Myth Busting

Over the years, there have been, as far as I can tell, some pretty ridiculous stories circulating out there about me. I’ve heard the one about my sanity having been addled by brain cancer, and then the one about my sanity having been addled by AIDS. There’s the one about my having moved to Florida to get better AIDS treatments (in one version, for myself, in another version for my partner), the one about how I was abused as a child (I guess the same kind of person who assumes that insanity is the best way to explain the way I write also  believes child abuse causes homosexuality, bitterness, and a life of angry isolation), and the one about how I sleep in a coffin during the day.

I only made up one of those, but they’re all so outrageously lame as responses to a blog about southern gospel music as to be kind of funny in their lameness, and honestly I have sort of come to look forward to just how much more preposterous the next fevered tale will be than the last (new ones usually spring up in the aftermath of particularly unwanted criticisms and flourish in the sandy soil of the uninspired imagination that puts more energy into trying to discredit who they imagine me to be than just engaging the with the substance of the criticism). At any rate, I’ve never found any of them  worth dignifying with a response, and still feel that way. Comes with the territory, I figure.

However, since L’Affaire Harold Reed broke out, the old chestnut about my having tried out for the Nelons and been rejected has reared its head and started surfacing repeatedly in the comments section. This is the kind of pedestrian lie whose banality could lend the fiction a certain plausibility  even to reasonable but uninformed people.

So let’s put this one to rest, shall we? I have never, not once, ever tried out for any professional gigs in southern gospel or any other form of music. None.

I think I get why this idea might be so appealing … for some people, it’s a lot easier to tell yourself that there can’t possibly be anything worth taking seriously from a reject sodomite pianist etc. than it is to have some of your closely held ideas challenged or your settled positions interrogated or disrupted or whatever by someone who outside conventional industry roles. And yet, while the purpose of this fantasy seems to be to try to discredit me personally by demonstrating my lack of  musical skills, it actually attributes to me far more musical ability than I really have in fact, because to try out for the Nelons, even in their current pale-imitation phase, you’d have to be a lot better than I ever have been.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my coffin.

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  1. Mark wrote:

    Your right that all of these rumors are crafted to discredit your opinions. Of course you know you are allowed to have an opinion as long as it conforms to the Joyful Noiser’s tastes and theological assumptions.

  2. justinhill wrote:

    I love reading your opinions and views. Do I always agree? No. But that’s a good thing. It makes things interesting!

    I am surprised at how so much SG has become “un-professional”. Bad singing and corny stage presence are major turn-offs for me. (Don’t get me started on the fact that everyone always uses the same old “quartet” jokes!)

    I think the reason the lack of professionalism bothers so many people, is because they are ticket buyers. I would think that it would be rude to make some comments against individuals and groups if they operated on a love-offering basis. But, if you are coming to a church and charging them a $2,500-5,000 flat, YOU NEED TO BE GOOD!!! Lol.

    However, in the end, it’s all about Christ! I encourage every singer, musician, listener, and critic, to focus on HIM!

    Thanks for some great reading Doug! I appreciate what you do!

    Justin Hill
    (P.S. - thanks for not having anything bad to say about me….yet! Lol)

  3. QwertyJuan wrote:

    Sodomite? So that means you are a homosexual?? Nice touch.

  4. DMP wrote:

    Everyone knows gay people are tone deaf. Geeeesh.

  5. QwertyJuan wrote:

    “Everyone knows gay people are tone deaf. Geeeesh.”

    Well no wonder he complains all the time…

  6. GC/EHSS/L5 fan wrote:

    I heard that weren’t Jake Hess’s real hair neither.

  7. rlwimb wrote:

    I believe that most bloggers depend upon readers. This is my first visit & first post. Trying not to judge my first experience by this chronicle I journeyed further back to garner and glean.

    After filtering through the excessive verbage and lengthy use of vocabulary which seems to be an overcompensation, and perhaps an amatuerish attempt at convincing those with an “Jerry Springer” style of ravenous appetite that “wow he uses big long words, so he must be credible”. I picture you enjoyingly and jovially writing to the offense of those who just can’t seem to change the channel.

    You reveal many weaknesses in your writing about who you are personally. This post has two that are notable. The first being your weak justification for breaking your code to address the alleged lie being probagated. After all, you certainly have shown thus far that you actually “give a rip” about what others think of you. So my ovations to Harold for summoning or antagonizing you to awaken from your coffin, sword in hand, to defend your dishonor.

    Secondly, a saw a homosexual gay theme weaving its way into many of your posts? Why? Its a pathetic weakness which taints your writing. I literally laughed out loud at your hypocrisy in “calling out” the alleged liar while at the same moment thinking nothing of confessing your allure to the act of sodomy. Nice word choice by the way… “sodomite”. You really drew from a deep well there didn’t you? Did you you say “Let’s see, what word can I interject within this post to satisfy my need to not only write about the topic, while at the same time put a out a ‘oh by the way’ style reminder, but chiefly to offend those “Bible thumpers” who regard the act of sodomy as disgustingly sinful”. Again, its a pathetic weakness.

    Your opinions and criticisms are marred by these sad themes. I would counsel you to exercise restraint and discipline in these areas. Your pathetic weaknesses certainly need not become cancerous destroying your obvious creativity and prose.

    Sadly, I fear that you could care less.

