I am, was, will be, always have, sometimes am a “good girl” depending on your definition. I grew up most of my life in North Dakota, where there was not a lot to get in trouble with, except the normal teenage stuff. As an adult reflecting back, I always wondered why I didn’t do more experimental things that pushed boundaries? Why did I hang out on the edge of the popular party group and never was tempted to go to the party? I ask this, because I think knowing myself as I do now, I would’ve. So the only answer I can come up with is somehow my parents instilled so much respect in them that I didn’t want to lost that respect in them or them for me. I am the oldest daughter of a pastor. My dad was a pastor’s kid as well and from what I heard, he definitely fit the “wild pastor kid” title. I remember resenting my dad’s occupation as much as I respected him. There were other kids in my church who got caught at parties and watching the parents broken talking to my dad was heartbreaking, shaming, etc.? I didn’t want my parents judged the way these other parents felt judged and shamed by their child’s actions.
What I was left with is MTV and music. My dad “programmed” MTV off of the channels (as if I didn’t know how to type the number 3 and 0! I still remember what channel it was. Madonna was and is my girl. She was fascinating and interesting and rebellious, everything I considered cool. In Vincent Millers Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture, he notes that Madonna while talking about religion by quoting David Lyon who said “Religions that lend themselves to visual intensity and symbolism have greater appeal in consumer culture”, “Much has been written concerning the religious vision and gender politics of Madonna videos”. Miller goes on to bring up her video “like a prayer” and I remember this video and watching it over and over trying to sort out in my young Christian mind if I should like this song. The song she sang, however, that spoke to me was “Papa don’t Preach” of course. Madonna had a very complicated relationship with the church and her childhood and utilized music to “express yourself” I mean herself. Madonna was trying to utilize her pain, her past, her platform to affect change, to bring female empowerment and at the same time disrespected ritual while still trying to speak truth back into the marginalization of women in the church.
Jason Clark notes “Our liturgies are the rituals that form identity around visions of the good life, and those ‘story-laden’ practices are “absorbed into our imagination,” such that:” quoting James K. A. Smith’s “Defined by Our Loves: A Liturgical Anthropology”
Liturgies are compressed, repeated, performed narratives that, over time, conscript us into the story they “tell” by showing, by performing. Such orientating narratives are not explicitly “told” in a “once-upon-a-time” discursive mode – as if the body politic invites us to passively sit at the proverbial librarian’s feet for “story time” while she walks us through a picture-book narration. No, these stories are more like dramas that are enacted and performed.
Clark very eloquently states how rituals inform us by stimulating the imagination. I guess some question all of this leaves me with, as I continue to wrestle through what I feel the author is trying to express in how our consumeristic culture has “changed” the way religion is understood. I guess I struggle a little with this, as not all of religion has it right. Many, many have been oppressed and abused for the sake of how ritual and religion is understood. My question is “is all consumerism bad for religion?”. Having more women theologians write and study theology has changed how we understand religion, doesn’t Madonna, though provocative, move this forward a bit faster? I think Austin Kleon says it best “You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose (“consume”?) to let in your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”.” Consuming seems to be inevitable, we just have to be discerning of what we consume, ya?
 Miller, Vincent J. “Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture” (New York, Bloombury, 2003). 7
 Clark, Jason Paul, “Evangelicalism and Capitalism: A Reparative Account and Diagnosis of Pathogeneses in the Relationship” (2018). 225
 Kleon, Austin. “Steal like an Artist”. (New York, Workman Publishing Company, 2022) 11.