Our Church Needs to Sing Out About Being Brave

Pop star Sara Bareilles caused a bit of a controversy earlier this year when she indicated on Twitter that she may not be heterosexual. In a more recent interview, though, Bareilles, who was raised Catholic, also offered a critique of negative attitudes in the church regarding LGBT issues.

Sara Bareilles

Pink News reports that earlier this year, Bareilles, who is the composer of the Broadway smash hit musical Waitress, was asked a question about her first hit tune, “Love Song.”   In response she said, “It was never about a he. 😇”  In a recent interview with Pink News, though, the singer acknowledged that the statement was an accident, that she is not attracted to women, and that if she were lesbian “I would be shouting it from the mountaintops.”

In the same interview, Bareilles also commented on the Catholic Church, and she sounded a lot like Pope Francis when she did so.  In response to a question about the scapegoating of gay priests for the clergy sex abuse crisis, she said:

“We’re watching the effects of where Catholicism needs to do a little evolution. I think that sometimes there are these hard and fast rules that don’t reflect the consciousness of the world anymore.

“I understand people’s reverence for legacy and tradition, but I really believe in the more fundamental truth of what I think Catholicism is built around, the golden rule that Christianity is built around.  . . .Love each other. Period. Love each other. No judgment. It’s not my place to judge anything.

“I don’t have judgment about it, but for those people who do, I just really think love is bigger than anything else, and that’s the torch I want to burn.”

One of Bareilles’ biggest hits, “Brave,” reads like an anthem for being honest about one’s identity and finding the courage to do so.  You can view  two versions of the video of the song (one with lyrics, one with Bareilles perfroming) at the end of this post.  Some excerpts from the lyrics:

“You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up . . . .

“I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave . . .

“Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is . . . .

“And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?”

Wouldn’t this be a great song to sing in church, inviting everyone to be brave?  It would invite LGBT people to take the brave step of coming out and it would  invite those with negative LGBT attitudes to be brave about loving people they fear or don’t understand.  Our church needs to learn to be brave.

Video with lyrics:

Official video:

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, November 13, 2018

1 reply
  1. Dennis McNally, SJ
    Dennis McNally, SJ says:

    How great those videos are!
    I wrote a book “The Priest and the Pendulum: Reconciling the Orders of Aaron and Melchizedek.” It’s an echo of Hebrews 7:11-8:1. This young woman has her finger on the pulse of the Indwelling Spirit.


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