  8. DMP wrote:

    Here’s an idea. If you hate this site, go away.

  9. DamonFromKY wrote:

    rlwimb, the point of a (good) blog is to provoke thought and generate discussion. I don’t see how anyone could question whether Avery is good at that, given the long-term existence and devoted following of this blog. Imagine if someone years ago polled the SG-interested population and said, “I think I’ll propose a left-leaning intellectual blog on the inside world of southern gospel music. And I think I’ll ask a gay professor to write it. What do you think?” How many would say, “that’s a great idea sure to succeed!!” Answer, no one.

    You and others here seem to believe that no one with Avery’s outlook on life and scripture is qualified to comment on something as sacred as SG music. I question why then you are here and commenting. I’m sure the web is full of blogs to which you simply do not visit because you do not accept the perspective of the site. Yet you chose to comment here…

    That would actually somewhat justify the existence (and success) of averyfineline. Thanks for your contribution.

  10. Joe wrote:

    And away we go…..again.

    1 Kings 14:24- And there were also sodomites in the land, and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

    1 Kings 15:11-2- And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord…he took away the sodomites out of the land…

    1 Kings 22: 1-2, 23:7- Josiah…did that which was right in the sight of the Lord…and he broke down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord…

    Anyone here even care what the Word of God says on this sorry subject? In all 3 places, the Lord connects Himself to these folks…in judgment. The word “abomination” is, once again, used.

    And even in these days, the sodomites tried to closely connect themselves to the people of God.

    Does no one here remotely care what the Lord has to say about this sin?

    rlwimb- you’ve nailed it. “Sodomite” is the most inflammatory and in-your-face word he could have used. Don’t for a moment think it was done without a fair bit of forethought.

    Damon- those of us who come here from time to time, over the years, wonder continually why Doug has affixed himself to GOSPEL music. The gospel, after all, changes lives, washes sin away, and cause the redeemend soul to bow in total obedience to the Lord Who saved them. Doug, on the other hand, seems to glory in, what the Bible so clearly states, is an abominable sin before a holy God.

    It remains the great conundrum of AVFL.

  11. judi wrote:

    Maybe not a pro SG appearance, but I remember one time you played the piano at our church when the organist was on vacation, and you had some of the old timers weeping with joy. You do know the music, and also you know your way around the keyboard. I will always treasure the times I have heard you play…and sing.

  12. DamonFromKY wrote:

    I’m curious. When known adulterers and fornicators post messages other places on the web on politics, news, or entertainment, do you guys go to those sites and post scripture ignoring the point of the original message? This site is not about sexuality, yet some seem to think that’s all it is about.

    And, before someone says “but Avery is the one who said `sodomite’”, look again at the context in which he said it. He was making the point that those who do not want to hear opposing ideas will go to labels and rumor to discredit him rather than engaging on the ideas themselves. Your knee-jerk “let’s condemn the gays” response actually proves his point.

    Read the top of the site. This is Criticism and Commentary on Southern Gospel Music. I really don’t think anyone’s coming here because they want to engage in a discussion of sexuality.

  13. Kyle wrote:

    Given the current (ok, re-current) Springer-esque nature here, I thought I’d give a little story about a situation my family was in recently, in hope to provide a bit of perspective as to why I feel it somewhat pointless for people to take part in some of the mudslinging….

    A few years back, a relative of mine was accused of abusing a child. The charge was bogus, and we all knew it, however, the accuser took the story to the media, and within two days, CNN was camping at his home.

    Throughout the entire ordeal, my brother (as well as our entire family) refused to comment on the situation. Did we want to defend him?? HELL YES!! Would it add fuel to the fire? Most likely. But we kept silent, knowing the truth and believing that the truth would eventually be revealed.

    A year after the initial incident, the accuser (who had filed a lawsuit) was found to not only be in contempt of court, but in jail for domestic violence. Talk about ironic!!

    My brother was finally vindicated, and we got on with our lives. Could we have taken part in the circus? Sure, but what would it have done, besides give the jackass who started the whole thing more camera time to fight back.

    The best way to deal with a pest is to ignore them.

  14. Joe wrote:


    There is nothing sacred about politics, news, or entertainment. It is all about a dying world.

    On the other hand, the gospel, as articulated in the Word of God, is incontrovertible. Paul said he was always ready to defend the gospel. And though it may amaze you, there are still some who try to do so.

    The gospel is Christ’s atoning death on the cross, the shedding of His blood, to wash away sin, and totally change lives.
    A believer is to glory only in the cross.

    It is incompatible with Christianity, to set yourself up as an expert on any part of it, and at the same time, glory in sin.

  15. Tjeerd wrote:

    “some pretty ridiculous stories circulating out there about me”

    This DutchCanadian is out of the loop regarding ridiculous stories. Have not heard any. I had an inkling you were gay, but did not really care. Everyone of us has a struggle.
    I read your blog because its well written. Keep up the good work.

  16. Tad Kirkland wrote:

    Ave, you know I’m an avid reader and usually in agreeance of your comments but offended, as usual, of your continued discrediting of the current Nelons. Now stop bashing and start calling up your local dj down there in Florida and request whatever their latest single is so they can knock the Browders(?!) off the #1 spot! Or better yet, give them enough money to pay Rick Hendrix to call in some radio favors… Kidding (a little), but seriously pick on someone who deserves it.

