Taylor Swift and the Cultural Church

I do not understand Taylor Swift, but she understands today’s cultural environment. Last week she released The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, a double record album with 31 new songs. An unprecedented 1.4 million albums were sold within the first 24 hours at $15 each. The math on that is too high for me to understand. I am an older gentleman and catching all the words in her music is hard. This is her eleventh album, so there is a great deal of backstory in her music. I can listen to the album free right now. I do understand her sentiments in songs like I Can Do It with a Broken Heart, Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me? and Guilty as Sin? My novice assessment is that Taylor Swift is in the tradition of the confessional poet and her songs seem like a peek into her private daily journal. That is why they are so relatable to her fans, who come from all age groups. She seems to have a very strong work ethic and business sense. She understands our culture.

Seminarians are taught that for missionaries to reach any foreign people group, it is wise to learn the culture and traditions of the people as well as the language. Missions is hard because it requires work, patience, empathy and understanding. It moves us outside our comfortable ways into unfamiliar places seeking to build healthy relationships. Taylor Swift leads a cultural “church” where people gather by the thousands to sing her songs of pain and suffering, joy and love. All manner of groups gather to discuss her lyrics and piece together the timelines of her life and relationships. Her every move is watched because she has such a profound influence on a world-wide scale.  On a personal note, I believe there are parallels to Christianity which should not be ignored. The American church is in a Post Evangelical shift. The old wineskins of evangelicalism are breaking apart. The tenants of faith are being replaced by the tenants of secular politics. The confessions of faith are being replaced by the greediness of power and money. The good news of the gospel is being corrupted by meanness, cruelty, and exclusion directed towards sinners and outsiders. God loves us all. Jesus died for us all. Christ is Lord of all. Let’s always confess Jesus.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Share the Good News. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

Share this webpage: Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedin