Taylor Swift, Prince and Mary


Mary’s Song Is About God’s World Being Constructed

by Eric Elkin

And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…
— Luke 1: 46ff

The other morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Ross Tucker, a former lineman, and current NFL analyst defended a tweet he made earlier in the week. The tweet in question declared Taylor Swift a superior musician to the artist known as Prince. Actually, his words were much more aggressive. He tweeted, “Please don’t even compare Prince to @taylorswift13 ever again.” 

Ross Tucker was destroyed on social media for the post. Basing his opinion on popularity, he failed to realize the depth of Prince’s musical ability. However, reading the criticisms, many of his opponents failed to recognize Taylor Swift’s gifts and impact as well. Strangely, the interchange of fan opinions and star personalities spoke to me of Mary.  

Taylor Swift fits the image we like to have of Mary. The world views her as young, beautiful, elegant, refined and vulnerable. For her many fans, including Ross Tucker, there seems to be a shiny halo hovering above her head. Her pristine nature and songs, which appeal to teenage girls, diminish her skills to the outside world. Taylor Swift is not radical enough to be taken seriously as a recording artist.

The truth is this quiet little pop princess has become one of the industries most brilliant business minds. Taylor Swift’s standoff against Apple and Spotify has been credited with making record making profitable again for the artist. Taylor Swift, like Mary, is much more powerful and intelligent than the way the world likes to see her.

You may have lost me, but I found myself
The ones who love me without condition, this is my wealth
And with these words I will win
Repeat them over and over again
All understand and all stand under this affirmation now
By the power invested in me by God
— "Strange But True" by Prince

Prince, on the other hand, was radical. He made many men feel uncomfortable by crossing boundaries of dress and style. His songs were filled with racy lyrics which made even liberal people blush, and conservatives get angry. Not until his death, did the outside world realize how much he championed the cause of females and lowly artists. The social order Mary suggests in her song is even more radical than the one Prince could conceive.

Ross Tucker’s talent evaluation of Prince and Taylor Swift also reveals how we tend to view the world. Stars, like people, cannot be equal. One entity needs to be better than the other. Sometimes, I feel like we actually fear a world of equals. 

Mary’s song is more than an announcement of a coming child. This vulnerable girl proclaims the coming of a world Jesus will teach his disciples to build. This world is shaped by equality, not a reversal of fortune. If we choose to follow this infant in a manger, then we too are invited to continue the global construction project.

When the wealthy (and if you are reading this you are wealthy) lift up the poor, the world will know joy. When those who are fed fill the hungry with good things and mercy is the lens with which you see the world, then all of our souls will magnify the Lord. It's a radical song to sing at Christmas, but it is the song which causes the spirit of God to rejoice within us.


Click to read Luke 1: 46-55

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you view Mary, the Mother of God?

  • What do you hear her saying in her song?

  • How can you choose to live into her words?

  • Why do we struggle to accept equality between people?

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