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Illinois Leader ^ | 9/23/2002 | Kevin McCullough

Posted on 09/23/2002 4:11:58 PM PDT by KMC1

"Oh just go listen to her Kevin, give her chance," came the considerable urging of my friends.

So Saturday night, there I am, finding myself winding the back roads of Rosemont, Illinois, trying to get to "the event" for the weekend - Amy Grant and Vince Gill live in concert. Arriving just on time, getting to my seat which was about 18 rows back center stage, I had just enough time left to say "Hi" to a few friends sitting nearby. One of whom could not resist.

"Kev! Surprised to see you here!"

"Well, hey, the opening act looks good, and we'll see what happens," was about the only response I could muster up.

Okay, a little history for you.

Amy Grant has been doing "Christian" music for over eighteen years. Throughout her early days I became a fan and faithfully bought every record/tape/cd she made. At a previous station where I worked, co-workers regularly tried to "stump" me by seeing if I knew a vague line of lyric from one of her albums. I was seldom stumped. As a young man, wanting to put positive messages into my brain I found Christian music to be the kind of reinforcement I needed to my choices. Amy's music was positive, fun, and upbeat. She literally "began" an entire genre of commercially-successful music, and many Christian musicians since owe their commercial success to the lady that really did make it popular.

Amy Grant enjoyed a parallel stream of success in pop music as well. Some of her songs centering more around the idea of positive relationships were added to pop radio's playlists and soon Amy stood on a platform amongst Christian recording artists that was truly head and shoulders above all others.

Many conservative-minded people were the ones buying Christian music, Grant's included, and as the eighties gave way to the nineties, conservatives, and people of faith made Christian music the fastest growing music in terms of sales increases and in new radio formats hitting the dial. The term "CCM" (Contemporary Christian Music) became a more regularly known term and the groups in CCM (Michael W. Smith, D.C. Talk, Jars Of Clay) became stars.

Through it all no one benefitted more than the lady who was already sitting atop the heap.

In the nineties there were troubles for Grant as well. Her longtime marriage to the man who wrote her very first number one song, Gary Chapman, was shaky. Her independence, wealth, and lack of accountability did not really create for her any need to try and salvage the marriage. The marriage was dissolved and Christian music's number one star, and someone who had avoided the ugly headlines that two other troubled Christian music artists, Sandi Patti and Michael English, had lived through seemed to be at peace with herself, and the world around her.

But over time - the truth was known.

Amy had soon married country crooner Vince Gill. Amy and Vince as far back as the early days of the nineties had become friends, but as her own music betrayed her. The two were soon "deeply in love."

I remember being a music director at a radio station when her single came out titled, "It Takes A Little Time". Having been tipped off as to the "close friendship" that Amy and Vince were experiencing, having seen her credit him on the CD's credits - with no mention to her husband, and after listening to the lyrics of that song - which should never have been released to Christian stations - made it all too clear. Amy Grant was experiencing a marriage that was dying, and it was dying in part because of her refusal to give up an illicit relationship, a relationship strictly forbidden by the faith that she had proclaimed from the stage for so many years.

And let me be really clear here - by sleeping with someone who is not your husband, and in fact, when that person you are sleeping with is actually someone else's husband - YOU are jeopardizing the health and stability of not one, but two families.

In her own song, "Love Will Find a Way," Grant wrote the lyrics for a woman responding to a letter concerning marital infidelity.

As Amy came out on the stage at the concert Saturday night here in suburban Chicago she did lots of her old songs. Sometimes I would catch myself reliving moments and places in my life based on what song she was singing.

She did the song "It Takes A Little Time", and like a knife through my heart - I was back in my old office holding that CD for the first time and with some fairly horrific feelings inside.

People of faith and conservatives in particular were outraged when a nation's president would let an ogling intern give him unspoken pleasures. People of faith criticized Hillary for allowing his philandering to continue. People of faith were further outraged when that President lied to cover it up.

People of faith, and yes even conservatives were some of the 49 people lined up outside the Mishawaka, Indiana, police station as Madelyne Toogood was brought in for beating her four year old daughter Martha - and getting caught on video tape. In one interview the lady waiting for the car carrying Toogood to arrive said, "I just want to give her a piece of my mind for treating her kid like that."

People of faith sometimes wonder why an outside world looks at them as though they are hypocritical. Well let's remove the "wondering" from the scenario. Others look at people of faith as hypocrites because while President Clinton is booed for engaging in illicit and immoral behavior (as he should be), people of faith were by the thousands filling seats in Suburban Chicago Saturday night applauding Amy as she raved about what a "good" man Vince Gill was. People of faith are seen as double minded when we condemn Madelyne Toogood for slapping her kid around in the car - and say nothing when the children of one marriage must now be split between 3 or more homes.

