The Source for Youth Ministry
RSS PRINTER FRIENDLY
CLICK HERE for more great youth culture window articles
Youth Culture Window



Lady Gaga "Vomits" Judas
Choosing Between Traitor and Savior
An article from David R. Smith at TheSource4YM.com
4/22/2011

Ahhh Easter…a season to focus on Jesus, His death, and His resurrection. Serious reflection usually brings new reasons to love Him. Orrrr…we could ponder Lady Gaga’s new song Judas, and try to understand why she chooses a traitor over the Savior.


Introducing Judas
Judas is the latest single to be released off of Lady Gaga’s album Born This Way. Its original release date of April 19th was wildly anticipated by millions of her “monsters” (fans) – so wildly, in fact, that the release date had to be advanced after a British radio station prematurely played the tune on April 15th. (As of this writing, the song has only been on the airwaves for 6 days, and it’s already cracked Billboard’s Top 10.)

To promote the new tune, Lady Gaga employed her video blog aptly titled Gagavision. In Gagavision #41, the singer teases her viewers at the end by saying, “So that concludes Gagavision Number 41. 'Judas' is coming. Let the cultural baptism begin.” A message then reads: “Judas April 19. If they were not who you were taught they would be, would you still believe?”

Musically-speaking, Judas is exactly what someone familiar with Gaga’s music would expect: lots of synthesizer sounds, some chanting, and lyrics that excite some…and enrage others. (More on that in a moment.) Likewise, the musical reviews of the single are also mixed. Regardless, as always, kids have easy access to the song via iTunes or even for free on YouTube (for those of you that want to listen to the song for yourself).

Judging Judas
Several Christian entities have leveled criticism at Gaga for the religious overtones in her song. In this single, Gaga makes a multitude of religious/biblical references – some clear, some vague, and some inaccurate – that cause representatives of orthodox belief to raise a skeptical eyebrow.

Gaga’s response?

In an interview with the United Kingdom’s NME, Lady Gaga replies, “I feel like honestly that God sent me those lyrics and that melody. When you feel a message to give to the world and people are shooting arrows through it... there's no way for something that pure to be wrong.”

So…what are those lyrics?

Here’s a stanza taken from her new song:
    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,
    Or wear ear condom next time
The rest of the lyrics can be found here…if you can understand them.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Geez…that sounds like she just vomited on paper for 15 minutes…and then sold it as a song.”

Ummm…you might actually be right.

In Gagavision #43 (warning: coarse language), Lady Gaga – while sitting in a tub wearing horns on her shoulders – admits, “I wrote it [Judas] really quick. I mean, all of the songs on the album, to be completely candid, the creative process is approximately a 15-minute vomiting. It’s 15 minutes of vomiting my creative ideas in the forms of melodies, usually, or chord progressions and melodies and some sort of a theme, lyric idea. It all happens in approximately 15 minutes, of this, like, giant regurgitation of my thoughts and feelings. And then I spend days, weeks, months, years fine tuning. But the idea is that you honor your vomit.”

So…Lady Gaga – herself – reduces her music to finely tuned vomit. Finely tuned vomit that’s been inspired by God.

Hey…she’s the one who said it.

Cultural Baptism
Lady Gaga’s promotion of Judas promised a “cultural baptism.” But what does she mean by that?

Does Lady Gaga feel betrayed by culture? Is she hoping to baptize others into her preferential culture? Does she identify with someone in Scripture? (At some points, she seems to be portraying Mary: I’ll wash his feet with my hair if he needs. At other points, she almost sings from the standpoint of Jesus: Even after three times, he betrays me. [No one in Scripture gets betrayed three times; Peter denied Jesus three times.] Still other references hint at a Roman – or Jewish – official: I’ll bring him down, bring him down, down, a king with no crown, king with no crown.)

More than likely, these lyrics just reveal Lady Gaga’s need for identity, relationship, and community. At its core, baptism offers a person an association with a particular group (like a Christian gets with the church). Just like every human, Lady Gaga desires a deep connection with others; she wants to be wanted. Unfortunately, her pursuit of that desire seems to be leading her in the wrong direction. Take a look:
    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)
    I’m just a Holy fool, oh baby he's so cruel
    But I’m still in love with Judas, baby
    I’m just a Holy fool, oh baby he's so cruel
    But I'm still in love with Judas, baby
    Oh-oh-oh-ohoo I’m in love with Juda-as, Juda-as
    Oh-oh-oh-ohoo I’m in love with Juda-as, Juda-as
Sadly, when given the opportunity to identify herself with Jesus (her virtue), she chooses Judas (her demon), instead. When she has the prerogative to choose, she chooses the one who greedily betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26). Buried inside the many questions her song raises is this one blaring reality: Lady Gaga connects with Judas more than Jesus.

How do we prevent our teenagers from making the same choice?

