A strange thing happened over this past year. Well not really strange, but something that hasn’t occurred for a very long time. A Christian artist topped the mainstream charts, in terms of album, and song, for a sustained period of time. Not that those events haven’t occurred before, but I reckon the only person that has had an impact on the charts of this magnitude would be Amy Grant way back in the 80’s and 90’s, and specifically for her song “Baby Baby” and her album Heart In Motion in 1991 (which ended that year at number 15 in the Billboard 200 charts, and at 24 in 1992). Sure there have been other artists and songs that have crossed over (dc Talk for “Jesus Freak”, Jars Of Clay for “Flood”, MercyMe for “I Can Only Imagine” and various others), not to mention Christian artists who have specifically entered into the mainstream industry to be an influence in that market (think of Skillet, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Relient K, and more recently Tori Kelly and for KING & COUNTRY)… yet this time around, a Christian artist has not really cared about the market, and has just written an album and a song from their own heart. The song and the album has blown up around the world, and surprisingly on mainstream- so much so that the track is present on the annual Now That’s What I Call Music (the mainstream version of WOW Hits), and that’s well deserving. By now you probably know what the song is, and the artist…but if you still are unaware, let me tell you all. It’s Lauren Daigle, and the song is called “You Say”, from her latest album Look Up Child.
Now we reviewed Look Up Child way back in September, thought it was awesome, and rated the project 5/5. So I’m not even going to analyse the album- we’ve done that already and you can read the review at your own pace. Nor am I going to tell you all about Lauren’s story and how she came to be an artist- that’s what Wikipedia is for. But what I will say is this. That she is an artist to watch out for in the coming months. No doubt she will be the next Amy Grant, in terms of mainstream popularity, and what all of that instant fame and media attention and scrutiny does to her psyche and her faith in the coming months and years is anyone’s guess. Though I pray and I’d like to hope that her faith in Jesus is so grounded that not even international fame cannot shake it; you never really know the future. Yet as of now, her influence in both the Christian and mainstream media is quite profound and paramount, as she has even performed on The Ellen Show and on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon (performing “Still Rolling Stones” and “Look Up Child” respectively) recently. And therein lies my ‘2 cents worth’ or basis for my ‘rant’, and in essence the message of this short blog- some commenters on Youtube are saying nasty things about Lauren because of her performances on these shows. Like she is somehow losing her Christian faith for associating with Ellen and with Jimmy Fallon, and with people who watch those shows and hold the same views that they hold. Like somehow Lauren is ‘becoming more like the world’ instead of showing Jesus to the whole world, just by going on these shows. And here’s what I’d like to point out the essence of Christianity that struck me as very important today- a verse that I know I can never have enough reminder of.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) states that we are as Christians meant to share the gospel to every creature. That’s it. That’s our mission until Jesus comes back. To share Jesus’ love and His message of hope, love, forgiveness and redemption, to as many people as we can. And for us to spread the good news in love, especially to those with a drastic different worldview than us, so that it doesn’t come across as ‘turn or burn’. Nah, that last sentence wasn’t in the Bible- I just added that from the top of my head, but you don’t need to be Blind Freddy to know that the way we spread the gospel matters, maybe even more so than the actual message. Bearing that in mind though, what was Lauren doing singing overtly Christian songs on a mainstream platform? Was she backsliding? Was she forcing her beliefs onto anyone? Was she being led astray by the world? Or was she just using her gifts to spread the love of Jesus into the areas where God has placed her?
The other day an article surfaced online about Lauren’s stance on homosexuality and how she wasn’t sure as to whether it was a sin or not. The article and the writer blogging about Lauren’s specific viewpoint on this somewhat contentious issue, delved deep into discernment and how we as a Christian people shouldn’t be so quick to judge Lauren for her views (she still hasn’t said one way or the other, guys, and youtube commentators are acting as if Lauren has outright affirmed LGBTQIA people, which she hasn’t!), but rather let God move within her and see the effects of Jesus on every person. While the debate of whether gay Christians are going to be in heaven or not will always wage on, at the end of the day, what I reckon is more important is your own walk with God and how you are showing God’s love to everyone- without condition. I know, this may be a controversial thing to say, but I have found myself of late challenged, particularly by Jonathan Merritt the writer of the article about Lauren Daigle- and though I myself aren’t that sure where I stand on the homosexual Christian debate (I tend to lean more to non-affirming at the moment, which may or may not be my viewpoint in five, ten years time!), what I do know is this.
That John 3:16, the most popular verse in the Bible that even non-believers can recognise, states that ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life’, and that should give you all food for thought as to who is a Christian and who isn’t. The verse states that whosoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life, and because the verse doesn’t explicitly say that the person who believes in Jesus has to do x, y, z, nor does the person have to not do x, y z; I guess we are comforted by the fact that our salvation isn’t tied to what we do but by our faith in Jesus. Though one could argue that gay Christians could exist via my last few sentences, others could say that being a gay Christian is the same as being a Christian who murders, or who cheats, or who steals, or who commits adultery. How can you profess that you love Jesus and believe in Jesus, and want to tell the world about the One who saved your soul, and then in the same breath deliberately commit the very acts you have said you would never want to do ever again? In terms of this whole debate of homosexuality (which needs another post by the way- this one is too long at the moment!), I guess whether you can be a Christian or not while being gay is contingent on whether you believe homosexuality is a sin or not. The Bible isn’t explicitly clear on that, but does offer up some verses on the subject matter (which pro-gay people can expertly give seemingly air-tight answers for all of those verses), however I will leave this issue right here for another time and let you talk about it with your family and friends (who may or may not share your viewpoints, no matter what they are).
Going back to Lauren Daigle and her appearances on these talk shows, the question that everyone has on their lips, which they are probably not even voicing, is ‘Is she still a Christian’? I believe she is, and that’s where this week’s album comes into play- Lauren’s How Can It Be is her debut album; and if the lyrics are anything to go by here, then Lauren is a woman on fire for Jesus. But if this is true though, then does anything else matter? Her views on sexuality, politics, the economy, and other issues may be different to yours, but if you’re still serving the same God, on the whole does the divergent theological differences really matter? I don’t have the answers if you’re expecting a crystal ball with the answers to the whole universe being given to all of us; yet this whole…thing, is a launching pad where we all can discuss in a healthy environment and learn from each other if we’ve got it wrong for one reason or another. And as we admire Lauren Daigle’s singing and her reach on both Christian and mainstream markets, let us be happy for her as this means that the gospel and the message are being exposed to people who wouldn’t necessary hear the gospel on a regular basis.
Do you think your stance on certain taboo issues determine your faith? Let us know in the comments below?
Until next time, guys