  17. DMP wrote:

    Keep posting those scriptures Joe, and I bet some homosexual out there will read it and say, “you know what, I don’t like men anymore! Thanks Joe!”

  18. Hector Luna wrote:

    Many groups have have made it evident to take the “Gospel” out of Southern Gospel anyways. So it’s more like Southern Religious Music. So in that regard, I’m glad Doug continues to make this site available to us. Maybe by sleeping in that coffin, he gets his best thought provoking material. Actually, if he sleeps in a coffin I’ll take up a love offering at church. He can buy a mattress or pay to keep this site going. His choice.

  19. Glenn wrote:

    Any comment prefaced by “and away we go…again” is a total waste of time.

  20. Larry Ferguson wrote:

    Usually when someone doesn’t like a thought from a blogger they tend to make up garbage about them and/or to discredit them. I recently had this same issue with phoney posters on this site after I made an oppinion they opposed. You will get more of these physcho posts sadly as people don’t like opposing thoughts.

  21. in Agreement wrote:

    Maybe I’m alone here, but AVFL’s posts never seem angry. I see them as pointed, spirited, poignant, engaging, and, very often, funny. Even when I don’t agree with him, which is very much the case a lot of times, at least I understand his opinions.

    I can’t understand why the comments they generate are so often angry. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of the culture we share. It is bound closely with the freedom to worship as we choose. These freedoms are made more precious by virtue of their protection in spite of any offense they might cause to others.

    This means, of course, that people who want to shout personal insults at the owner and other commenters are as free as AVFL to express their thoughts. AVFL even respects this idea so much that he allows the expression on his site.

    However - and here I am convicted, not contrived - I do not relate to the kind of vitriolic hatred and deeply personal comments that are often directed toward this blog’s owner.

    Dissent should not be resonant by only appealing to the basest instincts of men.

    I do not believe that the people who lash out at AVFL are in the same verbal league, very often, with the site’s owner. I know that I am not. However, that does not mean that is makes sense to:

    1. Attempt to stifle dissent by calling it unrighteous to question the musical ability of a person/group who has offered themselves to the public “for hire” if they sing gospel songs.

    2. Attack AVFL’s opinions as unworthy to be heard because he fails to be ‘Christian’ enough to comment on ‘Christian’ music.

    3. By saying that only those who have failed to gain entrance into the realm of “full-time professional gospel singing groups,” and are hurt deeply by the rejection, could summon the ill-will to critique a singer/group who belongs among the exalted-elite of professional Christian Southern Gospel Groups.

    The truth is that I am a long time fan of southern gospel music. I like a great many groups, love a lot of great songs, buy some CD’s, and go to concerts when the notion strikes. I used to attend the NQC (the Nashville and early Louisville years). I know some gospel singers to speak to; none are personal friends. I can’t sing a lick. I’ve never once tried out for a part in any kind of musical group.

    When I see the responses offered to AVFL’s steadily good writing, from ‘fans’ and some of the group members who post, I am really freaked out. There is a literal torrent of simplistic and vile responses that seem to be encouraged by at least some members of the professional gospel music community.

    Criticism is a genre of writing. It is also a viable and worthy response to art. Like Southern Gospel Music, it is a hobby to some and a profession to others. It predates, by many centuries, the 100th anniversary of the music under review on this site. It is intended to generate thought and debate; meant to contribute positive ideas to the artist, and to point out flaws and weaknesses that are perceived by the critic. Criticism should always be reviewed with the same skepticism that is used to test historical accuracy and scientific theory.

    It should not, in a civil society, be answered by personal attacks against the critic. It is not required, expected, or, in most instances, healthy, to allow only an artist to critique works of art. AVFL should be challenged on the merits of his opinions; not insulted or slandered as a human.

    I believe that AVFL makes some good points that need to be made to southern gospel groups. Sometimes, I think he is in search of a perfection that can’t be attained in an industry where the artists who are considered “the best” reveal their severe limitations as creative individuals by their pitiful thought processes, at least as they express them here. Add to that a reactionary fan-base who cannot accept an opinion they do not share, and you have the recipe for the death of a genre’s growth potential.

    Worse, you get scared away from a concert where you would like to see if your former favorite group has gotten better than they were the last time you saw them. Because, we now know, if the tenor doesn’t call you out for a duel after a “Glory Road” encore, his sister might get you in the parking lot. And somewhere, in the midst of all that craziness, there appears a group of people to defend the thinly veiled threats and name-calling. Maybe, if there are enough of them, they could fill up an auditorium for a live album recording. But I’ll never know. That’s not my crowd. I don’t fit in anymore.

    I wish, though, that I had kept my mouth shut about it last week.

    Because I’m afraid I might have helped a tragic cause. I suspect, when you’ve exhausted all the shtick you can wring out of a groups name, played out all the sympathy/empathy that you might have built through presenting the risks inherent in any business (christian or otherwise) as hyper-spiritualized battles against a lost world who just won’t see what all you’ve given up to serve the Lord, devolved professionally to the point of parody as performance, and find that you are increasingly singing to the same shrinking choir, that there is some measure of marketing horse-sense in throwing some ‘red meat’ punches at the supposed opposition. Solidify the base, keep them happy with the wink-and-nod ‘we know what they really are’ routine, and budget (economically and emotionally) according to how many of those fans left will feed your ego and your family. When that bankrupts you(see parentheses above), write up a nice paragraph about how the Lord has led you to spend more time at home, and they’ll replace you with another “absolute best quartet man we’ve ever known.”

