Monday, July 24, 2006

American Idol's Heather Cox speaks to J.D.

If you're in any way like me, chances are you stood up and took notice of this year's American Idol blonde bombshell. That is, you stood after you rolled your tongue up off the floor.

Heather Cox took to the stage determined to win the whole shooting match. She had fire in her eyes and a determination like few others. She came out of North Carolina and wowed the judges, earning her spot in Hollywood. Then, she fought off laryngitis and being paired with Halicia Thompson to make her way through the group rounds with her buddy Kellie Pickler. Then she made the Top 24. Then the Top 22.

Unfortunately, her luck didn't last till the Top 12. But the ravishing beauty, who once claimed to watch American Idol "like a stalker," is not yet set to give up.

Heather sat down with me to discuss her experience, as well as dish about her hopes for the future. It doesn't take long to learn that there's lots of brains behind that beauty (she graduated college with a 4.0!!) and behind all that is a whole lot more drive to succeed. Here's what she had to say:

J.D.: You came into the competition as a huge fan of American Idol. How did it feel to finally be a part of the show and to make it so far?

Heather: The feeling I got when I made it to the Top 24 was indescribable! I always knew that I could make it, so to finally make it was great validation!

J.D.: What were some of the projects you worked on prior to American Idol?

Heather: I was not working on any projects prior to American Idol. Actually, due to a negative experience with a chorus teacher in the 4th grade, I quit singing till I was 21. I saw the second season of American Idol with Clay and Ruben, and I said to myself, "I will be on that show!" AI was the reason I started to sing again.

J.D.: Can you tell us some of your favorite memories about being on the show?

Heather: I had a great time while on the show. Some of my fondest memories include making it through each round. Wow, what a high! And just meeting each contestant and gaining life-long friendships.

J.D.: What kind of things happen behind the scenes of American Idol that maybe we the viewers don't know about?

Heather: AI was non-stop!! We would have to get up at 4 AM each morning just to get "camera ready," and we'd have to be at the CBS studios ALL day doing interviews and practicing! LOTS OF SINGING going on (laughs)

J.D.: What was the worst or weirdest thing that happened to you during your time on the show?

Heather: The worst thing that happened to me while on the show was definitely getting sick during Hollywood week. I would think to myself, "I can't believe I've made it this far just to get sick with laryngitis!!" Fortunately, the judges remembered my performances prior to that, and put me through.

J.D.: Who on the show were you closest to? Did you develop really strong friendships? And is Kellie really like that in real life?

Heather: I was really close to Brenna, Kinnik, and Melissa. I got along great with all the guys as well. I just love Sway, Elliott, Taylor, Bucky and David!! As far as the Pickler goes, no, she isn't that dumb in real life. It's amazing how people change for the cameras. (winks)

J.D.: What was your reaction to your elimination? Do you feel you got a fair chance?

Heather: The elimination. Where do I begin? Well, it was tough. I don't think it was fair for Paula and Simon to act the way they did while I got the boot. I had a peace about it though. I had prayed earlier in the day that the Lord would give me the peace and grace to get through what ever the outcome was to be.

J.D.: Is it challenging to be so beautiful and yet so talented? (mischievous grin)

Heather: Some people would ask me, "Do you think your looks worked against you?" I have no idea. I just wanted people to love my voice and enjoy my performances. This wasn't America's Next Top Model, so if people let my looks determine whether they would vote for or against me, then they missed the point of the show!!

J.D.: Now that A.I. is over, where will we see Heather Cox next? What sorts of opportunities have opened up to you since your appearance on American Idol?

Heather: The Lord has and is continuing to open doors from the experience. I am currently talking to five record labels as well as four different modeling agencies from around the country, so you'll either see me in a Pantene commercial, or Crest Whitestrips. (bright smile) I'll definitely have a CD out as well!

J.D.: Someone was telling me the other day that you bear a striking resemblance to actress Helen Slater. If they were to do a movie called Supergirl Returns, would you be in it? Please?

Heather: Who is Helen Slater? I'll have to yahoo her! I would love to be in a movie. Acting is also one of my passions, so you'll hopefully see me on the big screen as well!

J.D.: If you had to choose between pursuing a music career or an acting career, which would you pick and why?

Heather: Acting or singing? Why not do both? I think it's possible! However, I would have to choose singing. My passion lies within my gift of song and it truly is a gift from God. He is the one that has made all things possible for me, and I feel that I can reach people for Him through my music.

J.D.: Is there anyone special in your life right now? And if not, you should really consider goofy-looking blonde journalist wannabes. They're the best.

Heather: I am currently single. I find that it's easier to pursue all the opportunities coming my way without strings attached. I can't wait to find the right one for me though, get married, and have a family! I am a romantic. (smiles)

J.D.: Imagine yourself five years from now. If you meet all your goals, what will you be doing then?

