GUEST POST by Jonathan McKee. Jonathan has become a regular guest blogger on this site! He is the author of numerous books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, as well as youth ministry books like Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. You can find his excellent blog here.

Her name is Katy Hudson. She cut her teeth in the Christian music scene, but found her niche in secular markets. Fame, multiple #1s, a quick marriage, a divorce… and now the much more pensive and reflective singer is releasing a movie about her life story.

I’m talking about the young woman that you know as Katy Perry. She’s a born leader. The question is… where is she leading us?

Question: How many songs from Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream album have gone #1 on billboard’s charts so far?

Answer: The answer is a record-setting 5 songs. Katy was the first woman to ever achieve this, and the second overall, tying Michael Jackson when he set the record with his album “Bad” in 87-88.

Question: Are kids still listening to her today?

Answer: She has a song at #2 on iTunes today, a video in the top 10, and a song in the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart right now. You tell me!

Why do we care? Because everywhere our kids go, her music is pumping, her videos are playing… and kids eagerly await the release of the movie about her life story releasing July 3rd. Let’s face it.

Bottom line: Katy has our kids’ eyes and ears.

Katy is an interesting cultural icon. The first time most of us heard her is when she was singing the lyrics, “I kissed a girl and I liked it,” grabbing the attention of most of the world with that one, and finding the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Some predicted she would be a one-hit wonder, but she quickly proved that wrong with Hot N Cold a few months later, riding the charts all the way up to #3.

By the time her Teenage Dream album came out in 2010, people realized this girl wasn’t playing around. Five songs went #1. But the Katy hype didn’t fizzle out. This year her song Part of Me went #1, and as I write this, her song Wide Awake is already in the top 10 after just 3 weeks on the charts.

So what are our kids gleaning from Katy?

I guess that depends. In 2010, I questioned whether she was good for our kids. But the 2010 Katy seems a little different than the 2012 Katy, and her content appears to be taking a turn from “reckless fun” to “sentimental” and “introspective.”

I can’t say I’m upset with this segue, because where Katy used to be kissing girls, laying naked on a cloud, and shooting whip cream from her breasts… now she seems to be reflecting back on her life decisions, questioning them, and weighing out the consequences. Consider her recent hits:

•In “The One Who Got Away” she mourns the lost of a past relationship where her lover died.
•In the “Part of Me” video she breaks free from a harmful relationship and decides to do something productive with her life, joining the military.
•In “Wide Awake” she question her past decision-making and states that she “wish I knew then what I know now.” The music video is intriguing. Some of her lyrics may even draw from imagery from her church upbringing.

I’m wide awake
Yeah, I am born again
Outta the lion’s den
I don’t have to pretend
And it’s too late
The story’s over now, the end

[Pre-Chorus] I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn’t dive in
Wouldn’t bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
‘Til I woke up on
On the concrete

Time will tell where Katy decides to take her career. I recently wrote her a letter encouraging her to consider the impact she has as a role model in the lives of young girls especially. Are these some of the decisions she’s questioning?

Pray for Katy Hudson… she’s standing at the crossroads.

Question: What are some ways we can equip young people to make good media decisions, teaching them to think “Christian-ly” about what they soak in each day? Is it even possible? Share thoughts here.

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