January 9th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

My Take: An open letter to Justin Bieber

Editor's Note: Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of four books including her latest, BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber. Find Cathleen on Twitter @godgrrl or on Facebook.

By Cathleen Falsani, Special to CNN

Chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self ~ Ice Cube

Dear Justin,

Please consider this a well-being check from someone who genuinely cares about you: Me.

Let me begin by saying that I am for you. I have studied you and your career since you stepped into the public spotlight as an adolescent. You are a gift to the world – to your family, your friends and your tens of millions of devoted fans.

Sweetheart, here’s the thing (and this is an “and,” not a “but”): I’m worried about you. It’s not that you smoke pot (or anything else). It’s what that choice and behavior means.

Like so many of your admirers, I have celebrated your successes, danced to your music, sung along with you in the car, prayed with you when you’ve publicly asked us to join you in lifting up the victims of cataclysm and despair, and prayed for you – for your protection and health, direction and inspiration.

I know you are keenly aware of the many gifts you’ve been given and who bestowed them on you. And I know you understand that to whom much is given, much is expected and required.

With a perspective and sense of responsibility far beyond your years, throughout your public life thus far you have articulated beautifully and clearly your gratitude for the extraordinary favor and experiences you have had and continue to have as the most famous teenager on the planet.

And you have given thanks publicly and consistently to your supporters, the team that manages your business, mentors, creative partners, and your God.

Belief Blog Rewind: The gospel according to Justin Bieber

You regularly encourage your fans – young and old – to follow your lead and recognize the blessings in their own lives, to “pay it forward,” give back, and try to change the world for the better.

Justin, as has been your intention, you have been a positive influence on countless children and young people around the globe. And I believe that you will continue to be a force of light and joy as long as you don’t choose to ignore the divine GPS located in your heart of hearts.

Few of us, who know you only through your public persona, can fathom the pressures of superstardom that you live with every day.

Last year you reached a milestone when you turned 18. You are living in a liminal state, standing at the threshold between childhood and adulthood, still more boy than man.

Times of transition and change are difficult for anyone, never mind someone whose every move in public is chronicled by relentless paparazzi and other members of the media. You must be gentle with yourself as you navigate these new waters, but you also must be diligent to guard your heart and mind more now than ever.

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Whether you’ve partaken of the “sacred herb” just once or burn more cabbage than Tommy Chong at a Furthur show is not the issue that most concerns me.

It’s the decision to light a spliff or one-hitter or cigarette or whatever it was in that Newport Beach hotel room last week where folks were snapping pictures with their smartphones that troubles me.

What you do and say echoes around the world. Your very young fans watch and listen to you carefully. When they see images of you with a butt or blunt in your hand or waiting for a friend to pour you a glass of vodka, the message they receive is inconsistent and confusing.

I can’t imagine that was your intention, if you gave much thought at all to what you were doing before you chose to do it, but that’s the reality.

Is it fair that you should need to consider millions of other people before you decide how to spend an evening with friends? Probably not. But that is the life you have chosen (or that, perhaps at least, in part, was chosen for you by others) and you have a responsibility to act accordingly.

You do have the choice to disregard your responsibilities. But you don’t have the choice to avoid the consequences of your actions.

Everybody makes mistakes, and all of us behave in ways that are not our highest and best selves. None of us is defined by our worst moments. That’s what grace – and I know you understand what grace is – is all about.

In the past, when you’ve made choices that maybe weren’t the best, you have owned them, apologized, made amends and self-corrected. As you lean farther into young adulthood, I pray that you will continue to do so.

You know better than anyone exactly what temptations and opportunities celebrity brings. And I know you know well the cautionary tales of far too many child celebrities who have reached the threshold in which you now stand and made terrible choices that have led to their destruction.

I don’t believe that’s how your story is meant to end. But it could be if you are reckless and lose sight of true north.

Remember who you are, Justin. Remember who you were created to be. A city on a hill. Salt and light.

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Don’t forget that you are loved precisely for who you are: Justin Drew Bieber, precious child of the Creator. Not because you are a pop idol. Not because you are a commodity. Not because you are a superstar.

You are loved because you are. Full stop. Nothing you could ever do would make God love you less. Nothing you could ever do would make God love you more.

Pick yourself up, knock the dust off, check that sacred GPS, and walk on.