    So, since the formula works, why change it? Is that the line of thought?

    Before any attacks start flowing my way, let me say two things-

    1. I’m not talking about any one gospel group.

    2. I have no personal animosity, whatsoever, against any gospel organization or individual; I just don’t like bad music and poor performance force-fed as ‘of God’ and thus unassailable. Much of what I hear today is ripe for a good, honest critic.

    AVFL, I’ll keep coming back to you. I like smart people. I like well developed thoughts. I like good writing. I like good debates. And, I like good music. So, as long as you keep writing with the hope of making the music that a mere fan like me has always enjoyed listening to get better - you’ll have a reader. And as long as there are still groups who avoid the kind of small-beer thinking that has limited the reach of this music, I’ll be somewhere listening…

  22. Wade wrote:

    They would probably prefer I did not say this but…

    DMP… Don’t pass out but good job on # 17!!!

    Kyle… Great Post!!!

  23. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Why raise the issue?
    #13 Kyle is right on track!

  24. art wrote:

    I thought the question posed in #10 was intriguing: Why does Avery affix himself to Gospel music? Avery, I’d like you to post an essay on that topic.

    Like it or not, Avery is a celebrity — on his own blog, anyway, and maybe in the SG industry. I think this thread illustrates that, just as we are interested in the lives and inner machinations of the performers, we are interested in what makes Avery tick.

    And I agree with a previous comment that Avery’s essays are neither hateful nor hurtful. He does allow others to post venom, which does not reflect well on them.

    And I agree with a previous comment to the effect that Avery’s use of big words can be distracting. But heck, it’s his blog and I say let him have fun with it.

    Write on, Avery!

  25. Bones wrote:

    Some peole just can’t stand to hear the truth. Harold Reed needs to see where he can improve. I know a famous gospel singer who went every week to take lesson from Leroy Abernathy. It’s been a long time ago. Your voice changes with age. Maybe you can’t scream as well as you used to.

  26. Alan wrote:

    My two cents. I’ve also heard the urban legend of Doug auditioning for the Nelons from folks in the industry. I went to an actual source and asked if it was true. And, I received the answer that they’d been asked this several times, but could not remember it ever happening. That’s enough for me.

    Many people in the industry feel a need to understand why you can write so bitterly at times, Doug. You shouldn’t be terribly surprised by this. Like actions, words have consequences. Glowing words make even indirect recipients, well, glow, I suppose. But make no mistake about it - a lot of people who try their best have been hurt, and hurt badly, by some things written here. I’d say that there are more artists who read averyfineline than there are “fans” who do so. Many did for a while, but won’t anymore. When they and their good friends and colleagues have been hurt by words here, they recognize that there’s something going on here that may be larger than just critique. It’s one thing to criticize an arrangement, how a song is phrased, etc. At times, this blog has descended far below that standard.
    Not always, maybe not even often. But there appears at times to be an agenda or a bias that’s Doug’s right as owner, editor, and writer of his own blog. These incidents are interspersed between some very transcendent writings, and I suspect it’s the latter that keep some coming back and checking in here.

    Two last things: When Matt Dibler and Guy Penrod had issues, Doug, you have to agree - you worked them over pretty hard. Others as well. If a critic’s writing on the difficulties of others doesn’t then open them up for criticism of their own failings on an open forum, then it would reflect a one-way street that would only be considered bullying. To your credit, Doug, you evidently post most of the comments that are even critical of you. But you have to know that what’s fair for the goose is still fair for the gander.

    Lastly, since a majority of those who would be attracted to Southern Gospel music, by its very designation, must be Christians, it perplexes many why any mention of Biblical truths are attacked so vociferously on here. I couldn’t disagree more than I do with Hector Luna’s premise (#18) that artists take “Gospel” out of sgm. No one has ever become a Christian without the Gospel. Anyone who obeys the Gospel of God and accepts Jesus Christ as Savior then becomes a Christian. As such, the God of the Bible becomes their Father, and His Word becomes their book. It isn’t rocket science. None of us are perfect, but a mark of being a Christian is to try and follow the teachings we profess to believe. Some choose to follow the wisdom of the day, even secular humanism, and that’s their choice and privilege. Most Christians, however, believe God and His Word. We should all endeavor to display Christian grace to each other, and perhaps especially to non-believers. But, in an ever-changing world, there has to be a standard, and few in the church wouldn’t agree that it’s the Bible. Obviously Doug is building a following of those who like the music but reject some of the teachings that sit like bedrock behind the lyrics. And many struggle with that here. But, it makes for a curiously-fascinating tension at times.

    One fact will remain: This blog will one day end, as will all of our lives. Every one of us will give an account of our lives, ministry, etc., before the One called The Righteous Judge of All The Earth. And at that day, only one entity in the universe will be ultimately right. It will be a party of One, and only those who have accepted His invitation to be His guests will be there. My hope and prayer is that everyone who reads this blog will be there. It really is.

  27. joe wrote:

    If Avery ever retires this blog, I nominate #21 “in Agreement” to take over.