People of faith get pummeled because we have yet to step up to the plate.

Or then again, have we?

I left the Grant concert early to avoid anymore of Ms. Grant's glib comments about her formerly adulterous husband who is now a "good" man.

I got home just in time to see Miss Illinois Erika Harold be named Miss America 2003 on national TV. Throughout her pageant life Erika Harold has been an unashamed Christian who encourages young people to live moral lives. Erika through her own example, encourages kids to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, and once married to live monogamously for life (note to Ms. Grant).

Erika Harold genuinely lives out of her faith. The new Miss America says she hopes to run for office someday. I hope she does.

In my opinion, it is time to replace high profile personalities who have an obligation to live morally - and that goes for politicians, as well as singers.

And did I mention that Miss America sings, too?

TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Illinois; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: amygrant; billclinton; erikaharold; madelynetoogood; missamerica; vincegill
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Kevin McCullough is heard weekdays in Chicago on AM1160 WYLL, and worldwide on

Contact Kevin:

1 posted on 09/23/2002 4:11:58 PM PDT by KMC1
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To: KMC1
I saw Sandi Patti onstage and was not able to give her the standing ovation that EVERYONE else in the crowd gave because of her tepid explanations of why she was undergoing a divorce at that time.

I look for exemplary lives among Christian leaders such as music stars also.

2 posted on 09/23/2002 4:16:37 PM PDT by what's up
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To: KMC1
People someimes fall out of love, to be sure. But the proper response for 2 Christians is to stick with it and persevere.

BTW, Amy Grant joins Bruce Springsteen and other artists as well who are not as popular post-divorce.

3 posted on 09/23/2002 4:20:54 PM PDT by ikka
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To: KMC1
Interesting. I don't follow the Christian music scene, but it must be a difficult life to keep faithful to in those circumstances--kind of like being a televangelist.

I hope the new Miss America can stay the course. We need more good examples for kids to follow.
4 posted on 09/23/2002 4:24:35 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: KMC1
Well, at least we don't have to worry about "people of faith" forgiving anyone ... hey wait a minute ...
5 posted on 09/23/2002 4:31:33 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: KMC1
This type of editorial diatribe is exactly why I left the world of "Christian Entertainment".

Note to the author: Keven, no one forced you to attend the concert. I suppose the lives Amy has touched are moot because you are scandalized at her humanity?

I met Amy quite a few years ago when I was employed as music director for a large christian television network and studio musician. She was as real then as she is now. With the same emotions, hardships and failings as any living human.

The dissapointment ends when fans stop treating entertainers as gods (little g) and realize that they should get their own lives and stop living vicariously through their idols.

We are all sinners, saved by grace........and as for you, Mr. McCullough.......if you are without sin then toss the first stone.

6 posted on 09/23/2002 4:36:29 PM PDT by Fighting Irish
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To: what's up
of her tepid explanations of why she was undergoing a divorce at that time.

One of my cousins gave tepid explanations for a divorce and that bothered certain people. Her ex-husband seemed like such a nice guy but he had been cheating on her ---with a babysitter. For the sake of her kids and maybe everyone she made a decision not to discuss their problems to everyone. Sometimes a marriage can look perfect but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

7 posted on 09/23/2002 4:41:18 PM PDT by FITZ
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To: ikka; KMC1
ikka, let me hit your comments in reverse order:

BTW, Amy Grant joins Bruce Springsteen and other artists as well who are not as popular post-divorce.

I will give Springsteen credit for one thing: You listen to a record (yes, I still call them that, have some respect, sonny, I helped win the Cold War) like "Brilliant Disguise" and it's so much more poignant and morally honest about the reason things were falling apart. The couple in that song are not only probably cheating on each other, there is no communication left, so nobody's going to take the first step and get it fixed. And he makes no excuses: It's a song about a husband's suspicion of his cheating wife, but he admits that his suspicion might be born of his own adultery. You won't hear that in "It Takes A Little Time" or any of the other music released by the "Pity me, I'm a Christian role-model/adulterer/divorcee" crowd, because it would sound like (and be) hypocrisy unless it followed a period of career hiatus and repentance. I'm not letting Gary Chapman totally off the hook, because I don't know or care to know the intimate details of why their marriage failed, but he must surely wonder where the girl who sang "If These Walls Could Speak" for him went off to.

People someimes fall out of love, to be sure. But the proper response for 2 Christians is to stick with it and persevere.