Raising (the Right) Questions
I must admit, there are many facets of this song I do not understand; it seems largely nonsensical to me. The forthcoming music video will probably shed a lot of light on exactly what Gaga is trying to accomplish. In the meantime, it might be best for you to shed some of your own light onto the topic.

One of the best ways to help teenagers grapple with this song and its message is to ask them several questions about it. Here are a few simple questions to jumpstart your conversation. (Before you launch into a discussion with your teens, realize two things: first, you might not like their answers all the time, and second, they might ask you a few questions in response. Bottom line: be prepared.)

  1. What do you think the song Judas is really about?

  2. What do you know about Jesus and Judas? (You might point out that Judas was a traitor, and traitors betray. Jesus was the Savior, and the Savior saves.)

  3. If one thing is clear from this song, it’s that Lady Gaga chooses Judas over Jesus. Why do you think she does that?

  4. In what ways is Lady Gaga’s song consistent with Scripture? In what ways is it inconsistent?

  5. In your life, do you ever choose Judas over Jesus? If so, how?

  6. What’s one thing you need to do differently in life that will identify you with Jesus instead of Judas?

As I read Lady Gaga describe her music as “vomit,” I couldn’t help but think of the ancient saying in Proverbs 26:11 that reads, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” If we have honest and genuine conversations with our kids – asking and answering questions – we might be able to keep them from returning to Lady Gaga’s vomit.


David R. Smith David R. Smith is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year, Ministry By Teenagers. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org. David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.



Rate This Article!
*Name:  
*Email:  What is Gravatar?  
 Website:
 Comment:

Comments on this post

   Alex Wright         3/1/2012 10:56:00 AM

Another fine example of Christians pointing the finger at the culture and saying, "Look at how bad they are! Stay away!" When we only focus on the evils in society we set ourselves up to be mocked and the gospel is scandalized. It's our own fault. When Paul goes to Athens in Acts 17, he doesn't tell the people, "You're so bad, you worship all these idols, you're all going to hell! And all you Christians, let this be a lesson to you, stay away from these pagans!" No, he gently meets them where they are, loves them in the midst of their ignorance, seeks to understand them, learns (and quotes!) their poetry, and woos them to a better gospel, the gospel of Jesus, that embraces *even them!* Gaga is like Eminem to me...she really gets a good portion of the gospel correct. Whereas he fully understands sin and his own brokenness, she is on to something with this "love of God" thing that actually extends to the most marginalized in society. They both miss Jesus and that's the most important part, but let's meet them where they are and engage the conversation instead of pointing the finger, extolling our virtues and their evils, and continuing to misrepresent Jesus to a hurting world. Here's a different spin on Gaga, one that builds bridges instead of blowing them up: http://thecresset.org/2012/Lent/Scharen_L2012.html

   Chris McGough         7/28/2011 12:08:19 AM

The Vigilant Citizen casts a completely different light on the intent/meaning of this song at http://vigilantcitizen.com/musicbusiness/lady-gagas-judas-and-the-age-of-horus/. It is very evident that Lady Gaga is replete with occultic overtones and undertones. The name of the game in the end-times is deception. Deception only works if there is something to hide in. Judas isn't a song that Lady Gaga wrote with the direct intent of stirring up Christians and to gain attention through controversial lyrics and presentation, but to use that as a vehicle for a deceptive, indirect subconscious message to be broadcast.

   Amy Longanecker          5/31/2011 12:08:10 PM

I was just introduced to this artical today, I totally agree with the things you wrote. I preached on influences a couple months back and Lady Gaga was at the top of my list. It makes you take notice of 2 Th 2:3-4. Looking at this from a students prospective who is not in church, they are being deceived. Entertainment is everything in our culture, it's all students know. So when a song like this comes out they like the beat and the whole weirdness that Lady G offers, the sad part is she is totally deceiving what could be the most influentual generation for Christ our country has ever known. Let's face it, students can quote a song from heart but when it comes to quoting a bible verse all they can get down is "Jesus wept". Why is that? Because students want something that's relvent in their lives, when people take away the relevance of the bible they are playing with fire. Lady G is horribly lost, and she's taking the generations behind us down. Her video is sad and disturbing, but the fact that she has taken some interest in the bible and the story about Judas means she is searching. Lady G needs Jesus, but now it's our job as followers of Christ to stand up for the generations behind us and share the truth. Is what she's doing making me upset or angry? No, it makes me realize how lost our world is and how much people are really searching for something tangable. My heart breaks for Lady G because I know she's searching. Now more then ever we have to step in and show people who the real Jesus is. Thanks for the artical!