Heather: In five years time, I will have a successful singing career, using my talents for the Lord and be modeling and acting as well. I hope to meet Mr. Right during that time and perhaps have walked down the aisle. (winks)

J.D.: Are there any CDs or DVDs of you performing for which we can throw piles of money at you?

Heather: (laughs) I do have DVDs of me singing. I'd be willing to sell them for a hefty fee!! (winks)

J.D.: Where can your fans go online to catch updates about you?

Heather: My fans can visit my Myspace page to stay updated about all my endeavors. It's I will be getting an official Heather Cox fansite up shortly too.

J.D.: Will you be making any public appearances in the near future?

Heather: I have been making lots of public appearances since the show. I've been asked to sing for the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team as well as the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team. I sing around NC quite a bit for youth conferences as well as revivals!

J.D.: What have you learned from this whole experience?

Heather: I've learned quite a bit through the whole experience. I would have to say the most important thing though is to trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. When you're feeling down, just ask Him to give you the strength to get through what ever it is, and He will. He was with me every step of the way. (grins)

J.D.: How do you handle the inevitable criticism you receive as an artist?

Heather: I know everyone has different opinions about me. Some good, some not so good. I had a taste of it while on the show. I can't worry about it. I sing for an audience of one, and that is the Lord. As long as He's pleased with me, nothing else matters!

J.D.: If you could impart one last nugget of wisdom upon us, what would that be?

Heather: My last nugget of wisdom would be to put your trust in the Lord, delight yourself in Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart. You'll be amazed at where He'll take you!!

J.D.: Thank you so much for taking time out to talk with me.

Heather: Thank you! (smiles) I hope you liked my answers!! Thanks for allowing me this opportunity.

Once again, if you'd like to check out Heather online or drop her a message, visit her at Show her some love!

Oh, and just so you all know, Heather called me "sweetheart." I want that engraved on my tombstone someday.


At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather is a great singer and I thought she would go further. She sang a difficult "never try" song and got criticized by the judges for it. This year was all about too much talent and not enough spots.

I never saw Kellie as "dumb" when she was on AI but I guess some viewers misunderstood her. Naive maybe, which should be expected for a 19 yr old from Albemarle, NC going to LA for the first time. For example I doubt she had ever heard a British guy call her a minx before or knew what it meant.

Best of luck to Heather. I wish she could go back on AI again next year with different songs, but I don't think their rules allow it?

At 10:56 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

No, unfortunately the rules exclude anyone who placed within the Top 44 from returning again.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger larry said...

well i want to say thanks for this interview you did with heather cox.i am also fortunate enough to have heard from her and yeah shes called me a sweetheart too.i also agree with her about kellie shes not dumb shes actually nice as ive heard from her also.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Bathroom Hippo said...

Wish I could meet her.

You know...

to slip a little something in her glass...

hahaha...okay that was too far. She is a babe! Probably the finest chick you've ever interviewed.

At 1:26 AM, Blogger Tricia said...

First off, you seem very sweet and I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors. But I have to say you're the first person I've ever heard say they'll have to "yahoo" something - google will be unhappy about this!

JD - another great interview. Should I mail you some towels to sop up all your drool?

At 10:46 AM, Blogger RC said...

heather as your background is kind of scary.

how funny about yahooing something...tricia, it could be least she goes with #2 search engine not an even more obscure one.

--RC of

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish JD would have asked her about her brief relationship with Season 4 finalist Anthony Fedorov. I would have liked to see what she had to say about that!!! ;)

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Spike speaks said...

JD - As always, a fine job with your interview :-) Thanks for all you do so us busy paeons can just read about it - LOL!!

At 1:13 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

I wasn't aware that Heather and Anthony had carried on a relationship. I thought that was Carrie Underwood? Silly me :) Oh well, she's single now, so more for me! (Good to know that she likes pasty blondes though. I'm so in!)

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

Well I like that she so fervently mentioned her love of the Lord. I always get concerned about this for celebs, though because it makes the road much tougher for them. I really wish you had asked her about any possibilities of Contemp Christian music.

I pray for a shield of protection around her as she moves forward in a dark area of the world -- the world of entertainment. I'm not saying that I doubt any sincerity in her faith I just REALLY HOPE that her faith is real. REAL FAITH and a growing knowledge of the Lord will give her perseverence.

Thanks for another great interview, JD! :)

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally wish she'd shut up about the Lord. She was like a girl talking about her freakin' new boyfriend! LOL! It's okay to mention your faith, but it's annoying to harp IMO.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

I personally wish you would shut up with your atheism.

Seriously, can't you show one bit of respect for her belief? Your beliefs aren't the only ones that count you know.

This was her interview, and her time to talk, and if you don't like what she had to say, then go say your thing wherever you feel like it. I believe everyone has that right.

