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Amy Grant is staring at me. Or rather, a magazine with Amy on the cover is sitting on my desk. Her huge face is unnerving me. I'll shove a pile of CD's over it, and all will be well. It's been a strange road I've traveled with Amy. My first music purchase was a cassette of Lead Me On. I think I still have it somewhere. Once I heard that she was "crossing over," I had a librarian look up her address so my 9 year-old self could write her a letter (which was never sent) expressing my sadness at her "forsaking God" by recording the secular Heart in Motion. But I bought that one too. I danced around living rooms singing "Baby, Baby"—just like everyone else, I suppose. I smiled when she recorded those sweet love songs with Gary and sighed when she signed divorce papers and said she never really loved him. Why was she screwing up again!? It's too simplistic (and downright dumb) to say that the fact of her being in mainstream circles contributed to her personal problems. All the same, radio stations wouldn't play her music anymore. Publications would either ignore the situation altogether or print something about "Love the sinner, hate the sin." It all seems so ridiculous. Everything was just so screwed up and confusing.

So now she is "back." And on the Christian side, what's more. Platinum albums are gracing her walls, and she is once again gracing magazine covers. And staring at me. A few years will cover quite a bit, it seems. I know that God has orchestrated her life, but I'm terribly curious about what would have happened if she had just stayed put instead of wandering the prodigal's route. Surely it's better to live quietly and simply for years then to have to go through Hell to receive the homecoming with the fatted calf.

A local band I love dearly seems to be deviating from the path they were traveling a few years ago. I loved that path. These guys wrote music that spoke God to me. I still listen to that old album when I need a spiritual kick in the pants. Now they are on the radio singing songs that are musically sound but lyrically void compared to earlier writings. They are heading for "mainstream." Something tells me they aren't aligning their talents with their callings. But what can I do?

So many more things are accepted these days. I myself have rallied for more "Roaring Lambs" to infiltrate the mainstream darkness and bring Christ to the masses. But has that happened? With all the "revolutionaries," and "pioneers," and "warriors" what has changed? It seems the only Christian artists that are really being embraced by the secular music world are the ones who have completely deleted the themes of their Christian days, or at least glossed them over with thick, cryptic symbolism. But what can I do?

Is our scheme of "invade darkness and shine" really working? Is anything changing? It's like a line in a song: "I wonder what we paid for what we got." Is this the best way? I'm tired of watching priceless bands go out into "the mission field of mainstream" (where they often meet with material success) and lose all of the spark that made them attractive when they were in the Christian scene. Is it time to rethink this a little? Did we throw ourselves too hard on one idea? Are we following some supposed formula that is going to grant us evangelism and fame for the sake of Christ? But what can I do?

Keep staring, Amy. Maybe I'll think of something.
- Melissa Miles
August 2003
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