  28. Hector Luna wrote:

    #26 - my apologies for making the harsh generalization. there are some artists keeping the “gospel” in it. I certainly agree with you that the “gospel” is the only thing that changes lives. that was my sarcastic billing for those who remain on “tradition” rather than actually seeing lives changed. the theological context of many sg songs and artist purpose really need some work. but doug sleeps in a coffin and i think that’s awesome.

  29. Alan wrote:

    Thanks, Hector. (#28) But gosh, you have my curiosity peaked. Please be specific? Which artists aren’t keeping the Gospel in sgm? We fully agree on the fact that some songs - maybe even too many - are what I call throwaway fluff. But they’ve always been the filler songs on projects, and too many of them are audience-pleasers. But if you can give some specific examples, I know that for one, I’d appreciate it.

  30. Odeliya wrote:


    Count Dracula!

    Sir, may I have the pleasure of having you as my date for a night walk in the end of October? I will supervise some little children collecting candy from the neighborhood peasants, as some strange american tradition has it. Promise me not to make an attempt to bite my neck - I am not wishing to become your personal Bloody Mary.

    Gypsy queen.

  31. DMP wrote:

    #26, I disagree. I believe that Doug knew exactly what happened with Guy Penrod, and let none of it be posted on this website.

  32. irishlad wrote:

    27.. I’d gladly do it ;)

  33. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    From No. 28: “the theological context of many sg songs…need(s) some work.”

    Absolutely right, but it doesn’t go far enough. The theology of southern gospel is pitiful. It’s all about cheap grace, accept that invitation, punch your ticket, sail on over and be a glutton with your relatives. This sounds more like a Gaither cruise than a theology.

    Do you want to know why I, as a Christian, have no problem with the way Doug blogs about southern gospel ? It’s because I, as a Christian, don’t have a lot of respect for the theological impact southern gospel makes. Southern gospel is weak sauce, skim milk theology on its best day, and it’s aimed squarely at the social security recipients, a majority of whom already (rightly or wrongly) profess Christ.

    For the same reasons, I’m also cool with people dogging Joel Osteen or TCT.

  34. cdguy wrote:

    Speaking of Guy Penrod, and his leaving GVB. . . Has anyone else noticed Guy is on the newest Gaither dvd’s? His “falling out” with Bill didn’t seem to last too long.

  35. RDB wrote:

    Hmmm, this post is maybe the beginning of the end for me? As Doug’s homosexuality was becoming more well known, a greater combativeness began to creep into the postings here (both from Doug and the commenters) and the “transcendent” moments, as Alan refers to them, are becoming fewer. I’m afraid I’ll have bid this blog a reluctant farewell. It’s had great moments, but times change, people change, and what was good once seems to be good no longer.


  36. DMP wrote:

    Guy’s not stupid. I don’t want to say that money drove the move, but in the end, I think Guy knew what was best for him and his ministry. Nothing like a little motivation to hurry up the healing…

  37. Hector Luna wrote:

    #33 - i’ll dog Joel Osteen all day. skim milk theology. i love it. i’ll stick to “It Is Well”, “The Love of God”, “At The Cross”, “Be Thou My Vision”. now those are songs with some depth. let’s revive this theology in SG.

  38. Alan wrote:

    DMP - #31: Perhaps the Guy deal was not dealt with specifically. If the threads on his departure from the GVB are still in the archives here, it would be fascinating to read them this far removed. Many knew the details. Few talked of them, as I believe it should have been. This does not negate the potential damage that can be done when one keeps dropping little snide comments, at the very least, inferring certain things, which happened on here repeatedly. I remember reading them and thinking that what wasn’t said, but merely implied, was more damaging than just being honest. It was not one brief mention…it found its way into several of the essays, and many of the comments threads. After all, you can “work someone over” but vaguely, and often, innuendo can be more harmful than just stating reality. My only point to make in this all is that words can often have consequences. I still believe that.

  39. art wrote:

    #33: Thanks for your thoughtful and lively posts.

    Know why I, as a Christian, have no problem with Doug blogging about SG? Because I know that we are all sinners and because I know that the Bible is clear on a number of things including: forbidding work on the Sabbath (including, I assume, your weekend shift at Wal-Mart and mowing your lawn) and the requirement to execute various people for things like evangelizing their own, errant religions.

    In other words, I’m a layman who frequently reads the Bible, frequently prays and has listened to a couple of thousand sermons and I’m still puzzling over issues of Christian theology and how people can get so exercised about some sins while glossing over others. I have enough trouble noodling out what God wants ME to do, never mind what he expects from everyone else.

    If the Bible and Christian theology are so clear, why do we have so many denominations — each of which believes the others have it wrong?

    Know why I cut SG some theological slack? Because I realize that the Bible has hundreds of pages to explain God’s point and I still get confused. SG and other Christian music genres have only a few lines to get their message across. Those few lines must conform to strictures of meter and rhyme, and I assume that makes it even harder to formulate lyrics that are theologically correct and complete. And then we want our songs to be catchy too…

    I like SG quartet sangin’ because its tight harmonies sometimes capture a bit of the joy and power of Christian belief.

    Everybody have a good day.

  40. Faith wrote:

    I believe that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is pretty clear on that, and Doug is NEVER going to agree. Well, that’s his choice.

