognize a tree by its fruits, but be careful! First focus on your own beams, then on Miley’s splinter! We ALL make mistakes and at some time judge things or situations wrongly, Miley might do so on modesty, but most christians on an enormous load of things and dare to declare those things and practices holy! Miley at least admits she talks for herself! No, I don’t agree with her, but in many things even less with most christians!

God bless y’all through Messiah Yeshua!

A follower of Messiah.

ps. when it comes to fellowship, Jesus tells “when two, three or more are gathered, I am in their midst”! That’s fellowship, too! It’s about connecting to other believers (yes, all people who learn as long as they live and make mistakes as long as they live!) and hey, many people found fellowship and great blessed ways of learning and deepening faith through the internet! 😉

Ps 2. God Bless You, Miley. I pray that the LORD your God guides you and opens your eyes on the ‘not so unimportant’ subject of modesty. Ponder it, pray on it. You can also look very feminine and even ‘sexy’ when you dress a little more modestly and don’t do pole dancing in front of an audience! ;-D

17 daniel February 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

Since this blog originally started, she has now done more things to make us question her….. not judge, question. I continue to pray for her, because as a celebrity who claims to be a follower of christ she holds even more responsibilty for leading people astray. I do not doubt her love for christ, but licking a penis shaped cake is certanly not showing that, or having a mixed drink named after you, or playing in roles where your character drinks, cusses, smokes and losses her virginity is certainly not edifying jesus. (Please look up her character for her role in LOL) I agree that she has to grow up and mature, buut do you really call these actions mature? If your own children weere doing this how would you feel? I do not judge her, but only pray that God lead her back in. I miss the girl who at award shows would say thatnks to jesus…. I really miss that girl.

18 Peter L February 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

Erik- My, my! Where to begin? First, I do differentiate between the organized religion called “Christianity” and the true church, which is made up of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (the Greek rendition of Yeshua).

Second, Hebrews 10 tells us not to forsake the gathering of the believers, so by not attending “church” you are going against the scripture. That said, I realize not all organized “churches” are following the New Testament pattern given to us in the Book of Acts. But then, there will be no “perfect church” on earth, ever, because man is by nature sinful, and anything man does has that base. So, keep looking for a gathering of believers that comes closest to what you believe, then commit yourself to that “church”. I meet in a farm house with a dozen or so others every Lord’s day, following the pattern the early church did by breaking bread on the first day of the week. (Look it up, it’s in the book of Acts.)

Finally (though there is more I could say), Jesus gives us the okay to eat any foods, whether allowed to Jews (clean) or not (unclean) in Mark 7. The Pharisees had complained about the disciples eating without first ceremoniallly washing their hands. Jesus proclaimed that what we eat does not defiel us, but what we say and do. The New American Standard Bible adds that he proclaimed all foods clean with this statement. Then in Acts 10, Peter has a vision prior to going to Cornelius’s house, of a sheet with all kinds of animals on it, both clean and unclean. He is told “Kill and eat,” but he refuses saying he has never eaten anything unclean. At this point (vs 15) “the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” So, we as Christians do not have the dietary prohibitions of the Jews in the Old Testament.

I’ll leave your error of the trinity to those here who are better studied than I am.

19 Erik February 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Well Peter,
First my apologies for putting up such a lot of subjects. I realize it’s a lot.

How come that first Acts 10 would tell us that everything is permitted to eat and later Acts 15 is telling us the opposite? Is Scripture breaking itself here?
If you look a little further in the account of Peter and the sheet you will see that Peter was kind of baffled, and pondering the meaning of this unusual vision (v. 17). Then he realized that God told him by way of it that he was not allowed to render gentiles (ritually) unclean anymore ONCE THEY BECOME BELIEVERS (v.28). So basically it’s not about food, at all. Peter, as a devout Jew would indeed never eat anything unclean. And would not his God punish Him harshly for disobeying the eating of the animals for three times? I am certain. Why else would He, for example, take the souls of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), after they refused to obey Him? Peter’s situation seems like a weightier transgression.

As for Mark 7…Jesus is not speaking about food. First off, food, in the eyes of Jesus (and Peter, et al) was only that which was designated as food by Law, as they kept the Torah (teaching) of the LORD God. But He was speaking about a purely moral issue here.
Ask yourself the question: could Jesus have been the Messiah and Saviour had He abolished the Torah/”Law”? Deuteronomy 13 (NIV) clearly tells the people of Israel to abandon false prophets who turn them away from the LORD’s Way (Torah/Law) and even put them to death.
So now you got two options, in essence: 1. Jesus indeed abolished the Law and is a false prophet and can certainly not be the Messiah and saviour, 2. Jesus did not abolish the Law (as He indeed affirmed in Matthew 5:17 and further) and is the Messiah and Saviour. It can’t be 50/50, my brother.

God Bless You Richly,


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