Fame, fallibility, and gospel misfits

Following up on my post on the culture of regulated dissent, it’s probably fair to ask: Ok, but why exactly do you think this kind of thing should be reported publicly?

Good question. It isn’t about airing a beloved personality’s dirty laundry for the sake of seeing soiled linen (there are ways to tell the truth without turning it into Springer, and besides, though southern gospel types like to act shocked and horrified when an artist pilfers from the take at the product table or posts nekked pictures of himself on a gay chat site or ends up in rehab or sleeps with someone else’s wife, everyone knows this stuff happens about as often as most people blink).

It’s about exploding the myth of pious lying and challenging the dysfunctional fragility of the southern gospel fame and fan culture, which runs on a preposterous confection of fear and sanctimony. Because the music as a structure of belief can support a far wider range of unorthodox experience than most artists and other industry insiders themselves seem capable of accepting.

More than most forms of Christian entertainment, gospel music appeals to people because it gives them an emotionally meaningful language in which to contextualize and make sense of negative feelings and experiences. Don’t believe me? Compare the experience of singing one chorus of Ronnie Hinson’s “That I Could Still Go Free” to fourteen choruses of “Awesome God.” At its best, gospel music endures because of, not despite, human fallibility. Do you think the power and pathos of Hinson’s lyrics or the Hinsons’ music emerged from a life of gold stars for good behavior in Vacation Bible School?

By and large, the saints go to Sunday School. The rest of us follow the smell of diesel fumes to the nearest southern gospel concert. Understood rightly, the entire history of southern gospel is the record of misfits, outcasts, non-conformists, and strugglers searching for, hearing, finding, or longing after the right key for the soul to sing in. And these people are on both sides of the footlights. To pretend otherwise when those misfits, outcasts, non-conformists, or strugglers happen to be popular performers is to cheapen the grace that gospel music can afford.

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Comments

  1. thom wrote:

    well said. very well said.

  2. RDB wrote:

    Sounds like you want to talk about Jesus blood and salvation for sin and still not talk about it at the same time. Or maybe not.

    Anyway you seemed to be trying to get at something while not being too obvious about it. Maybe its just me.

  3. Irishlad wrote:

    To RDB and all other conservative born-again folk,i happen to enjoy sg best with a few drinks(there i go again)on board. It seems to reach me better. Anything wrong with that? As for DH’s post ,the chap’s searingly and excuciatingly(for him)honest. I empathise,i really do,even if i spell it with a s letter. Can’t take the Anglophile out of me. Lol.

  4. Irishlad wrote:

    Listen to Tim Surrett sing ‘What did ever see in me’ Georgia live’(1995) . Like RH’s great song it can tap that great emotional and spiritual well that even the most captious of us possess.

  5. Casual Observer wrote:

    “Understood rightly, the entire history of southern gospel is the record of misfits, outcasts, non-conformists, and strugglers searching for, hearing, finding, or longing after the right key for the soul to sing in.” Doug, that is, perhaps, the most profound statement you have ever made in regard to Southern Gospel Music. I’ve had an epiphany.

  6. Wade wrote:

    Irish Lad I thought Old Harry Peters & myself were the only ones that could have a few drinks and set back and relax and enjoy the music… welcome to the club!!! lol

  7. JR wrote:

    Bill Gaither was kind of getting to that point also in the Reunion DVDs, as well as a few or the other guys there. Almost would seem Bill Gaither is on the page as DH, except that he doesn’t want anybody to know that.

  8. cynical one wrote:

    Casual Observer - The next line: “And these people are on both sides of the footlights” - is pretty profound, too.

  9. Wade wrote:

    I think Bill G. & Dr Dh talk more than we know… I have heard every time Dr. DH disses the BG Kingdom they get a huge uptick in hits to the Gaither site.

    It also makes sense since Dr. DH will not allow certain info about Bill G & the kingdom to be posted!!!

    THINK ABOUT IT!!! lol

  10. Irishlad wrote:

    Wade my son,we’re on a roll,just wish our bud CVH would unsolcitlly chip in. CVH I miss your input pal.

  11. G.K. CHESTERTON wrote:

    Doug,
    Your line, “outcasts, non-conformists, and strugglers searching for, hearing, finding, or longing after the right key for the soul to sing in.” is as profound as anything I have ever read. If we were honest isn’t that the history of all followers of God? It sure explains why people we want to idolize screw up. Does it make them less than perfect Sure it does. But it is the truth.
    I know it was true of the men and women who followed God in the Bible.

  12. Wade wrote:

    oh yeah CVH is in the club too!!! But CVH is probably still hand wringing over the CHARTING threads!! lol He was ALL into that!!!

    yawn

  13. Gear Hound wrote:

    Just because someone has written lyrics like those discussed doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve lived them. Ronnie Hinson is a great writer. He may have lived those lyrics. Maybe not.

    The same thinking used to be used against jazz players who hadn’t grown up poor or used drugs. How could they play with real pathos if they hadn’t lived the life, gone through the struggle? Thankfully, Wynton Marsalis and scores of jazz players in recent years proved that kind of thinking wrong.

  14. WA wrote:

    This is without question, a brilliant piece of wordsmithing, written from an interesting position. There’s the angst of an imperfect human being trying to reconcile the grace of God in their life, even knowing that God’s ways are past finding out. We can define grace as simply as we need to, in terms that the finite can understand. It is, after all the unmerited favor of God. It has a twin in mercy…for if grace is receiving what we never deserved, then mercy, thank God, is that we’ll never receive what we most definitely do deserve. We live in debt to both truths, and after one accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, we will pass through this life and into one that is eternal still in awe of what has come our way through God’s amazing grace.

    And yet, during this journey down here, every honest believer will never be able to forget that we’re still entirely human. We’re sinners made saints, and our position in Christ has us already in those Heavenly places in Christ Jesus; but, we still sin. And this will be the continual tug-of-war between a nature inherited at birth and a new one given to us at new birth. And yes, on either side of the footlights stand and sit imperfect people struggling every day in a battle often of our own making. However…

    John tells us that we have a God, Who, in ongoing grace, is “faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us…” whenever we confess our failings to Him. He Who can never forget has made a willing, conscious choice to remember our sins no more. And yet, we who are no less fraught with all of the frailties of humanity take delight when we hear of someone more well known than we are, who has succumbed to temptation, or fallen. The old adage says that “Misery loves company”, but I honestly think that it should have been that “Misery demands company”. There’s a certain sense of self-justification in considering the flaws of another. Some seem to have a need to feel as if the person upon whom the spotlight falls is actually no better than we are. And so, we want every detail, and need to converse about it endlessly. Some will go as far as to gloat in another persons fall.