    But why don’t people get upset with other SG issues? Obesity is a huge (mind the pun) issue in SG today. Another one is adultery; another one is divorce/remarriage. Randy Crawford is telling everyone on Facebook that he’s getting married tomorrow. What’s this, the third or fourth time? I’ve lost track. Seriously, what’s wrong with these people?…never mind the diesel-sniffers who love them! Imagine, some guy says he wants to marry you, saying, “Well, it didn’t work for the first two, but this time it will last!” I would start running in the opposite direction…but I guess that’s just me.

  41. Auke wrote:

    This will be my last post on this blog..why? Not because Doug is a sodomite or how i like to call it a gay man.
    I’m not coming back because what i read here tears me apart inside….not the views on music but the apparent intollerance of socalled Christians who think they’re better than anybody else. It really saddens me to see people attack a guy like doug who has a opinion about various things and uses the web as a platform, is viciously attacked…now i don’t agree on everything said by him….but the vulgar and banality is pretty degrading…and i can’t stand to read it anymore!
    Doug/Avery i enjoyed your writing (skillfully/witty) very much…..i applaud you for your honesty and insights.
    I hate to do this but…in my renewed faith..this is what turned me off in Christianity for a long time…i need buildingblocks not rocks thrown at me/you or what ever brother or sister.

    God bless you all….and may He have mercy on all of us.


  42. Tjeerd wrote:

    Were going to miss your takes on this blog.
    You have an immense historical musical mind.
    However, I would reassess your boycott, since people can have honest differences. That is what blogs are all about…the free exchange of views and ideas.

  43. Wade wrote:

    Auke… if you leave you are no better than the people you speak of… doen’t make sense… you become in a sense like
    RBD to which I say SO LONG!!!

  44. Wade wrote:

    But we know you will both be back… it is so silly to say WELL I AM not coming back… so High School!!!

  45. irishlad wrote:

    Answer me this Soli Deo Gloria et al:,why no one in the sg genre will ever be able to replicate what Casting Crowns have just achieved with “Until the whole world hears “album? Is it perhaps their material is truly relevant to today’s young people,really makes sense,hits a meaningful chord? Compared to “When I wake up to sleep no more”one can easily see why 99% of sg is dead in the water. There’s just no way it can compete musically and intellectually with what’s happening out there .

  46. irishlad wrote:

    I intended to add ‘and spiritually’ to the end of my last comment.

  47. Hector Luna wrote:

    irishlad - yes. it’s culturally relevant. same thing with chris tomlin or david crowder, third day. there is a lot of meat lyrically. it’s relevant. and intellectually, biblically deep. there is a lady at my church who began to bash every other christian genre (besides sg of course), and said it did nothing for her because they don’t talk about the blood. then i played her a song that dealt with the blood. she then proceeded, “well i still don’t like it”. i full-heartedly believe there are some writers out there who want to leap. i know there are a lot of good thoughts and creative writing out there in the sg industry. it’s just a risk.

    SG purists will bash it. and then you lose your SG purist fans, if it’s too cutting edge or progressive. and you don’t want that, because that’s way more than half of the industry. try writing a love song about Gomer the prostitute (no, not the woman at the well again!!!) and Hosea who loved her and bought her back. if you do it right and make it culturally relevant, that kind of song might be a risk in the industry…for radio at least.

  48. DMP wrote:

    #38, I agree. However, it’s difficult for a guy like Guy (that was fun to say…) to drop off the map and think it will go unnoticed. What Doug has done here is precisely what Guy did not do. He addressed a rumor that was gaining some credibility, and that credibility was strengthened by his silence. 99.9% of what I read about Guy on here, and other places, was not true. I think it is a shame to have those rumors out there when the truth was actually quite boring, and lacked the scandal that so many wanted to bring to the situation. I think Doug did the right thing. But the coffin thing still has me intrigued…

  49. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    I find myself in complete agreement with Hector Luna once again.

    No. 45, there was a discussion about southern gospel’s lack of relevancy and evolution in a previous thread. That discussion basically ended with southern gospel fans being ok with the fact that southern gospel is a genre aimed only at older people who statisically are already Christians (well, nominal ones anyway). SG concedes relevancy, both theologically and musically, to other genres, and just assumes when listeners have had enough theological and musical relevance and are ready to turn the volume down to 2, they’ll head for southern gospel.

    And Hector, a prime example is a song called I’ve Come To Take You Home, written by Gerald Crabb and recorded by the Isaacs. Musically interesting, lyrically fantastic. It’s about Hosea and Gomer. It’s also not a shock you’ve never heard of it, since it didn’t fit the southern gospel template, which says unless it’s about Moses or Noah, the Old Testament is irrelevant.

  50. Jake wrote:

    Well, Doug, since we don’t want this thread to turn into gossp, inuendo, speculation, or any other credibility-robbing activities, perhaps you could help if you would just answer the questions that anyone might ask. Such as … is it a wooden coffin, a metal coffin, a rented coffin, a cremation coffin, a pine box coffin, or a cardboard coffin? And while we are at it, are there any other juicy tidbits about said coffin that we might be curious about, or might be inclined to speculate about and post as fact, etc?

    I gotta go … I’m having a coffin — oops, coughin’ — spell.

  51. Alan wrote:

    DMP - #48: Wow. Really? One can read your entire comment another way. First, “A rumor.” Secondly, “…a rumor that was gaining some credibility….” Thirdly, same rumor “was strengthened by silence.” And then, “…99.9% of what I read about Guy on here, and other places, was not true.” Perhaps your most telling clause was this: “…the truth was actually quite boring, and (big emphasis here) lacked the scandal that so many wanted to bring to the situation”.

