Friday, April 22, 2011

Gaga and Judas

A Psychologist’s Reflections on Gaga and Judas.
            All over the internet, writers like me are commenting on Gaga and her outrageous song Judas.  Again, the populous weighs in on her blasphemous lyrics and that it is the consensus that the church wants her to shut up and go away, especially the Catholic Church.  Maybe they are most ashamed because they educated her.   They seem to be feeling like a failure, but perhaps there was some strain of truth in what Gaga picked up from them and she has chosen to go viral with a Jesus message.
            As a psychologist with a strong history of theological studies, I find myself intrigued and captivated by Gaga’s obsession with Jesus. 
She admits in one of interviews that she is somewhat confused about religion. In an interview with Larry King she paradoxically calls he self very religious and then admits that she thinks religion is bogus.  I would be concerned if a twenty-five year old was not stating the truth, religion is confusing.  And, thank God, she does not think she knows it all.   Maybe some commentators should sit up and take notice.
The song, Judas, which has the Catholic Church in particular in an uproar today has very  interesting lyrics in it, here are a few from
1.. When he comes to me, I am ready
I'll wash his feet with my hair if he needs
Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain
Even after three times, he betrays me
In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offensed,
2… I wanna love you,
But something's pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue,
Judas is the demon I cling to
I cling to
Now, I am not sure what she means by those words but I am clearly confused why the church is so outraged?  Can’t she choose Judas over Jesus if she wants too?   But, that is not what I think she is saying at all.  I read online this morning that Gaga thinks God gave her the lyrics to Judas.  Let’s imagine that God did and if so what God might be saying to us as believers.
I have never heard a sermon on forgiveness about Judas as the betrayer.  Perhaps, we have missed the boat on the importance of forgiveness from the very beginning.  I have only heard hostile words and words commanding that we never act like Judas acted.  Gaga, in her lyrics shouts out the paradox.  She tells us clearly that betrayal and materialism are demons hard to pull away from and that their lure makes us feel like we are beyond repentance and forgiveness. Certainly, Judas was beyond forgiveness wasn’t he?  And if he was beyond forgiveness what does that say about you and me?  What does that say about one of the purposes of the Jesus story?   Did he only die for good people?   Perhaps?   If so, how does that belief serve us? 
            I am clearly fascinated by Gaga’s fixation on Jesus.  I will be continuing an ongoing commentary of her religious statements.  It has been a long time sense we have had so much religious controversy and clearly the pot is being stirred.  So whether it is Gaga or God stirring the pot, it seems that there is some sort of sociology going on here that I don’t want to miss. 
            As a side note, it has been awhile since I have looked up anything about Judas, so this morning I was surprised to find that in the 1970’s a Gospel of Judas was found and  it made a lot of headlines via National Geographic and the New York times in 2007.  I was even more surprised with all of the controversial theories about Judas.  The story I am familiar with is that Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver by turning Jesus’ whereabouts over to the Romans.  After that, Judas was overcome with guilt and hung himself.  Reading about Judas this morning online, I find that is just one of many theories.  So, Gaga has every right to be confused and to put her own spin on her beliefs just like the rest of us.