fyi, this post was sort of inspired by this post. so you may want to read it before moving on, but you don't have to.
just hear me out. i'm not hating on bieber in the sense of "i hate his music and teeny-bopper culture." i don't have strong issues with those who are fans of his, really, either. what i don't like (and i'm not calling shrode out on this, i'm just reminded of it by his post) is people trying to tout bieber as a good Christian influence amidst a sin-filled environment. (from what i read, shrode was hopeful that bieber could stand for something other than the world and that bieber came from a faithful family that he was rooting for to direct justin in the right direction.)
this has probably been addressed at stuff Christians like, but i know that Christians like to root for famous/successful Christians. heck, i praised tony dungy and kurt warner on this very blog for the confusing contentment they've demonstrated in their post-nfl lives.
on a minor level, the danger here is promoting a celebrity as Christian in such a way that they become models in the faith when they shouldn't be. on a an extreme level, the danger is following a "Christian" celebrity so that we can label our idol worship as something much more tame, like "support."
back to what spurred this line of thinking... in the thinklings post referenced above, bieber's faith-walk was wondered about and certain evidences were given in hopes that he might be a believer who is working hard at keeping his nose clean and sending out good clean, positive vibes. (i really hope i'm not misstating or misquoting anyone.)
in the comments, someone mentioned that bieber's rolling stone cover was already a sign that he was headed for or already on a slippery slope. i went looking for said photo because i had seen things of bieber on SNL that already concerned me. i really didn't think he was a Christian role model, anyway, based on the fact that he's a secular artist. shamefully, it's the cynic in me that doubts a believer who is serious about their faith can really be wildly successful in the entertainment industry.* to me, you have to sell out to some extent to be THAT successful. at the very least they aren't characterized by their faith in Christ. i could be wrong. please remind me of examples where i am.
anyway, what i found on rolling stone's site was not the cover photo in question, but a picture of bieber flipping the bird to some paparazzo. granted, this does not mean he isn't a believer. but it is evidence that we should be extremely careful in promoting any human as a role model who isn't characterized by imitating Christ.
i don't doubt that bieber is talented. i don't doubt that his music is positive. i don't doubt that he's a generally good kid. BUT what that all adds up to is as eternally significant as charlie sheen's recent tirades. beyond that, it might even be more dangerous than sheen's "words of wisdom" because bieber is safe, cuddly and encouraging. sadly, anything short of Christ just makes for a safe, cuddled and encouraged journey to hell (unless you side with rob bell (oooooh, booyah, didn't see THAT coming did you? obligatory rob bell reference: check.)) basically, #tigerblood is just as God glorifying as #bieberfever.
so, to sum up: i don't mind if you're a bieber fan. i really don't. shoot, continue to pray for him, hope he stays out of trouble, etc. but please don't try to champion him as a Christian role model or put him on a pedestal. it's ok to enjoy secular music, really it is. as long as we don't glory in it and don't idolize those who represent it. and whatever we do, we dare not label it as "Christian" so we can embrace, stomach and parade our worship of anything/anyone other than Christ.
looking for role models? look for this attitude: "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1
wondering what to worship/promote: "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God." Psalm 20:7
"But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14
*i believe pro athletes are different because their profession/success is based more on their athletic ability than their image or message/brand.