    In this essay we read that “southern gospel types like to act shocked and horrified when an artist pilfers from the take at the product table or posts nekked pictures of himself on a gay chat site or ends up in rehab or sleeps with someone else’s wife, everyone knows this stuff happens about as often as most people blink).” But does it? And do we? Have all of the things on this sordid list happened at one time or another in Gospel music? No doubt. But is it as regular an occurrence as blinking? I hope not. To focus on what I hope would be a few does disservice to those who feel the call of God in their ministry; those who have long careers of public life and ministry without hint of scandal. Should they weigh in here, I’d have no doubt but that they’d be the first to tell you that they also were imperfect people, who keenly felt and feel their need of a daily close relationship with the Lord, and that it’s that, and God’s grace alone, that’s kept them standing. Likely a common denominator of these folks is that they never heeded the siren call of fame for fame’s sake, didn’t buy into their own publicity, and refused to believe that because they did one thing better than most, it made them special, or gave them license to do things that God expressly forbids of His children.

    But sadly, saints who are still sinners will yield. It has always been that way and until we have glorified minds and bodies it ever will. And so, the integral question of the essay concerns the aftermath…do we say the minimum necessary, or do we air the dirty laundry of another? We might each ask ourselves: Would we like our own failures and shortcomings to be the fodder of tabloids, blogs, or articles? I sure wouldn’t. I’d hope that there was enough dignity afforded to me to heal, and heal in private, alone with my Lord and with my family. But this must also be balanced by not lying about a failure, or covering up. The deepest part of me feels that a reputation is at stake in all of these situations. And, God is a God of forgiveness and restoration. His forgiveness is given to each Christian in private, and His restoration is the same. The process of the former is given in an instant to a broken, contrite, and repentant heart. The aftermath, and the inevitable consequences, might take years to be accomplished. If every gory detail is known by the public, restoration has to be at least delayed, and may never be fully realized. God may choose to remember our sins no more, but as human beings, we can’t, or don’t. In it all, there has to be a balance.

    I’ve read this essay through six or seven times before writing this. And, if I’ve come to any conclusion whatsoever, it’s this: “Let him (or her) who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall.” If I have the same enemy as Peter described, a ravenously hungry lion lurking around the next corner, watching for whom he’ll devour next, I have more than enough to worry about than to gossip about anyone else, or to stand in judgment of someone who may, at that very moment, be in more need of God’s grace than at any other time in their Christian life.

  15. Glenpaynerules wrote:

    WA = Tolstoy

  16. Irishlad wrote:

    WA. Very good and very verbose. Spoils it a bit when you’ve to get up for a shave half way thro’.lol.

  17. RF wrote:

    I’m just stunned at the difference the two genres have to offer to the modern Christian. Both involve passion, but the clip from 2005 tells it all. It’s why we listen regardless of who the performer is, and in the whole realm of things, it really doesn’t matter anyway. The experience matters for those who are in the fold or wishing to be and a thousand repetitive choruses mean nothing when true emotion shines. A wondeful piece by DH with a lasting message.

  18. SG Obzerver wrote:

    “Understood rightly, the entire history of southern gospel is the record of misfits, outcasts, non-conformists, and strugglers searching for, hearing, finding, or longing after the right key for the soul to sing in. And these people are on both sides of the footlights.”

    Wow.

    Every now and then Doug will write something that slices through the disillusionment and cynicism that exists in perhaps himself and others and describes perfectly what King James would call “the conclusion of the whole matter”. When I read such an assessment, the chaff just all burns away and I am left with the simple yet profound truth. Well said Doug.

  19. doesSGsell wrote:

    and thus, we ALL really are living somewhere between Jesus and John Wayne. That song is truer than most audiences want to admit. So many of SG followers believe that once you are saved, you no longer sin.

    Our obedience is not the point. We should quit obsessing on being obedient and focus solely on Him. After all, HE is the one who will bring change, NOT us. It’s not in our power to “get better.”

  20. Dianne Wilkinson wrote:

    OOOOOO…”The right key for the soul to sing in”! Some songwriter will surely latch onto that. Hope it’s me! And thanks for your nod to the talents of master writer, Ronny Hinson. I absolutely agree that the best thing SG has going for it (and I am a lifelong RABID fan) is the lyrical content of the songs. SG writers are not afraid to write Bible doctrine…all the way back to “I’ll Fly Away”, which is The Rapture!! This is Dianne…born again by the grace of God, and thankful to be His child. Praise His wonderful Name!

  21. SGfan wrote:

    “Because the music as a structure of belief can support a far wider range of unorthodox experience than most artists and other industry insiders themselves seem capable of accepting.”

    Still trying to find ways to justify your homosexuality Doug? You see, if the music itself is truly based on the Word of God as many like to point out, then it will not support that unorthodox experience of being homosexual, a drug addict, alcoholic, chronic liar, etc. At the same time, the music does not offer excuses for the fallen condition of sin; rather it gives a path to the removal of or forgiveness of sin and a life in Christ. The music points to the only source of forgiveness, Jesus. There is no other way, therefore there is no unorthodox salvation experience. I agree with the concept that you are presenting that seems to point to the fact that we are all fallen creatures. However, I don’t believe that we have to remain there. Jesus’s work on the cross was not just a “Get out of Hell Free Card”. It is more than just something we accept. We have to die to self and live in Christ. Therefore our lives are transformed. Jesus died in a sense to restore the image of God in us. That is the image we were created in, and we messed that up with sin. God, through Jesus, provided a way for the artist to restore the work.

