Tattooing Justin Bieber’s Heart
Religion & Liberty Online

Tattooing Justin Bieber’s Heart

bieberJustin Bieber is no different than many 20-year-olds in the US and Canada. He is naturally searching for identity, meaning, and purpose — and searching for a community with whom to pursue those things. This is a normal process of transitioning from the teenage years into adulthood. Bieber, like many 20-year-olds, has shown a lack of judgement at times that has landed him not only in the news but also in jail. Many of us remember our own antics in those years and breathe a sigh of relief that we were never caught.

January 23, 2014 was one of those nights for Bieber. He was taken into custody with singer Khalil Amir Sharieff after police busted an illegal street drag race involving exotic cars, according to news sources. The Miami Police are now releasing photos from the custody intake process that put on display Bieber’s many tattoos. What I find interesting is that Bieber not only has a tattoo of Psalm 119:105 and but also one of Jesus. It made me wonder what Bieber’s life would like look if these things were tattooed not only on his skin but also on his heart.

It would be great to have an opportunity to ask Bieber what Jesus and Psalm 119 mean to him with no cameras, no media, no “selfies,” and the like–just to have an honest conversation about how he believes Jesus and Psalm 119 provide direction in his life. According to the Christian Post, Bieber recently tried to get baptized in an evangelical Protestant church.

Justin Bieber, seen recently in an X-rated photo with an adult dancer, reportedly scoured New York City over the weekend for a private pool where he could be baptized through Hillsong NYC church, led by his close friend Pastor Carl Lentz.

“Justin and his team spent time on Saturday searching for a place with a pool where they could conduct a baptism for him, a cleansing ritual, with the Hillsong Church. But they couldn’t find a place in time,” one person, among “multiple sources,” told the New York Post’s Page Six.

Bieber clearly seems to be searching for something deeper in his life but maybe what he really needs is not simply the occasional drop-in on a church comprised of and led by his peers. And the wrestling with his past maybe reveals he wants to be free? What Bieber needs, then, is spiritual direction from a sage. A Gandalf or Yoda figure. Someone who is two or three times his age and has the life skills and wisdom to help Bieber ink those texts and images on his body onto his heart and soul. Spiritual direction from a sage, a spiritual father or grandfather, with whom Bieber can consult confidentially, outside the eyes of social media, to provide him encouragement, correction, and vision.

In the coming years, Bieber will need to figure out how to transition from someone who spent years building massive international influence and wealth to someone who holds responsibility to properly steward his influence. If Bieber’s future is characterized by the drive to love God and love neighbor (Matt 22:36-40) and driven to publicly promote and advance moral virtue (Phil 4:8), instead of cities protesting him taking up residence they would welcome him with open arms.

Anthony Bradley

Anthony B. Bradley, Ph.D., is distinguished research fellow at the Acton Institute and author of The Political Economy of Liberation: Thomas Sowell and James Cone on the Black Experience.