Firework: Theodicy according to Katy Perry

“Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in”

I’ve never looked at the words of this song before, but it turns out that they might be quite useful in thinking about theodicy. This feeling of overwhelming pain is not something that I’ve experienced in my life. Many times I wonder if I actually care about anything because it seems like most other people, if they went through some of the things that I’ve gone through, would feel a lot of pain.

If it really is the case though that painful times result in a new creation and simultaneously are times when God get’s to hold us close, then I want my world to be rocked a bit. That’s a scary thing to wish for.

“You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July”

The lyrics of this song could be sung from God’s perspective. Indeed, we are told that we are the light by Jesus just as Katy Perry tells us that we are the light. Its interesting that, for Perry, the light is ignited spontaneously within the self. It is a self-caused ignition.

Or perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps the song is meant to fuel the flame of the light inside of us. Its not just the song, however. It is Perry herself. She is addressing the listener “Baby you’re a firework.” Presence, some say, is the best theodicy. Perhaps a consequence of image bearing is that anyone’s presence to console us in our suffering is similar to the presence of the Divine one.

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road

Its interesting that in this song (and in everyday language) there is an expression of a divinely guided life, but not an explicit recognition of that God. Something (or someone) has to open and close the doors that lead to the perfect road, which, by the way, this metaphor seems to suggest is a narrow road. People also often say, “everything happens for a reason.” What reason though? This language seems to imply that there’s a mysterious One working behind the scenes to make me a better person or something.

In a culture that lives on after “the death of God” there are still ghosts of God’s presence: vestiges of a recognition of some divinely guided future good outcome.This is a point of intersection between the culture and the culture Creator. It should be used as a means to become all things to all people and to say what the kingdom of Heaven is like.

(Interestingly, it seems like Perry and those who use these theologically ambiguous phrases might be better at theodicy than most Christians.  However, it seems likely that this is because the Mysterious one who opens doors is not the God of Orthodoxy complete with the omni-bus (omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence))

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