    “there are ways to tell the truth without turning it into Springer, and besides, though southern gospel types like to act shocked and horrified when an artist pilfers from the take at the product table or posts nekked pictures of himself on a gay chat site or ends up in rehab or sleeps with someone else’s wife, everyone knows this stuff happens about as often as most people blink”

    There are many people in this world that are living what they are preaching/singing and many who are not. Human nature kind of gravitates toward those who do not the same way everyone has to slow down to look at a wreck on the side of the highway causing traffic jams. However, that hardly happens as often as most people blink. In fact, for every wreck on the side of the highway, there are thousands of cars that pass by safely. Most of us wreck once or twice, but not nearly as many times as we blink. Either somebody needs to get you some eye drops because you don’t blink enough or I would hate to have your insurance premiums. We have to recognize that those that are on stage are just as susceptible to temptation as we are. That is part of the human experience. They are just as flawed as we are and just as capable of deciding that they know better for their life at a particular moment than God does. That is when they or anyone falls to sin. Temptation itself is not sin, merely the opportunity to sin. We all face that on a daily basis. As long as we allow God to lead us through it, we do just fine. As soon as we decide we don’t need Him to lead us through, then we fall flat on our face. It’s kind of like you and your homosexuality (as referenced in the FGCU CAS newsletter ).
    As long as you search for ways to excuse it and as long as you define yourself by sin instead of being transformed into the image and will of God, then the message of SG music is going to be very conflicting for you. The same is true with the message of the song “Awesome God” that you referenced and seem to dislike. One of the reasons that song is meaningless to you is because you can’t comprehend how awesome God really is as long as you are holding back a part of your life from him. As long as you seek to justify your own sin, then the words in these songs are merely words. The music has to be more than just words. The music has to be reflective of life experience with God. That is what sets Christian music apart from secular music.

    ” To pretend otherwise when those misfits, outcasts, non-conformists, or strugglers happen to be popular performers is to cheapen the grace that gospel music can afford.”

    To pretend otherwise tis to cheapen the grace that God can afford. Gospel music own its own has no grace, but the message in it does because of the One the message is about. I have said this a couple of times on this site and I’ll say it again. God loves you as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you as you are. You don’t have to clean up to get God, but if you get God you’ll clean up. It is time we all quit making excuses.

  22. cdguy wrote:

    SGfan — Thank you!

  23. Wade wrote:

    SG Fan - your good at ruining a good time huh?? Your the type of person who can bring anybody down!!! Do us all a favor and go post on some holy blog. Guess you like gospel music for the redemptive nature of your assholeness huh???

  24. Wade wrote:

    WA.. don’t try to compete with Dr. DH…nice try though.

    SG Fan… you still suck

  25. SGfan wrote:

    Wade,

    LOL! How old are you? Seriously, I don’t think I have ever read a response that was so childish. I will, however, tell you what I like about SG music. I really like the message in it. It has no redemptive value in itself. The message in it has redemptive value only because of Who the message is about and what the message is based on. Sorry if that is over your head, but it is truth. So if you must continue calling names like a 4 year old, be my guest. You are only reacting out of ignorance or stupidity.

    “SG Fan… you still suck”

    Please. That is what you and every 12 year old reverts back to when you have nothing of value to bring to a discussion.

  26. jbb wrote:

    SGfan; And all of God’s people said..AMEN!!
    Always nice to read a post that is thought provoking. God is so good! Why can’t we get “IT”.
    Wade: I don’t know you or anything about you, however, God’s grace and redemption is available to you too….Grab hold of it. Stop being so juvenile.

  27. WA wrote:

    SG Fan, I smiled too. And please, Wade, may I ask why on earth I’d want to try and compete with Dr. DH? I love my life, my wife and kids. I love serving the Lord. Believe me, I feel no need to compete. I did, however, think it important to try and present a different side of the equation. Evidently so did SG Fan.

  28. Wade wrote:

    juvenile is better than judgmental… least with my juvenile I got it done over and quick while some of you want to judge in a much harsher way that makes IrishLaddy have to go shave it was so long… but thanks to WA and SGfan for giving me something to read when I need to nap!!!

    Some of you above could reach out to the redemptive power too!! You need it.

  29. Shan wrote:

    SGfan - Do your preaching somewhere else! Like Wade said…juvenile is better than judgmental. I have to question what your purpose is in calling DH out as homosexual several times in your post? I feel like you’re just trying to be nasty and malicious. First of all, I don’t think DH is trying to necessarily hide his personal life from anybody. Secondly, if you think DH needs to change, then let DH and God deal with that. I think DH is an intelligent man and I don’t think he’s going to have any epiphanies from being preached at from the likes of you! Let me reiterate what Wade said earlier…you suck!

  30. Lonnie Hall wrote:

    SGfan and cdguy (and to the others, you know who you are)-

    Regarding #21 and #22.

    In all sincerity, please go away. Just go. If you truly cannot, and if you simply must be here, then at least think about removing yourself from these genuine discussions about the music if you can’t stay on topic.

    Over the past few weeks, I think the community as a whole has expressed a desire to get back to the discussions of the music and stop the bashing and airing of dirty laundry. Please stop taking everyone’s experience into the toilet. And you two were just the first two to get it really started on this thread which is why you’re being singled out first. There are a few others we all know, too, and we do wish you would just stop it. It’s like dealing with ill-behaved 4th graders.

    Most, or all, of us assume by now that Doug is a homosexual. Yet, we all keep coming back to the site, you included. Hence, we have spoken. Every time any of us click on the site in our browers or take the time to post a comment, we’re endorsing. And, based on the volume of comments we see from you guys, your endorsements are loud and clear: “We really don’t care what the preference of the site owner is, and we ARE interested in being a part of his community. We endorse this site and we are glad to be associated with it.” And you are. Believe me, you are. “To pretend otherwise” is recklessly uninformed.

    Most people don’t support voices they want silenced. Most people simply don’t visit sites they deem offensive. So, consider stopping your endorsements if you really are this concerned. Bloggers blog because people read and participate. Get it? Everything about your constant “let’s get this back to gay” postings are so hypocritical in the context of your ongoing endorsements.

    You’re not invoking the ‘love of Jesus’ card anymore. We’re tired of this and we’re tired of you not contributing to the topic.

