Having grown up in a Christian home and environment, I had never been exposed to secular music. I always thought that Christians only listened to hymns and Christian songs. Interestingly, it was after I joined the church’s carolling choir that I was introduced to pop music by the young adults. It started with Christian artistes like Evie and Debbie Boone; and then progressed to the likes of Anne Murray, Abba, Bee Gees and, of course, Barry Manilow. I was just 14 years old then.
More than a detour or distraction, this actually proved positive as it kindled an interest in music that I never had before. I had already attained a Grade 6 in both practical and theory for piano but honestly, if I had my way, I would have stopped there and then. Music to me was boring and totally irrelevant … well, until I discovered a whole new genre of popular, contemporary music, thanks to my older brothers and sisters in Christ. From that turning point, I moved on to composition and music arrangement; and have since produced quite a few corporate musicals for rather prominent organisations. But that is not the point of this post.
Along my musical journey, the Grammy’s would hold a special place in my heart. I remember watching it each year, and secretly desiring to be the very first Singaporean to receive a Grammy (stop sniggering!). Of course, that has not happened for me. I have since grown out of that teenage dream, fully thankful that my musical talents can be used more purposefully for the Lord. Even so, my memories of the Grammy’s continue to be nice ones … until today …
It’s been a long while since I last watched a Grammy Awards show so I was not aware that it took place last night, or the night before. Well, when it took place does not really matter as much as what took place at this year’s Grammy Awards. To put it bluntly, I was totally sickened to read of what happened at the Grammy’s through the two articles that popped up on my Facebook NewsFeed. The first was by LifeSiteNews.com entitled, ‘Same love?’ CBS airs ‘same-sex weddings’ during Grammy Awards. The second was by theblacksphere.net entitled, ‘Christian Grammy Nominee Natalie Grant Walks Out of the Grammys’. If you have not read these yet, I suggest you do, and see if it does not cause your stomach to churn. And when the performance set is deliberately designed to resemble a church, complete with an altar and a gospel choir, it is clearly making a mockery of God, of the Church and all that Christians stand for. On this set, sexual and satanic symbols were presented, along with a mass wedding involving 33 gay and lesbian couples, aired on primetime, no less.
It’s easy to just say, “Then don’t watch the Grammy’s anymore.” but one point disturbed me. And that was the involvement of Katy Perry. It is open knowledge that this artiste started singing in the church, pursued a career in gospel music as a teen before crossing over to the world of showbiz. As the article reports, Katy “used to sing about Jesus” but that night openly engaged in “a Satanic Ritual, or at best, witchcraft”. How could this happen to someone who used to sing for Jesus?
Well, the same could have happened to me too. After discovering my love for music, I ventured into theatre production and got involved in other influences too. I began to keep late nights and thoroughly enjoyed the glamour that came with performing and making music. The truth is, I did backslide and stopped attending church altogether for more than a decade. It was entirely by the grace of God that I later found myself back in the fold, in His arms and in His awesome plan. Quietly, I am praying for Katy Perry that she too will one day return to the Lover of her soul, Jesus.
Today, I have seven children who are growing up in a totally different environment from mine. Whilst I am thankful that there are many more Christian artistes, I am also mindful that listening to or making Christian music does not a Christian make. We can sing worship and praise songs with full gusto and still not have an intimate relationship with the One we sing about. My constant prayer for them is that they do not take their Christian heritage for granted but that they will each encounter the Lord Jesus personally and deeply.
And when the time comes for them to make a stand, may they have the boldness and courage to do so, as exemplified by Natalie Grant who, although a Grammy nominee for two songs, did not take it sitting down but promptly walked out of that disgusting debacle. I am certain many unkind words have already been levelled at her, amongst some are very likely, “intolerant” and “bigoted”. Well, her Facebook post suggests otherwise when she graciously wrote, “We left the Grammy’s early. I’ve many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I’ll say this: I’ve never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I’ve never been more sure of the path I’ve chosen.” Thank you, dear Natalie Grant, for showing us what it means to exalt Jesus and display the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a world of increasing darkness.