What Miley Cyrus Can Teach Us About Christian Discipleship
I don't own an iPod, I'm rarely in a car so as to listen to a car radio, and don't have a boombox at home. So basically, I'm pretty detached from music, whether secular or religious.
So I was surprised to have recommended to me by my wife, for both the sound and the meaning, none other than a Miley Cyrus song. "The Climb" is, for a teen idol, a surprisingly mature exploration of doubt, perseverance, and perspective in the midst of life's obstacles. Particularly for someone who has a celeb dad, as well as more fame and fortune than any 16-year-old could want, it is impressive that Ms. Cyrus appreciates that life is ever full of uphill climbs, internal and external naysaying is ever present, and we don't always win.
The song's central metaphor of a mountain climb easily connects me to the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120 to 134). Three times a year, God's people journeyed upward to the mountain city of Jerusalem, singing the Songs of Ascents along the way. In these songs are a full gamut of emotions, apt for a people who experienced the full gamut of joys and sorrows.
So are our life narratives intertwined with victory and defeat, smooth sailing and bumpy waters, ecstasy and tragedy. Leave it to a timeless tale of a wandering and not always faithful people to gird us for the ardors and twists and steepness of our own faith journey. And leave it to a teenage pop star to encourage us to, amidst defeats and obstacles and naysayers, keep on climbing that climb.
Miley Cyrus, "The Climb"
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb
The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on
(Repeat Chorus 2x)