    DH wrote an eloquent post. It reminded me of the earlier days of this site, why I tuned in to begin with. Many of us have expressed a desire to get back to those days. If you don’t have the self-awareness to know that your method has become ineffective now, then let me speak for the community here and tell you. Your constant off topic insertions have turned your words into noise rather than insight, hatred rather than concern.

    I know you’ll probably just get defensive and blame it on everybody else and call me all manner of things and so on, but try not to. Try to let us have our music discussions back, if you will. And participate, if you can stay on topic. There’s room for your love of the music. There’s no more room for the poop stirring. We’ve smelled, we’re moving on.

  31. wackythinker wrote:

    Shan — I don’t think SGfan was really all that preachy. And, yes, DH hid his sexual preferences for quite some time. It’s only been in the last few months he’s let it be known. And even then, I’m not sure it was purely intentional.

    Even intelligent people make stupid choices. I think I’m a relatively intelligent person, and I know i’ve made some stupid choices is my life. And I’ve needed called out for it.

    I don’t doubt DH’s intelligence. But intelligence won’t get us to heaven. Jesus said we have to turn from sinful ways. We all need to be reminded of that from time to time. It’s only the pharisaical who think they don’t need that.

  32. Shan wrote:

    Lonnie Hall - ditto!

    Wackythinker - I’m saying that I don’t think there’s anything you can say or SGfan can write here that will “open his eyes” as you would say. Let it be between DH and GOD and leave it out of this discussion.

  33. SGfan wrote:

    Lonnie Hall,

    Maybe you should revisit or re-read the original post. This discussion started as an attempt to look at how we are to properly approach the sins and failures (falls from grace) of those that have a high profile in SG. This site, like it or not, gets a lot of volume. DH has become a relatively high profile figure himself. So, I merely addressed his own issue that keeps him from being acceptable as a high profile figure in an industry so aligned with Christian values. Until recently, DH was not very open about this issue. I don’t know about you, but I am a Christian (follower or reflection of Christ) and therefore must follow and do my best to be a reflection of Him. Therefore, my mere presence here is no different than when Jesus dined with sinners. He in no way was endorsing their sin and neither am I edorsing DH’s sin.

    Now I can understand how the topic of sin and how to deal with it can make you uneasy. It makes many uneasy. However, this post by DH was indeed about that subject. I was not off topic at all in that respect.

    Now Shan,

    I was not malicious in any way. I simply referred DH to his own issues to provide context to this post (which as I said before is examining the way to handle the flaws of those that are high profile figures in SG). That is even evident in the title. I would like to know what “the likes of you” when referring to me is. Do you care to clarify? Did I hit a nerve for you? I don’t doubt DH’s intelligence. I do doubt his knowledge and application of scripture (the foundation for SG music) in these types of areas. It is evidenced by the way he chooses to live his own life.

    Finally, why do we always fall back on the argument that “this is between them and God” yet when it is an artist like Guy Penrod (where nothing has been verified yet) many of us are so ready to assume the worst and get all up in his business? Why the double standard? DH is a big boy and if he doesn’t appreciate my posts, he can refuse to post them. After all this is his blog and he is the administrator. Have you ever considered that God’s way of dealing with it is exposing them (those in sin) to the truth. That is why we are called as Christians to go forth and share the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone. We are supposed to inform them that He is capable of delivering them from their sin and live a life that shows a picture of that deliverence in progress. There is no need for the anger. You are perfectly welcome to disagree with me. You have the right to be wrong if you want to, LOL, but to get so mad and bothered just shows an exposed nerve or touchy area in your own life. Maybe you need to give that to God.

    Note* I did not stoop to call Shan of Lonnie Hall names at any point. I did not blame anyone for anything. I did not have to resist doing so. It is simply not part of my nature (since I started following Christ and allowing Him to be reflected in me).

  34. Shan wrote:

    Ok SGfan - so you didn’t stoop to calling us names…you’re not angry and you don’t blame. Well, I have no problem describing you - call it name calling if you want to. You are arrogant, haughty, ignorant and just like the Pharisee who prayed, “thank you, God, that I’m not like that sinner over there.” You are right that God changes people’s lives when they try to be more like Him. I work on a relationship with God everyday. It is His love that is transforming…not His judgement. Unfortunately, you seem to be full of judgement and your trying to pass it off as a “reflection” of Christ. Sorry, it’s just not working. Post all you want in response. I’m done. Thanks for making my day a little more interesting.

  35. Joe wrote:

    Out of AVFL retirement for one composite post. Many reasons for same…

    WA (#14), and SGfan (#’s 21 and 33) have written the 3 best posts I have ever seen on AVFL. Well done, gentlemen. Excellent…Scripturally accurate, and God-honoring. Kudos to you both.

    Wade- glad to see you miss me so much. You must have mentioned me in a dozen posts. You still have no clue. Let one Christian write from a spiritual point of view, and you pound them with every questionable word you can slip through the sensors. The fact that you so rebel against anything even remotely spiritual, makes me really wonder what happened to you on June 6, 1972. Maybe you had a dream. Maybe it was what you were smoking with the Oak’s band. Maybe it was the re-fried beans. Or too much of your vodka. But you sure don’t talk or write like a Christian. Didja ever read 2 Tim. 2:19B? Or Eph. 4:29? Or 1 Pe. 1:15-16? Didn’t think so. If you’re interested, they’re in the Bible…

    Irishlad- I have twice been to NI. If I had to move there tomorrow, would be thrilled. Have alot of wonderful relatives there. To quote them, you’re a bit daft, me lad…

    Harry Peters- if you really meant that about handing out a tract on the street to one who needed it, then God bless you. There’s hope for you yet! But I still think you and Fonda Peters should head down to your courthouse Monday morning early, and…change your names.

    Dianne Wilkinson- great to hear from YOU. The best songwriter in the past 20 years, bar none. I heard today, on Enlighten, a live cut of the Cathedrals singing “We Shall See Jesus”, and it was goosebump city all over again. Thanks so much for that song, and so many other wonderful songs- What We Needed, He Is Mine, He Rose Again, Boundless Love, Homeland, to name just a few. You are simply superb.

    Shan- you just don’t get it either. If you think God is only a God of love, then you have only learned Him half-way. He created hell. He has the final call on every one of our lives. He will never let a single sin into His heaven. He hates sin more than you have ever hated anything in your entire life. You will never fully appreciate or understand God, until you have learned this side of Him.