    Well written, DMP. All very true - which is a marked contrast to many of the innuendos, slight “suggestions”, thinly veiled wonderings in print, that were the point of my comment in the first place. Ultimately, who was the author of those rumors? Might it have been “the father of lies”? Too many - even believers - seem to have this prurient, base desire to bring everyone down to their own level of misery, as after all, misery still demands company. Your fine post still underscores my only horse in this rodeo; words have consequences. Where we differ is that you evidently feel that Doug was right in fomenting or perhaps perpetuating those rumors on here, and I believe that after doing so - in this, and so many other occasions - they do open up any who write of these things to being the target of the same, themselves.

  52. Alan Berry wrote:

    #47 Listen to the song by the Issacs about Gomer. You don’t find that kind of song writing in Christian P&W. In fact, other than Steven Curtis Chapman, there is not a lot of creativity put into Prasie and Worship writing. Tomlin, Crowder and Third Day is written on a Jr. High Level and appeals to that age level (which is where most 20, 30 and even 40 year olds are stuck emotionally, spiritually and theologically).

    While they occasionally release a song with some depth, most of what P&W produces is self-centered fluff.

  53. lovelife wrote:

    Well, while everyone is on here bashing, arguing and calling names, think about The Greenes right now…..Tony is fighting for his life and unless there is a miracle, he will be going on to be with Jesus…This family needs “christians” to pray for them for strength and for peace.

  54. AFoster wrote:

    Irishlad: Why are you going to comment on an SG blog if you hate it so much? Dude we already have enough haters WITHIN the industry. We don’t need other people hating it too. Oh, and I do believe Gaither will pull something out of the hat one last time that will put Casting Crowns (and all of CCM) to shame. But, you see, CCM fans will never learn… it’s easy to find a SG fan that likes Contemporary Christian. It’s not so easy to find a Contemporary Christian fan who likes Southern Gospel. And are you trying to tell me that there is no spirituallity in SG? As Michael English would say: “You’re just bullcrapping yourself.”

  55. AFoster wrote:

    By the way, by bringing up the whole “It’s hard to find CCM fans who like SG”, I was trying to prove the point that most CCM fans are close-minded. :D

  56. Butch wrote:

    Trivia question: What do Glen Beck, Mitt Romney, Coach Andy Reid, and Randy Crawford have in common? They are all Mormon. I’m not sure which one has the most wives though.

  57. noninsider wrote:

    53. Tony Greene Passed away at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. Everyone should pray for Taranda and the rest of the family.

  58. irishlad wrote:

    54 it’s the 0.1% I like…

  59. Auke wrote:

    @Wade….i realize i’m fullfilling your prophecy by replying…but i was emailed by a friend, who copied your comment in the message…..both of em.
    To the first i am the first to admit i am no better than anyone here….or anywhere.
    But if you had a brain that could proces my poor grammar english you would have known i said or didn’t suggest nothing of the sort. I simply said that reading the blog….didn’t do anything thing for me except leave me with a negative feeling.
    And i have news for you i wouldn’t know anything about highschools…i never went to any school other than private ones with real smart kids on it…..that didn’t do the childish thing you suggested.

    Just to make it clear….it’s not Doug’s initial articles that tick me off, i actual enjoy them, cause their well written,funny and insightful from his angle….but some readers banal/vulgar and insulting comments that’s what did it for me….if this is the ‘body of Christ’ i’m pretty sure that there are in fact tears in Heaven.
    My granddad always said (free translation from dutch) ‘you will always be run over by a menure-truck and never by a Rolls Royce’.
    Doug brother i love you and thanks for your message…..but i made my choice and hope and know the civil folk on here will respect it…tho they might not understand or agree. People like you Wade produce the wind that propels the tiny windmills of your mind…..and it blows only from one direction…and that makes you ignorant and very boring!
    See this rant is why i shouldn’t go here anymore…my ‘flesh’ feels satified doing this…..but spiritually it is the wrong thing to do….and i choose to avoid places that tempt my weaknesses….like i’m not going for a drink in hotelbars when i’m alone on a bizz-trip, or go to places where joints are passed…..not because i can’t, but because i feel unplugged from God…..I’m trying desperately to turn this rant around.
    Someone who overcomes himself, is stronger than someone who conquers a city….i’m trying to be better person.
    Still realizing it’s not by our works that we are saved but by His Grace.
    These were my final thoughts….(i know Wade very highschool-ish)
    GBU all


  60. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Two more examples of Southern Gospel songs about Hosea and Gomer would be Chris Binion/Steve Cheney’s “Love’s Call” recorded by Hope’s Call and Rodney Griffin’s “Will You Marry Me?” recorded by Lauren Talley. There are Southern Gospel writers who are capable and willing to present deep theology in this genre. Both of these songs are powerful and brought me to tears the moment I heard them.

  61. apathetic wrote:

    AFoster, #55, give me a break. Your generalization is ridiculous. That would be like me saying that most SG fans are inbred, overweight simpletons, with silver hair and a big supply of Ensure and denture cream……. wait a minute…. maybe you’re onto something there…. LOL

  62. Hector Luna wrote:

    #52. I don’t think you’ve heard enough Christian music, other than that on radio. Some of it is fluff, and I agree. But I cannot generalize ALL P&W as fluff. And most of the artists I like in other Christian genres are not P&W. For instance, some of the most doctrinally sound and culturally relevant artists today are 2 rappers, “Lecrae” and “Shai Linne”. I know that sounds funny, but seriously check them out. It will blow you away.