May the God who loves you more than all of your millions of fans ever will continue to bless and protect you.

Grace and all the good things,


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Cathleen Falsani.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Music • Uncategorized

soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Memphis

    What the? An open letter to the bieber from a belief author? Even if she's a hottie, who cares.

    January 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  2. Wow

    Dear Slash,

    I just want you to know I like your music and always will. I appologize that there is an open letter to Justin Beiber while you are not getting any attention from CNN at all. I am embarassed that my kids don't listen to good music inspite of the example I tried to set for them.


    Your fan

    January 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • An Open Letter to Sid Vicious

      Dear Sid Vicious,

      Couldn't you have waited and stabbed Justin Beiber instead of your girlfriend?

      Your fan, sort of.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  3. Milton


    January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  4. Roger that

    Ok so she has stalker tendencies, at least her photo looks a lot better than Dr. Prothero's. $100 bucks says that neckless she's wearing says "I 'heart' Beiber" on the back.

    January 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  5. Mr Chihuahua

    This essay made me throw up my kibbles lol!

    January 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  6. meifumado

    I thought that was K.D. Lang in the video

    January 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  7. Slasher313

    I knew this kid was going to be trouble he should have learned to stay in his own country along with his satanic ways. There's your sign!

    January 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  8. David


    January 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Rumple

      You might be more polite, David, something like "Miss Idiot."

      January 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • David

      oh.. u mean "lil boy idiot"

      January 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Rumple

      Oh, you meant the Beiber idiot, not the pubescent stalkerfan idiot. Sorry, there are a lot of idiots in this story to choose from.

      January 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  9. parallel universe

    Maybe JB is just Wayne from a world fifteen years in our future.

    January 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  10. Reality

    Cathleen noted:

    "May the God who loves you more than all of your millions of fans ever will continue to bless and protect you."

    Justin responded:

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Time to smoke some CO and WA-approved weed !!"

    January 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  11. Reasonably

    Dear Cathleen: Get a life and let him live his. You are not his mother, nor a close friend. He does not know or care who you are. Get a grip.

    How you ever were given the chance to be some puritanical stalker on CNN is beyond the pale.

    January 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  12. William Demuth

    Award winning author?

    Stalker of the year?

    Nastiest female Pedo?

    Ho Bag Groupie of the Month?

    What DREK.

    CNN this sickened me.

    January 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Cathleen Falsani

      Okay, it wasn't an award; it was a restraining order, but that's almost the same thing, right?

      January 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • ME II

      "Nastiest female Pedo?"
      And a new low for WD... well not really new, just low, I guess.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  13. End Religion

    Thanks, Beebs. The cause could use more folks lighting up publicly. Now, tell this author what you really think: you already have one mother, and that's enough for anyone.

    January 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  14. Unbeliebable!


    January 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  15. ME II

    A new low for Belief Blog.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  16. Bootyfunk

    what a complete waste of time and space. this chick is a justin beiber fan and this is just a ego stroke letter. the author of this letter doesn't know him, so for her to say she really cares about him is crazy. care about your family and friends, not about pop stars you don't know. this is a letter from a 13 year old girl. good job CNN!

    January 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Justin Beiber

      My fans creep me out.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  17. What is REALLY going on

    And just what is the author's real interest in Justin Beiber? She looks at his posters as she is:

    Sending Muffin Morse Code
    Spelunking in the mystery cave
    Takin' it to tuna town
    Cleaning between the camel's toes
    Double-clicking her mouse
    Tickling her Elmo

    January 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  18. Blechh

    This has got to be one of the worst, most pathetic and disgusting articles I have EVER read in my life!
    This woman needs a psychiatrist and some meds. If I was this Beiber dork, I'd get myself a no-contact order against her for harassment and stalking behavior.


    January 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Absolutely no one

    All I want to know is how on earth and why is a journalist writing a book about a teen popster
    I'm really confused right now

    January 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Yankee Blade

      She's a "journalist" in the World Weekly News and Tiger Beat sense of the word, not the Edward R. Murrow sense of the word.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  20. A Heath adviser

    I will be trying to promote this letter I want him to read it soo bad cos I think the writer reeally did say the right thing I feel like the writer stole the words right out of my mouth lol
    Nut now he's also (hopefully) moved on from that stressful relationship that was whieing him down a lot

    January 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Yankee Blade


      January 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.