Ga(i)ther ‘em up

News of the Homecoming Tour besting the likes of Rod Stewart and Elton John in ticket sales is not really a surprise, I don’t think, to anyone who already appreciated Gaither’s intelligence and drive. But it’s certainly quite nice. As one reader pointed out (and I think as may have been said on the message boards), the most interesting thing about the news is Gaither’s slightly self-deprecating way of embracing his wide-ranging success in Christian and secular markets: “At this stage of my life, I’m just delighted to still be touring and included on a list with such great talent!” There are a coupla things I like about this line. First, it’s gracious. Second, it’s honest. John and Stewart and many of the rest of the people on the list are legends of American music for real musical reasons that Gaither is rightly unafraid to acknowledge (of course it helps that Gaither’s beholden to no one but still …). Third, finally, and more generally, the news proves that wide-net ecumenicalism can be and is a successful method of doing sg. Gaither proves that people like sg, that is a marketable, economically viable form of entertainment. The key is not imitate Gaither even if you could, but to latch onto the transferable elements underlying his success: good entertainment is good business is successful ministry.

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