    My initial statement was actually regarding a Third Day song, entitled “Gomer’s Theme”, released in ‘97. Thanks for letting me know about the Isaacs song. The Isaacs and Crabbs are 2 artists that I’ve always liked anyways, so I’m not real surprised that they recorded it. Now had you told me the Dixie Melody Boys recorded it, then yes I would’ve been blown away.

  63. Wade wrote:

    Auke… I will miss you!!! If it makes ya feel better you can come on here and blast me any time. I hope your FRIEND, (eyes rolling upward) will send you this message too.

    It is OK to come on here and get in the flash. Where else is better to do it than on a blog about Christian Music??? ;-))

    I know God will forgive you because I WILL… and if I will I know HE WILL!!!

    So take a break and we will see ya soon!!! I love ya. I love Dutch people about as much as I like Irish people!!!

    But you can’t stay away… you know you will be back just like ya gotta have a drink at the bar on a biz trip and you gotta pass around a fatty every now and then!!!

    I am gonna go do BOTH right now and pray for you!!!

    HI to your FRIEND that emails ya!!!

  64. Wade wrote:

    Let me do a Q-Man like self correction…that was FLESH not flash. But if you are a hot woman you can flash both Auke & I and we will GET in the Flesh setting in a hotel bar and up in the room smoking a fatty!!!

  65. Alan Berry wrote:

    Hector Luna
    You’re right my statement that most of P&W is self-centered fluff is and overgeneralization. There have been some well written songs. I am at this moment listing to Mercy Me’s “Undone.” It has some well written songs. However, I think P&W compares with Southern Gospel sort of like “New” country compares to the classic country. The classic country writer would tell a story in 3 minutes -”He Stopped Loving Her Tody” for example. New country takes a few lines, ads a beat and a catchy tune and you’ve got “Boot-skootin Boogy”

    Also, P&W is largly about being “hip.” as is “new” country.
    Southern gospel, classic country - not so much.

  66. JOF wrote:

    Doug is in Twilight? I love those movies.

  67. cdguy wrote:

    I’ve been saying for several years that most people’s taste in music is more eclectic than they realize. A lot of people only THINK they don’t like sg, because they’ve never been exposed to the good stuff. Same with CCM, P&W, country, pop, et al.

    I see it in church and concerts all the time.

  68. cdguy wrote:

    And we’re a little off-topic, aren’t we?

  69. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    Of course Hector is a Lecrae fan! His Rebel album has more sound theology than most quartets’ entire existences.

  70. Hector Luna wrote:

    Soli Deo Gloria - exactly. btw, his new “Rehab” album came out yesterday.

  71. AFoster wrote:

    apathetic: I like your style. However, you have a point there. Although the fact of the matter is that most CCM fans will tell you they cannot stand Southern Gospel. However, many Southern Gospel fans enjoy the message and feeling behind CCM. The truth is it goes both ways. And both of our generalizations are very true (about the closemindedness and the denture cream). Both genres are beginning to meet in the middle though, and “middle-of-the-road” is gaining popularity at a high speed.

  72. AFoster wrote:

    Dude I’m right in there with cdguy.

  73. apathetic wrote:

    AFoster: I just don’t think you can call it being “close minded”. If a person doesn’t like SG music it is a personal preference. Is a person “close minded” because they don’t like the taste of Coca Cola? Or if they prefer a black shirt to a red one? No more close minded than if they prefer the sound of CCM to SG. It has nothing to do with that person being close minded. Now if that person refused to taste Coca Cola and said that they didn’t like it without even trying it, that would be close minded. However, I don’t think that is the case with CCM fans. Most of them have listened to SG at some point. They just don’t like it. Just a personal preference.

  74. cdguy wrote:

    apathetic — I’d say if “most of them have listened to SG at some point”, most of them probably haven’t listened to GOOD SG. Just like most people who say they don’t like p&w probably haven’t listened to GOOD p&w.

    Or good bluegrass, good classical, good jazz.

    If music is done WELL, its appeal will cross a lot of lines. The problem is: too much music (all genres) is NOT done well, and allowed to pass, anyway.

  75. irishlad wrote:

    ‘The Cross where Jesus died’,The Greenes NQC 2010; for me that’s the epitome of all thats great and good and spellblindingly magical about sg.Fantastic.

  76. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    75. That song is actually called “Oh The Cross”. I completely agree with your assessment of the song, and the performers doing the song; magical describes it pretty well…

    Here is a video of them performing the song at NQC.

  77. David Morris wrote:

    One of the things I notice when reading through comments is that when an opportunity presents itself to gossip, the sky seems to be the limit. Somebody gets remarried, so what! How does that affect your daily life? We all seem to forget these people who travel and sing are real people too. You are probably some of the same people who either drop a couple of quarters or $1 or nothing at all in the plate when a group sings for “A Love Offering” and then complain about it, but you make sure you pay the $45 for a secular concert. I really think it is just funny.

  78. IAmCanadian wrote:

    #52 What is the name of the song about Gomer by the Isaacs?

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