Amy Grant (1977)
My Father’s Eyes (1979)
Never Alone (1980)
Age to Age (1982)
Straight Ahead (1984)
The Collection (1986)
Lead Me On (1988)
Heart in Motion (1991)
Home for Christmas (1992)
A Christmas to Remember (1999)
I bought each of her albums as they came out, and I listened to them over and over. It was a rough time in my life, I was lonely, and Amy Grant’s music brought me some comfort as I struggled with something that at times seemed life threatening — yep, figuring how to deal with the fact that I was a big ole queer was a big deal to me then.
I don’t remember for sure where I first heard Amy Grant’s music, but it must have been at my church, Good Shepherd United Methodist* in Mad River Township here in Dayton.
To the left you can see copies of Amy Grant’s various albums that I bought when I was a fan. I was pretty religious about getting every new Amy Grant CD, continuing even after I stopped going to church but eventually tapering off. I skipped 1994’s House of Love and 1997’s Behind the Eyes but I did buy A Christmas to Remember in 1999.
If you were ever an avid Amy Grant fan, you might notice that 1999 was when Amy Grant got divorced, a shocking event that caused many of her devout Christian fans to drop her. However, my no longer buying Amy Grant albums wasn’t because of her divorce—I wasn’t shocked by that and thought it made her more human—it was just that Amy Grant’s music didn’t speak to me as much as it once did.
I’ve still played the two Amy Grant Christmas CDs I own each December, but other than that, I haven’t really thought about her much.
Until yesterday, when I saw a clergy friend (interestingly now that I’m out I have quite a few friends who are clergy) post a link on Facebook to Amy Grant’s first ever interview with the gay press. Of course I and a bunch of other gay Amy Grant fans flocked to read the article—we were all dying to know “how she reconciles Christianity and homosexuality.”
Amy Grant’s friend Michael W. Smith was another Christian singer whose music I liked, in part because he was cute.
That he’s now a close friend of Santorum makes me think he won’t be talking to the gay press any time soon.
You see, how Amy Grant reconciles Christianity and homosexuality is something I’ve wanted to know for a long time.
Indeed I wanted to know so much that back in the 80s, after I stopped going to church but while I was still an Amy Grant fan, I wrote her a letter. This was back in pre-WWW days, before many people had email, when you actually had to put your message on paper, stick it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and put it in a mailbox. A disadvantage of those days before email and scanners is that I don’t have a copy of what I wrote, although I remember the gist of it. I know I didn’t use the phrase “How do you reconcile Christianity and homosexuality,” but I did tell Amy Grant that I was gay and I did ask her what she thought of people being gay and Christian.
I did get a response to my letter but not from Amy Grant and also not from someone on Amy Grant’s staff. No, the response came from a very compassionate woman, a stranger who found my letter in a seatback pocket on an airplane, where Amy Grant or one of her assistants had left my letter, probably by accident. This woman didn’t know me or Amy Grant, but after reading my letter, she felt compelled to write to me because she said she could feel my pain. She wanted me to know what had happened to my letter and, more importantly, to know that she would pray for me in the hopes that God would heal me and help me to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
God must not have heard that stranger’s prayers for me because God never healed me of my homosexuality, and instead of leaving the homosexual lifestyle, I embraced it, coming out and realizing that if there is a God, God loves me for who I am, including being gay. I was cured of something though, cured for the most part of internalized homophobia, cured of caring whether others, including Amy Grant, approved of me despite my being gay.
I don’t know what I expected when I read Amy Grant’s interview with PrideSource. I guess I was hoping, knowing that Amy Grant had no ground on which to stand about the sanctity of marriage, that the reason she finally wanted to talk about teh gayz was because she wanted to come out, as so many others have recently, in favor of marriage equality.
Amy Grant declined to take a position on marriage equality, either pro or con, instead saying “I never talk about anything like that.”
She didn’t say anything overtly offensive in her first gay interview, sticking mainly to “a message of honesty and welcoming,”
saying that “you can either default to judgment or you can default to compassion” and acknowledging that she knows “that the religious community has not been very welcoming.”
Nevertheless something in Amy Grant’s careful interview—in which she tried not to offend anyone and stressed that “everybody is welcome” on “the journey of faith” towards having “a relationship with God”—did strike me as language I’d heard before.
I had friends in high school who eventually said, “I’m living a gay lifestyle.”
— Amy Grant, PrideSource, issue 2116, 4/23/2013
And what was it that I’d heard before? A conservative Christian’s favorite term when it comes to teh gayz: lifestyle.
Amy Grant tells us that she “had friends in high school who eventually said, ‘I’m living a gay lifestyle,’” to which I say, no, you didn’t.
I wouldn’t say that Amy Grant was intentionally lying, and I do believe that she had gay high school friends come out to her, but I don’t believe they said, “Amy, I need to tell you something. I’m living a gay lifestyle.”
Unless we’re still desperately trying to leave it, “lifestyle” is not a word we queers use. No, we just think we have lives just like everyone else does.
But conservative Christians sure do love the word “lifestyle.” Are you struggling with same sex attractions? Google “leaving the gay lifestyle” and you’ll find tons of compassionate people willing to help you.
Amy Grant was probably just paraphrasing when she talked of friends telling her they were living a gay lifestyle. Despite her use of the term again at another point in the interview, talking about the ACLU’s first openly gay executive director, Anthony Romero, whom Amy Grant “felt so changed by” but who has a “very different lifestyle” from hers, given the lengths to which she went to stress being compassionate and loving and welcoming and to avoid being judgmental, I shouldn’t read too much into Amy Grant’s choice of words.
Why shouldn’t I? Because what Amy Grant thinks doesn’t really matter. I didn’t care two days ago, before I knew she was talking to the gayz. So why should it matter two days later? Maybe Amy Grant, living in what some would call an adulterous relationship, has no problem with gay people also finding love but is afraid to say so in so many words. Or perhaps instead “lifestyle” really is hidden code for what Amy Grant thinks of me.
Either way I’m living a gay lifestyle and I’m happy with it.