   Craig McCourt         5/16/2011 9:26:37 AM

Thanks David for your time and care for youth and your take on this song. I have been in Youth Ministry for more than 25 years, I have worked for Christian Record companies, and promoted Christian and non Christian music as a way to reach youth. Many of the comments try to pull a redeeming plot line to this song - one of our eternal struggle between sinner and saint. I see where they are going, but this song and the video are not a cry for forgiveness, they are a cry of mocking. The video offends to the core, and I thank we need to call this what it is. A marketing gimmick, and a flagrant mocking of the Cross of Christ and the life of Jesus. There is plenty of scripture to help us tell the story of a life that struggles with sin on a daily basis - we don't need to use this song to make any points! For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 <>< Craig McCourt http://www.uthguytech.com

   meredith roberts         5/9/2011 2:27:37 PM

This article was rated but no comment was left

   meredith roberts         5/9/2011 1:56:02 PM

I have a little different of a take on Judas. The first time I read the lyrics I was totally offended and confused but after looking them over a few times I began to understand better and even led to some self reflection on the matter. Judas is about the struggle of our human condition choosing virtue over vice. It about how we as humans often end up betraying our moral integrity and we choose our personal "Judas" whatever that may be. We do, as she says in the song, want to love Jesus, we know he is our virtue but we sometimes betray Jesus and ourselves to our fleshly desire. we are "still in love with Judas baby" (or ourselves, or our desires, or addictions) We have not truly given ourselves completely to God. Its "yes I want you Jesus, but I still kinda want (fill in the blank) more." When she says "I'll take you down king without a crown" To me its about how we are constantly trying to de-thrown Christ from his rightful place in our lives as King. Honestly I don't even know if Gaga herself knows the deepest meaning in her own lyrics but I think there is some truth here. The Bible says the truth of Gods word is written in the hearts of man and I think truth can even pop up in Lady Gaga. The rest I think is for shock value and the Lady Gaga of it all. Its her art!lol But I think she is searching...she was brought up with catholic influence and I think she is very confused but I think this song gives a glimpse that she even might know the truth. For now it is apparent she has chosen Judas, but dont we all sometimes?

   Jonathan McKee         4/27/2011 1:42:44 PM

As of today (4/27), this song is now #19 on iTunes. That means it went from #1 to #19 in about a week's time. That's one of the fastest descents I've seen for a Gaga song. Hmmmmmmm.

   Sarah         4/27/2011 7:46:33 AM

Thank you!! Very informative!

   Pamela         4/26/2011 10:49:43 AM

Thank you for helping youth workers stay up to date on this. I have used a lot of the information from this web page to help with talking to my class thanks again May God Bless you

   Vlad         4/26/2011 10:43:32 AM

It's sad how far we've gone that we even have to sit down and talk to our kids about this song and ask them questions as if it is not self explanatory. To me this speaks volumes. I'm not saying we should not talk about it but our teens\youth should not even be considering this type of music and should be more discerning. It just exposes how shallow our Christianity is. We need a revival. God help us.

   Rob         4/26/2011 9:48:20 AM

I appreciate your take on her song. THough i am not a fan, and think she is just trying to provoke for the sake of fame, you're perspective gives an interesting twist. too often we dismiss people in entertainment when they make ridiculous songs like this, but you are right they are searching for identity and community just like the teens we serve. the sad part is she and other like her are leading from that place of exploration and leading the teens we serve in unhealthy dirrections.

   Forrest Lamb         4/26/2011 9:33:04 AM

This is vary revealing and extrememly sad at the same time. However it's not suprising though. I reflect on many of Charlie Sheens interviews just like this one. It's the sound of person going mad. It's the sound of a person leaning or relying on their own understanding. Did I sound like this before I met Christ? Scary...

   Bob Leissring         4/26/2011 7:46:48 AM

Thank you for your continued look at today's youth culture! However, are we being too quick and/or critical to respond to Gaga's methods, this song and its lyrics? I take her "vomit" comment to mean a crude way of describing "brainstorming". You throw out (not up) a bunch of ideas in a stream-of-consciousness and see what happens. She said the creative process takes only 15 minutes but the fine-tuning lasts much longer. How different is that from when we brainstorm ideas for a talk we're giving for one of our youth events then taking time to perfect it? And with the reference to "cling to Judas"... don't we all? Jesus is our virtue, the life we aspire to, but don't we constantly choose the wrong things and actions? Not every song has the perfect ending of "I once was lost but now I'm found". Some songs, like some of the kids we talk to, are in the middle of "I'm lost, now what?" If we criticize songs that don't have the happy ending, are we criticizing kids who still feel lost in sin? It's important, like you mention at the end of the article, to talk to the kids about the song. BUT, we can't go into the conversation with a chip on our shoulder that we're all right and the song (and anyone who identifies with it) is wrong. That reduces our credibility with kids and pushes them away from the Truth.

   Jennifer Roloff         4/25/2011 11:16:27 AM

I love how you don't just give us your take on the song, but you include Gaga's lyrics and also her own thoughts from interviews she has given. Thank you!

   David Wanat         4/25/2011 8:51:07 AM

Keep up the good work! Great article.














NOW IN STOCK!




connect
click here for more


© 1999-2014 The Source for Youth Ministries           Site Disclaimer