    And Doug- I am still praying for you.

  36. oldtimer wrote:

    You may not like what SGfan wrote - but you cannot accuse him of judgnig. He is not qualified to judge. God - on the other hand- is perfectly quailifed to do so. When you point out where one’s behavior is contrary to the revealed will of God (per his word) it is not you who is doing the judging - youa re simply pointing out what God has already judged. I know it is not fun - but we were never put here for our pleasure. We are put here for God’s glory. ANd perfect Holy God can judge whomever he sovereignly chooses to judge by teh standard that he has declared as just ) again - his Word.)

    Too often those who cry “judgmental” are trying to voice their accusations loudly enough to drown out the convicting voice of the Holy SPirit. It doesn’t work - I tried it for many years.

    Chris

  37. oldtimer wrote:

    Sorry for the nagging misspellings in the above post.

    Chris

  38. Butch wrote:

    Wow! John the Baptist would get beheaded again if spoke his mind here. If none of this stuff (sin) really matters, I hope God apologizes to Sodom and Gommorah for losing his temper.
    Butch

  39. Glenn wrote:

    Hey, oldtimer, I think you hit it, SGFan thinks he’s God. We need more Shan, Wade and Lonnie, and a lot less SGFan and his cohorts.

  40. Irishlad wrote:

    DrJoe i presume. You’re right, i am probabley a ‘bit daft’ in your opinion,because,no doubt i’ve come clean about drinking. As for my other reflections on this forum i don’t see too many in disagreement. I may be crazy but i’m not stupid lol. Wackey, intelligent people seem to struggle about heaven. If your thick you’re in no problem,at least that’s how your post came across.

  41. Wade wrote:

    Shan & Lonnie Hall Ditto & thanks for some one else finally having the sack to speak against these mean spirited, judgmental [edit] … notice that THEIR DADDY dr. joe blow who has said for over a year now he was going away just can’t stay away and you ALL should take another look at Lonnie said about continuing to come back… or really NEVER WENT AWAY!!! Y’all are all such hypocrites or you would never come back so we would not have to hear your SPEW!!!

    dr. joe blow you are the belly on the under side of the devil snake!!! Your son SG Fan joined ya on 21. Y’all bring up the homosexual thing on ever thread… get a life!!!

    ok that probably will not make it… but there was NO profanity although you are the type of person my MuM talked about when she said you were so [edit] you’d make a preacher cuss!!!

    IrishLaddy & Old Harry Peters what do you have to say about the I’M BETTER THAN YOU dr. joe blow???

  42. SGfan wrote:

    So now I think I’m God according to Glenn. That is so ridiculous that it really does not need a response. I would like to ask a question though. I have been called arrogant, haughty, ignorant, and a Pharisee by Shan. I have been called a hypocrite, the son of the belly of the devil snake, mean spirited, and judgemental by Wade. By Lonnie Hall I was called hypocritical and an ill behaved forth grader. Yet I am the one that is judgemental for quoting truth that is firmly rooted in scripture? Not one dissent was voiced with scriptural proof to the contrary.

    At what point do we learn the meaning of judgement? At what point do we learn the meaning of accountability? I think it is so funny that as soon as you touch a nerve with someone, they immediately revert back to that whole “judgemental” argument that they have no Biblical basis for other than an out of context quoted verse (usually 1) of scripture.

    Butch, I agree that John the Baptist would be beheaded here for pointing out sin. Paul would be called judgemental for every letter he wrote to the churches. Here, speaking the truth is intolerant and judgemental, while calling names, spewing profanities that get edited out, and flaunting sin and in some ways uplifting sinful actions and lifestyles has somehow become Christian traits. We have some screwed up views of Christianity being presented here. Oh wait, maybe that is being too “judgemental”. Maybe the proper response to the original post is this:

    High profile people in SG music should never be held accountable for their actions. None of us should ever be held accountable. Because we are all capable of sin, we have no right to speak truth about what God’s word says about it. To do so is intolerant, arrogant, haughty, hypocritical, and judgemental.

    I guess Paul, John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ Himself were all those things. After all, none of them held back anything from identifying sin and pointing to the way to be freed from its bondage. I guess they were just judgemental and intolerant.

  43. WA wrote:

    SG Fan - At some point, I think we just have to realize that this blog, and many who vocally comment, have a very different agenda than Scriptural truth. At times I wonder what the attraction is for a music whose basis should be truth, and the Word of God, for these people. But, God alone knows.

    Every word that you’ve written is Biblically sound. I’ve detected no harsh judgmentalism from you at all, but that is likely because I believe the Bible, and try with God’s help to obey it. (I fall very short, believe me).

    I realize that every true Christian is to be salt, a preservative in a decaying society, and honor you for trying. But, there’s an entirely different agenda going on here. I wish you the best, even though we’ll likely never meet until Heaven. I pray that the Lord will richly bless you, friend…you not only have a fine way with words, but best of all, you have a fine understanding of God’s Word and ability to express it. Keep on enjoying the music!

  44. Stormy wrote:

    YES! and AMEN!

  45. Wade wrote:

    WA…SGfan…dr. joe blow…this is not a Bible teaching blog for ppl who are judgmental know it all’s to teach us sinner… go to your SMALL GROUPS and SPEW… we do not CARE about your views regarding bible teaching…we are trying to talk about the music and the industry.

    I REPEAT and Lonnie & Shan said it best… but we do not want your bible teachings here…nothing in the blog description says anything about this being your blog to teach us sinners your view of the bible. SGfan & dr jow blow… if you can’t admit you are attempting to shame Dr. DH about his sexual preference it just shows what liars you are as if we did not already know!!

    dr jow blow is on record for over a year saying he is not coming back… but we know you are there and posting under another names… because we can smell your STANK every time!!

    Dr. DH has more GUTS in his little finger than you guys will ever have collectively because he actually post your BS… then you do not even have the fortitude to show who you really are.

