She says the expected, twists it, and then a sly smile, eyes half closing, appears with million dollar dental care.
I have seen that smile almost all my life: Amy Grant in concert.
Hidden in my office is an autographed picture of Amy that an awesome student had her sign for me. It includes a reference to Plato’s Republic. My wife, who loved Amy too, tolerates my keeping the picture, but not displaying the thing. The Amy pic has become a family legend, if you know where it is in my office you are my friend.
My adult children (16-23) have no idea that Amy Grant exists, except as a hidden photo in my office, but if you were a Christian young adult of a certain sort and are my age (50), you had an opinion about her, debates about her (too crossover? sell out to bubblegum pop?), and for both Hope and for me she was aspirational. Gentle reader, I wanted to marry her or someone just like her and Hope wanted to be her.
The good news is that neither of us got what we wanted. Jesus made Hope more like Hope and she lost the Amy haircut. Jesus keeps reminding me to love reality more than fantasy. And Amy Grant did not have to marry me. It all worked out for everyone, prayers are answered in mysterious ways.
Amy Grant made a joke that someone at last night’s dinner told her that he knew her “when she was big.” And I got the comment, wanted to strangle the “someone,” felt old, and then realized that I was glad Grant was no longer “big.” Her new music was deeper, less over produced, and still fun: qualities that don’t fit “big.” She sang as a Christian, but she wasn’t singing a genre, just music. Our stupid attempts to define her art with a label have ended. We got Amy Grant and that includes good and not so good.
She reminded us that Jesus hears our cries of pain and sometimes those cries have a sincerity our praises do not. This is true, at least in my life. When I was on the floor of my home office, paying part of the wages of my sin in spiritual darkness, I was as real as I have ever been with God. And my “problems” on any given day are not problems, they are disappointed expectations most of them selfish.
Amy Grant pointed us to the reason we were there: Houston’s Star of Hope. One hundred years of saving souls and bodies is hard to match. Grant knew where to point us: real problems and the real solution. It was a stage show, but it had an authentic sound. Grant has a better voice than when she was a kid, a deeper theology of pain, and best of all…she supports Star of Hope.
I am no longer an Amy Grant fan, because I have given up on the culture of fandom applied to celebrities. I will dehumanize and objectify no person: even if their marketers encourage me. God help me to do this consistently.
I am a Star of Hope Fan. I like Amy Grant’s music, realize I don’t really know her, and appreciate her many gifts to us. She is a human to Hope and me and not a celebrity. I wish we could get to know her.