What Shall We Do With Amy?

Ever since she burst on the scene almost 25 years ago, Amy Grant has been part of our lives with so many songs, so many concerts, interviews, charity events and more. She always embodied our highest hopes and dreams. She was committed to Jesus, embraced a simple yet deep faith and exuded a compelling sincerity, tenderness and sweetness.

We followed her life as she married Gary and become a mother. And then in March 1999 we read on the front page of newspapers that Amy Grant, Christian superstar, whose fans bought 22 million of her records, had filed for divorce. And then just one year later, Amy married Vince Gill, also recently divorced. Not long thereafter they welcomed their first child.

What Shall we do with Amy?

Countless Christian radio stations pulled Amy’s music and many still refuse to play them today. This past year, anti-divorce protestors picketed what was to be a festive occasion, Amy’s Christmas concert with Vince Gill.

And now we read in the cover story of CCM magazine the news that Amy wants to come back. At 41, following what she describes as the hardest years of her life, she says she has rediscovered the love for Jesus she knew when she was a child. ‘I am happy and at peace.’

She is anxious to return to the spotlight to share about her return to the hymns of her youth and the faith of her childhood in an album called Legacy. Asked what she would like to say to her fans she said, ‘I am sorry I did the best I could, and in some arenas, my best was not good enough, I’ve made some bad choices.’

‘It took me a long time before I could pray with my kids again, especially with divorce in a Christian setting. I often thought, so God can fix everything, why can’t he fix this? It may seem kind of flippant — but that is why we need Jesus. It really is the truth.’

Today she says she is happier then ever — ‘I feel like the most loved woman who ever lived. I admire Vince on so many levels. I admire him for his character, his mind, his giftedness, his love for people and his love for life. At every turn he makes me know that what I bring to the table is enough — more than enough.’

She admits that Legacy, Hymns and Faith is a comeback of sorts. ‘I made a conscious effort not to say, ‘This is it.’ I’ll do a couple of kids’ records and fade out into the sunset.’

Of singing My Jesus I Love Thee, with it’s verse about glittering crowns she says, ‘Here I am somebody who’s endured some public shame and now I’m singing at the top of my lungs about worshipping God with a glittering crown. And I thought, ‘This is so gutsy of me to be singing this.’ But that’s the miracle of it all. His grace. And it’s not cheap grace, its doing the best I can and realizing that my best was not good enough.’

So what Shall we do with Amy?
Do we forgive and forget? Do we attend her concerts? Do we buy her new CD?
Do we dismiss Legacy as a strategic business ploy? (What better way to get air-play on Christian stations?) Should Christian radio stations play her songs again?
Should we trust her and believe her sincerity?

The Christian community has been rocked by the disappointing public failures of more than a few Christian artists who have fallen publicly, withdrawn for a season and then came back on the scene, always banking on the forgiving spirit of their Christian fan base. I think it is good that we be forgiving. Jesus urged us to love, forgive and also said, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!’

Having said that, it seems to me that Christian artists are occupying an increasingly important place as leaders and role models for their young, impressionable fans. When it comes to leaders in the church, the Apostle Paul indicates that we should expect more of them and hold them to a higher standard. So when an artist falls and wants to step back they are really asking for more than forgiveness, they are asking to be granted a trusted position of leadership after their worthiness has been called into question.

Because of their special role as leaders, shouldn’t they undergo discipline and be officially restored to fellowship before being granted a position of leadership? The public is not in a place to provide that. The record label and promoters, no matter how highly esteemed, should not be asked to provide this seal of approval, because their motives are too obviously self-serving.

It falls on their local family of faith, their church, to assure the public that they are worthy of our trust. In the case of Amy and Vince, CCM magazine makes a passing reference to a former pastor who says they attended church regularly. Amy made no references to any formal process of local restoration. For her benefit, and ours, Amy and her husband ought to place themselves under the review of local and recognized spiritual counsel in a local church and that should be the team to assure the public regarding what we should do about Amy.

Posted in Staublog, Thoughts in April 27, 2002 by | No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

− 1 = 6

More from Staublog