  46. Irishlad wrote:

    WA. I’ve screamed it from the house tops many many times on this blog,namely,what’s the attraction of sg to guys like me, Wade’ et al? No one has yet answered,and,you my no doubtless born-again friend ask the same question without any apparent answer. Doug for all his endeavours to create dialogue is getting no where. Soon as a decent intellectual debate starts all one gets is scripture rammed down one’s throat. Any parrot can do that. To me, (imho) people who bible quote to fill up their post show a lack of original thought coupled with a display of pure laziness.

  47. CVH wrote:

    Irishlad, give me a couple of Tangueray and tonics and I could even listen to The Inspirations…at least the first set.

    Wade, the charting thread was a momentary distraction-let it go. I’ve been too busy getting the scratch together to bid on Elvis’ jumpsuit. The COA Reba says she’s providing would be the only authentic thing she’s done in awhile.

    I’ve been away for a few days but when I read Doug’s post this morning, I was impressed by the way he expressed the human aspects of the sacred and the sacred aspects of our humanity. Both are equally real and valid.

    I’m not going to restate his thoughts in my own words or pontificate in defense of his viewpoint. I’d simply say I agree with him. What he wrote reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Joan Didion: “We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.”

    Amen.

  48. WA wrote:

    Wade, read Dr. Dh’s essay one more time. It started it all. A brilliant piece of writing, from the viewpoint of a secular humanist who at the least has an intellectual understanding of Christianity. The point of the essay itself was not about music, per se. Surely even you can see that. Several tried to address the very set of issues with what the Bible says. I guess that’s our great downfall. I’ve never called anyone names, that’s God’s business. I personally believe that there is room for discussion of the essay topic, and that might be why several comments were posted by DH.

    Irishlad - “decent intellectual debate”? Are you honestly being serious? Surely you have enough discernment to read back over the comments of you guys who hate Christians. Please - read them again, and if you can honestly say that they rise above the intellectual level of 5th graders, then I’ll acknowledge your point. As for “a lack of original thought”, well, duh. Since the Bible is God’s Word, then you can’t get a whole lot more original than that! But, should you mean original human thought, then please - just have at it. One last Bible quotation as I leave…”Who, professing themselves to be wise, have become fools.” I’ll check back here from time to time, no doubt, and so if you can please post again the reason why some of you who profess to despise Christians, as witnessed by your words, like and follow sgm, I will find your answer fascinating.

    All the best to each of you.

  49. Butch wrote:

    WA, I’ve been scratching my head on that one too. Can’t figure out for the life of me why they would be in the least bit attracted to sg. They come on acting like the 5th grade sunday school kids from our inner city ministry; it appears the only difference is they are willingly ignorant of the truth. Still gotta love them both(the 5th graders and the grown-ups)!

  50. SGfan wrote:

    Wade,

    I understand this is not necessarily a “Bible teaching blog”, but it is a blog about Southern Gospel music (which has foundations of scripture as its epicenter). Therefore, what the Bible has to say about a particular subject being addressed in a blog about SG is relevant. I don’t see how you don’t get that. If you seperate that from the music, you no longer have SG music. You just have Southern music. What did you think the word gospel refers to? Again, read the post by DH and you will see the post centered around discussing how to best handle and approach situations dealing with human beings that have a high profile in SG that have in some way shown “fallibility”. I don’t have to shame DH for his “sexual preference.” He can get turned on by pink poka dot elephants for all I care. However, it is my duty as well as the duty of any other follower of Christ to stand up for the principles in His word. That does not always make us the most popular people in the world and I am fine with that. I could care less if you think I am judgemental, because your labeling me that shows you don’t know the meaning of the word.

    We are called (by God’s word) to hold each other accountable. Like it or not, that means that we have to point out where each other is living in contradiction with scripture. We are to also encourage one another. I wish the best for DH and pray that he will seek God and allow God to deliver him from his sin as He has delivered me from mine. I even enjoy reading your responses and debating with you. There is something about a grown man sounding like a freshman in high school in his arguments (that likes to insert profanities for shock value ) that is funny. I welcome the debate and discussion on anything to do with the musical, industry or theological aspects of SG. However, the bottom line is, you can’t accurately discuss the music unless you understand the characteristics and the foundations (which in the case or SG happens to be the Bible). We can discuss this forever, but the only way you will ever have an effective argument to bring to the debate is to actually get into the Word the music is based on. Once you do that, you will find yourself in agreement with me more often than not (scary I know but true). I look forward to the day when you bring something of substance to the table that actually makes me have to take time to do a little research. At least DH does a good job at making people think. He may not be right about very much (especially issues of morality and proper ways to approach them), but he does do a good job at provoking a reaction that opens the door to some thought provoking discussion.

    Doug,

    Keep the thought provoking posts coming. I don’t agree with you much, but I do pray for you. Keep listening to SG. I pray that oneday you will recognize the Source of the message more than the style or structure of packaging. God loves you where you are, but He loves you (as well as any of us) too much to leave you the way He found you.

  51. Irishlad wrote:

    WA. Yes i do mean original human thought,so, i’ll “just have at it”, whatever the Dickens you mean by that. Also, i sincerely hope you and others were referring to someone else when likening some posters to 5th graders.

  52. GVBFAN08 wrote:

    irishlad:

    people who quote the bible are quoting POWER. period, end of discussion.

  53. Joe wrote:

    Irishlad- “Original human thought” took mankind AWAY from God in the Garden, and has continued unabated ever since. If you want to revel in “original human thought”, have at it. However…the Bible- yes, in the book that is persona non gratis here, Paul says this, to professing believers: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”. And sadly, that is the exact opposite of what usually goes on here.

    The “g” in SGM, as others have pointed out, refers to gospel, which originated in the heart of God, is defined by Scripture, and was ratified by the death of Christ for human sin. For any of you to think you can dance around this issue, as if God, the gospel, His view on sin, and the claims of Christ upon a professing believer are fantasy, then you are horribly mistaken.

    Take, for example, Doug’s opening blog. (And Wade, once again, it was DOUG that raised the issue of homosexuality- not me. Go read the opener again). He says it is far more appealing, emotionally, to hear one chorus of “That I Could Still Go Free”, than 14 choruses of “Awesome God”.
    That may be one of the most telling things Doug has ever put into words, and it is the M.O. of many here.

    It is really easy to willfully keep on sinning, in fact, letting sin define one’s life, then go back, emotionally, to the cross, over and over and over, and still try to find forgiveness, even though there is no repentance for sin.

