My Culture/Teen Culture Lover: The Gospel According to Taylor Swift by Elizabeth Bayardi For over a decade, Taylor Swift has been writing and producing chart-topping music — the kind of music we not-so-secretly belt at the top of our lungs when we are in the shower or on a road trip or listen to on repeat when we are in the midst of a heart-wrenching breakup or need a reminder of why we broke up with the person in the first place. Her lyrics are catchy, her beats are trendy, and her music videos are works of art. But, more notably, the overarching message of her music is something we can all relate to at one point in our lives or another. Taking a look back at and listen to her discography — full disclosure, many T Swift songs were listened to during the writing of this blog — it is obvious that Taylor Swift simply loves love. From “Our Song” to “Love Story,” “Sparks Fly” to “Red,” “This Love” to “Delicate” and now, “Lover,” Taylor continually writes and sings about love. Some may go so far as to say that she is obsessed with love, but I do not think it as much an obsession as a desire to find what we are all looking for. Why We All Love Love Love is everywhere. It’s in the music we listen to — looking at you, T Swift — the TV shows we watch, the books we read, and the celebrity relationships we follow. Love also pops up in our search for our self-worth and desire for affirmation, our shared sense of sadness when a friend experiences tragedy, and our desire to use our privilege to fight injustice. But while we all desire love, not all love is the same. There is a difference between the type of love that Taylor Swift sings about and the type of love that will ultimately fulfill our desire. You see, we were not made for the fading, conditional, rollercoaster love T Swift sings about and our world offers. We were made for authentic love, the love of God. Made for Love, by Love We were made for the unconditional, unrelenting love of God, and it is only when we experience the authentic love of the Father that the innate desire of our hearts is satisfied. As hard as we try, nothing else will satisfy our hearts except for God’s perfect love. Now, that does not mean that we can no longer pre-order Taylor Swift’s albums or memorize the words to every song she writes — it would be a sad, sad day if this was the case — but as we karaoke “Lover,” we need to remember that the love we — and T Swift and every other artist, actor, writer, person — ultimately desire is the love of God, who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die on a cross for us (John 3:16). So, as you listen to “Lover” on repeat for the next several days, weeks, or years — or as you go back and forth between some of Taylor’s other albums (“1989” may be my all-time fave and on repeat most days) — remember that our desire for love is a good desire, but it will only be fulfilled by the love of our even better God.