I heard it put this way, I believe by Tony Evans: "Do you still love her? If so, make it work. Is she your enemy? If so, you are called to love your enemy. Get in there and make it work." Sure, it sounds a little flip, but it's true: Two Christians should only be divorced if there is adultery or abuse and the cheating/abusing spouse will not stop their behavior.

8 posted on 09/23/2002 4:52:07 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback
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It was known from Brentwood to Nashville that Gary Chapman was a drug addict, lousy husband and an even worse father. Amy stuck with the marriage until there was nothing left. was their business.....

Since when do we have the right to fire our high powered gospel guns into a situation we have no knowledge of?

I admire Amy and Vince.

I admire the fact that they have not allowed the christian world to taint there love for each other. I admire the fact that they both share their faith openly.

What I am ashamed of is how once again.....people that call themselves believers can be so incredibly stupid. So quick to judge. So non-christlike.

9 posted on 09/23/2002 4:53:52 PM PDT by Fighting Irish
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To: Fighting Irish
Yet Mr. Irish - how quickly did you jump on President Clinton's case - how quickly did you rush to tell the world how inconsistent his behavior was with the high office he held (something you would have been entitled to do - because you would have been right)...
10 posted on 09/23/2002 4:57:38 PM PDT by KMC1
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To: Fighting Irish
Christians in any high-profile position are going to be judged more stringently because they are in a place where they will have more effect on souls.

If you are shooting for a position of influence in ANY need to have your act together more than the "little people".

11 posted on 09/23/2002 5:08:40 PM PDT by what's up
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To: KMC1
I'm not condoning any inappropriate behavior.

What I am trying to make you realize that entertainers, christian or not have their own lives.

I'll bet if Paul and Jan had first heard the news that King David had sex with another mans wife and then had that very same husband god.........they would have had a holy orgy.

God however, will always continue to look at the heart. A very private affair......

12 posted on 09/23/2002 5:09:41 PM PDT by Fighting Irish
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To: Fighting Irish
My wife used to be a big fan of Vince Gill. She has a similar problem with the hypocrisy of those who make careers in Christian faith or music and then do not walk the walk. Nobody expects Amy Grant or Vince Gill to be without sin. It is a disappointment to see adultery destroy two families.

People should be able to express disappointment in the adultery of two famous people with families torn by sin. Otherwise, it becomes tacit approval. We should be put off by a sin publicly committed. A complete tolerance of sin is a green light to evil. It is not how we are supposed to live our lives, whether or not we are Christian music stars.

I read the piece that he was big fan of Amy's but very hurt by her behavior.

13 posted on 09/23/2002 5:11:03 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: what's up
you need to have your act together more than the "little people".

Therein lies the problem. Christians never seem to agree on just what exactly defines "together".

14 posted on 09/23/2002 5:12:05 PM PDT by Fighting Irish
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To: KMC1
This person should have made a decision whether he wanted to write about Amy, Ms. Toogood, or Miss America....

My head is spinning trying to find one thing that ties any of these subjects together.

15 posted on 09/23/2002 5:16:38 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: what's up
judged more stringently because they are in a place

Who places them in that "Place"?

Humans want to worship something. The old gods of Baal are dust and we have erected new idols.....entertainers.

When we change our focus to where it belongs.....all this other tabloid junk holds no meaning any longer.

16 posted on 09/23/2002 5:16:45 PM PDT by Fighting Irish
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To: Fighting Irish
Democrats seemed to think Clinton's affair was "private" also.

Everyone will have a different opinion on what constitutes good behavior in a position of authority and, yes, no one is perfect.

However, in our culture there are too few good examples of powerful people having good marriages.

I believe this is the issue at the moment in our time...we need more good marriages and holding people accountable is one way to achieve this.

17 posted on 09/23/2002 5:19:36 PM PDT by what's up
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To: Fighting Irish
True...worshipping christian rock stars or anyone else is wrong. I don't listen to any music much anymore...I'm long past my adolescent days of looking for some Christian "guru".

But society always has and always will look for examples to follow. People who achieve these "places" (as spoken of above) must be held accountable.

18 posted on 09/23/2002 5:22:18 PM PDT by what's up
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority
What a very excellent and loving response you have given!
19 posted on 09/23/2002 5:23:53 PM PDT by Boxsford
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To: Fighting Irish
I don't know how to respond to your remarks. The idea of holding up our Christian entertainers to a higher standard versus to be forgiving is, at first blush, the right thing to do. Then I think of James 3. While our entertainers are not quite "teachers" they are in a position to lead many to Christ. The dangers as James points out, are that as a leader you may lead them the wrong way and for that you are held to a greater level of responsibility. The question then is, are Christian entertainers in a position to lead others and if so, in which direction?
20 posted on 09/23/2002 5:28:56 PM PDT by elephantlips
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