    That is not salvation. Salvation is fully understanding just where I stand, in the face of this truly Awesome God, and realizing that my sin was WHY He sacrificed His Son. That is repentance. Scripture says plainly salvation has 2 components; “repentance towards God, and faith towards Jesus Christ”.

    We have a whole lot of people here who profess faith, but have never repented towards God first.

    And THAT is why there is such a dichotomy of thought here. Some get it, and have gotten it. Some never have. And those who never have, prefer to discuss “the music and the industry”. That means analyzing how people sing, and how many of them fall into sin.

    But that has NOTHING to do with the gospel. I fear that some here cannot discuss this aspect at all, because they have never faced it in their own lives.

  54. Irishlad wrote:

    Yea right GVBFANAN08 if you say so it must be true. I bet with an nom de plume like that your a legend in your own household too.

  55. art wrote:

    Re No. 52: I am always amused when someone says “period, end of discussion.” Did this little group elect a chairman?

  56. CVH wrote:

    Joe,

    Maybe I’m missing something in your last post but I hope you’re not dissecting all the strains of thought here as simplistically as it appears: “Some get it, and have gotten it. Some never have. And those who never have, prefer to discuss “the music and the industry”. That means analyzing how people sing, and how many of them fall into sin.”

    It sounds as though you think people who have different views about the faith are only here to discuss the music and the industry because they “haven’t gotten it”; that somehow they lack the spiritual chops to have a relationship with God and therefore are only whiners or nit-pickers about the human aspect of religious music - whether it be critiquing ability or talking about foibles.

    The heart of the gospel is about imperfect people being loved by a perfect God; I think that’s what Doug’s original post was about. All the polarized rhetoric that has come from that is because it’s actually people who espouse views such as yours who don’t get it.

    You can’t have a blog about an industry, even an industry that is based on religious music and its related culture, unless you look at it from a critical point of view. The people here who immediately take a thread and hyperspiritualize it miss the point. We’re not in a masters level hermeneutics class. We’re a collection of fans, industry types, wannabes and oddballs who bring our collective biases, preferences and experiences into a common space. My hope is to learn things, have interesting dialogues and be amused by the conversation. But so often I’m amazed at the inability of so many to have constructive interaction. An argument or position isn’t discussed for its own merits - it’s debated and often trashed because those who can’t just discuss Ernie’s quasi-metrosexuality or The Perry’s lastest record or an informed critique of a concert have to resort to spiritualizing the conversation as a means of putting down the person making the original point.

    And for the life of me, I don’t understand where you get off making a statement like, “We have a whole lot of people here who profess faith, but have never repented towards God first.” I didn’t realize God was giving previews of the Book of Life. I’m amazed at your knowledge and insight.

    This blog reflects the diversity of thought that exists in Christendom. Are you suggesting that if people “get it”, they’re not supposed to look at artists and the business and the ‘art’ of it all with a critical eye? Part of the reason the industy is languishing right now is because there’s been a lack of realness in many aspects of the business. And while SG will always be a niche within a niche, it needs to be critically examined and evaluated and discussed in order to be made better. The comments offered here are probably a fair representation of what the body of Christ is all about. And as one person who is somewhere on that contiuum of faith, I appreciate those who question, who debate, who struggle and who honestly express their thoughts (as our esteemed host did in his original post) much more than those who stridently insist that the doubters and questioners don’t “get it”.

    When I look at the disciples I don’t see people that “got it”. Ask Peter. Or Paul. A life that is genuine must be examined. It is a pursuit toward godliness with a lot of detours and wrong turns along the way. When I look at the lives of saints of God who have had profound influence on faith and culture through the centuries, I don’t see a lot of smugness or self-assurededness. I see a string of failed, imperfect people who somehow struggle through this life because they know they are loved by a love that is redeeming, long-suffering and everlasting.

    Rather than being concerned about whether or not people “get it”, I’m more concerned with whether I’m living and reflecting that kind of love. And if I’m honest with myself, I know I fall short every day.

    Don’t worry about telling people how wrong you think they are. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. He will accomplish what he wants, the way he wants, in his time. Isn’t that enough?

  57. Joe wrote:

    CVH-

    Thank you for a very well-written and thought-out post. At risk of writing too many long posts, let me try to simplify an answer for you, using your own words.

    I would say that your paragraph 2, is a fairly accurate description of how I and some others see things here.

    That having been said, to explain further, I need to borrow some more of your words. You started your 3rd paragraph with these words…

    “The heart of the gospel is about imperfect people being loved by a perfect God; I think that’s what Doug’s original post was about.”

    That is a correct statement, but only half-correct. What you failed to mention is that the gospel affects such a change in the lives and hearts of men and women, that they live their lives trying to be as holy, godly, “perfect” (in the Bible, it means “mature”), and righteous lives as they possibly can.

    Sin is the exception. Falls are as uncommon as possible. The will is set heavenward, not towards the world. Everything possible that speaks of the old life is set aside. The Bible calls it “a new creation”, and being “crucified with Christ”.

    CVH- I don’t see so much of that here in alot of posts. I see sin glorified, excused, rationalized, minimized, trivialized. Doug’s opener allowed for literally hundreds of NT passages to be applied to the human lives of professing Christians- but as routinely happens here, any attempt to apply God’s Word was once again met with all of the tired old human objections to Divine thought.

    Why is that? WA, SGfan, and others have written eloquently to this end, but their posts get routinely humiliated, almost desecrated. One true Christian who uses one Biblical passage is being “judgmental” (and in post #36, Chris nailed that hypocrisy perfectly…)

    I need you to explain to me, to us, why people who insist on living sinful lives, who really don’t seem to care about any semblance of Christian testimony, who have no use for the guidelines of Scripture, and who really aren’t interested in Biblical principles being discussed, much less mentioned, would have any interest whatever in a music that has arisen from changed lives, and seeks to change lives every time it is sung or played.

    THAT is the conundrum of this blog. It simply may be that it has taken on the characteristics of its owner, and if so, so be it. That doesn’t make it right…

  58. JLL wrote:

    I can tell you why I have an interest in southern gospel. My grandparents sang gospel music on the radio in the 1930’s. Their daughter–my aunt–wrote or helped to write (depending on whose story you believe) a sacred song I can guarantee everyone in here has heard time and again. My parents and extended family sang in churches all over our area. Yet I am someone who would most assuredly be accused by some readers of “insisting on living a sinful life.” I still listen to southern gospel. It’s part of who I am. You can take the boy out of the church, but I guess you can’t take the church out of the boy. I also just plain enjoy it.

    The tone of some of the comments seem almost accusatory, as if I don’t have the right to care about this music because I’m not what some would consider a “true Christian.” If the point of the music is the message, then wouldn’t it be a good thing for us so-called “sinners” to be listening?

    As for Doug’s original topic, it IS comforting to know that sometimes it’s not just the saints singing for Jesus. Sometimes it is a misfit or an outcast or a struggler–someone just like me. It gives that all-important message in the music much more resonance.

  59. Wade wrote:

    Well said JLL… maybe dr. joe blow, SgFan and the likes will stop preaching and talk about the music without THAT ACCUSATORY Tone!!

    They think that if you don’t beat ppl over the head with the bible and get saved every Sunday when you sin that you should not be allowed to comment on the music.

    SGFan & dr joe blow are so low that they beat the blog owner up w/ stuff that has nothing to do with the music in attempt to shame & embarrass him.

    They will jump back on here saying that was not their intent…when they do they are telling a lie.

  60. quartet-man wrote:

    I think some people enjoy hearing the music for the style of it. On the Oaks board there was an atheist who enjoyed the Oaks gospel music. He enjoyed the performance, voices, and the style. So, it is possible. I guess it would be like us liking a performance or style of secular music whose lyrics promote something in which we don’t agree with. Perhaps a better example would be liking kiddie songs that are about cartoon cartoon characters that don’t exist. Maybe even Christmas songs about Santa.

    As far as the other, it has been my experience that people often only look at one side of God. Some see the side of justice, law and works while others the side of grace However, both sides exist. God set laws and those are still true (I am excluding the laws about sacrifices and the like which were replaced.) We couldn’t measure up to all of the laws and live spotless, sinless lives which is where Christ and grace come in.

    However, many use grace as a catch all to basically say that we accept Christ and then can go on our merry way, do what we want, and have the get out of hell free card. Although God knows we can never be perfect on our own, He also can make us more like Him, but we have to do our part. He won’t force us. He gives us free will.

    As far as spiritualizing things here, I think once again there are those who only see one side of it. Of course God made all and is everywhere. However, one side seems to want to remove God totally from the conversation while another wants to put him in every situation. Now, I am not about to say that God should be removed from any aspect of our lives, but I don’t know if we should force Him into things. I doubt if He cares which style of music we like the best, or what style of clothes we buy (modesty aside.) I guess one way that I think God gets included here that is not necessary is when someone critiques the art that the performer puts out and is lambasted as if they are attacking the performer’s standing with Christ, their intentions, or even the message itself. I don’t have any reason to doubt the sincerity of the say the Inspirations or McKameys, but face it, performances by either do not stand up to the quality of the Gaither Vocal Band, Gold City, or probably most of the those in the “professional” side of the industry,
    The most authentic, well-intended, super Christian can sing off key, with poor quality and some cannot sing at all. This doesn’t diminish them as people, Christians or their effectiveness at leading people to Christ. Their lack of talent in singing might prevent them from reaching people with music (here I am not talking about the McKameys or Inspos, because they aren’t horrible, here I am talking about those who cannot sing a note or have a three note range.) Of course, the message contained is still true and God is more than able to speak through them, he did through a donkey for goodness sake.

    However, generally, the package it is wrapped in is what first attracts people to the message. If the best lyrics known to man has a horrible melody, with lousy instrumentation and sung with no semblance of pitch or quality people will likely not stick around long enough to hear the message. It would be like having a diamond ring in the middle of cow dung. Unless someone knows it is there, they aren’t sticking around long enough to go looking for it. That, coupled with the fact that when music is payed for, or even within earshot of people, they have a right to critique it.

  61. Wade wrote:

    You are amazing QMAN!! Love ya….

  62. quartet-man wrote:

    Sorry about the typos above. I know better the repeated word got lost in the page as it scrolled I think and the others I guess were my fingers not keeping up with my brain or vice versa. ;-)

    61. Wade, Oh man, you have me going back to re-read my post to make sure what I typed since you agreed with me LOL. ;) ;)

  63. wackythinker wrote:

    Quartet-man — What are you trying to say about Santa?;-)

  64. quartet-man wrote:

    #63 WT, I am only talking about the ones who listen and believe there isn’t one…………we both know the truth. ;-)

  65. Harry Peters wrote:

    Reminds old Harry Peters idea to write a song. The hook is going to be, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sweet Baby Jesus and Ground Hog’s Day.

  66. wackythinker wrote:

    Harry, I’m not sure how we got off on this tangent, but do you think the Christmas carol is correct, when talking about baby Jesus, it says, “No crying He makes”? I tend to believe he was more human than that. He probably cried and pooped and everthing else a human does.

    And, in Joseph’s carpenter shop, did Jesus ever hit his thumb with a hammer? And if so, what was his verbal reaction?

    There I go, being wacky, again.

  67. JR wrote:

    wackythinker: Jesus was perfect! He most certainly NEVER hit his thumb with a hammer!

  68. Harry Peters wrote:

    JR (66) That was a sligh one. Your sarcasm is duly noted. Whacky Thinker (65) Old Harry Peters believes Jesus was fully human and fully God. However, old Harry Peters doesn’t think an occasional “hell” or “damn” is a sin either. Never found the verse in the bible that railed “agin” it.

  69. wackythinker wrote:

    JR– I think you’re right about Jesus and his thumb. He never did anything by accident. But what about Joseph? What would his deleted explitive have been?

  70. JR wrote:

    Probably a longer word like SAMARITAN!

  71. JL wrote:

    All sinners are saved by grace.
    All prodicals are welcomed by the Father when they come to themselves and come back home.

  72. wackythinker wrote:

    JL — No, only those sinners who ASK to be saved are saved by grace.

    And it’s “prodigal”, but we knew what you meant.

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