The funny thing is that I bet you consider yourself open-minded, when in fact you're nothing but a small-minded Christian-hating bigot.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever, dude. I'm a church going Christian myself, I just do not need to yak about it endlessly. It's a personal thing, and in my mind - that's what it should be. She went overboard. She introduced her boyfriend, the Lord, every ten seconds.

And by the way, the drooling over pretty girls is getting DISGUSTING. Get a life!

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Stacy said...

I just love people who are so proud of what they have to say that they post "anonymous"

You should be EMBARRASSED "anon" for saying you are a church-going Christian. You should quit wasting your time at church if THAT is how you feel about the LORD. You obviuosly have not been called to the humility required to be a true Believer.

Some will argue that you need to BE in church to gain that humility and I do agree that the TRUTH that is taught in church is what the LORD might use to reach a person but I really don't understand why someone who would call God a "boyfriend" would even waste their Sunday mornings.

"anon" you are NOT a Christian if you feel this way. You have put a label on yourself that is not in line (not even close) with what the Bible says a believer is.

Humble yourself before the LORD and realize that you are not even close to being His equal. Recognize your NEED for Him to save you, submit yourself to His saving Grace through His Son Jesus, repent of your sins (more than "confessing") and then God will save your hell-headed soul.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger J.D. said...


Ditto to what Stacy said about hiding your name. If you're a regular reader here, you should know that I have plenty of tolerance for those who disagree with me, so don't be afraid to show your name.

As for the rest, don't try to give me that "I'm a church-going Christian" crap, because no you're not. I've never met one of those "church-going Christians" who was "sickened" by someone talking about their faith.

If you haven't noticed, people tend to talk about what's important to them, and obviously the Lord is very important to Heather. So why shouldn't she talk about it?

As for it being a personal interview, well interviews are all about getting personal with people, right? Sheesh.

Oh, and as for the drooling over pretty girls, don't you worry about that. It's not going to stop. What can I say? I like women. I was born that way. Don't try to discriminate against me for my heterosexuality. I do suggest though that if you don't like it, you aren't particularly obligated to be a reader here in the future.

Tell ya what, I'll write my blog for my thousands of readers however I want, and you go write yours in whatever fashion you see fit, and we'll both explore that great part of our Constitution called "free press" and "free speech." How about that?

Get a life yourself, loser. Or bigot. Or Christo-phobe. Whatever one you like best.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people crack me up!! LOL! I say she talked a little too much about the Lord, and all of a sudden I'm an atheist loser? I'm actually a Quaker with a very deep faith. It's personal. So now I need to be a born again to get saved? That's a little close-minded. Why can't I worship anyway I want to? What about Jewish people? They can't LOVE THE LORD IN THEIR WAY? It's no wonder the world is in such a mess. I have no beef with Heather, I'm just pointing out she said she loves the lord every second word. WE. GET. IT.

Also, your drooling over the gals is just a wee bit embarrassing. You think one of them will look at YOU??? No way! Here's a thought: shape up, lose some poundage, lose the stupid hat, and MAYBE you can get a purty lil thing. I doubt it though. Till then - I just cringe for you.

(And FYI: if hundreds of people saw this blog, it would be ALOT. If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen. I'm just anon cuz I choose it - just like my own personal feelings about God.)

At 2:38 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Note to Anonymous Coward,

No one said you couldn't worship however you wanted to. You told Heather she couldn't worship her God the way she wanted to. Because she has to be quiet about it, according to you. Yes, you're so open-minded. Give me a break.

What's embarrassing is that you're a small pitiful person. I mean, I had to stifle laughter at work while reading your posts, because you're just way too lame. It's quite pathetic, really, much like the insults of a three year old. It's an unfortunate thing that morons don't realize about themselves: insults from people who are cerebrally-challenged are actually compliments.

As for your advice about getting women, umm... I don't know how to tell you this, but I do get around. And the vast majority of my girlfriends have been quite beautiful. But I don't need to justify that to a person like you who ranks just slightly above protozoa in the food chain. I won't compare myself to you, but at least I know I'm not a sniveling little idiot who's too afraid to post their name but yet who likes to flame other people because they're not accepted in their own reality or the mother didn't breast-feed them long enough or whatever your feeling of inadequacy stems from. I'll gladly have a few extra pounds if it means not being that.

So please, flame some more, because it will be the perfect indicator of how lame and worthless your life is and how little you matter in the universe. Post one more thing to confirm that you're the world's biggest loser.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone disagrees with you and you feel the need to call names? You are the kind of people that make me ASHAMED to be a Christian. Not very Christ-like behavior.

Go enjoy the Lord! I doubt He/She enjoys you! LOL!

At 5:15 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Thanks for confirming. You have a good day now.

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Diana Scoggins said...

You have a nice day too, fat loser boy. :)

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous culie said...

I've been reading this - this might be food for thought:

Everybody Hates Us - A Christian Perspective
Michael Spencer notes that evangelical Christians are almost universally disliked. Are there good reasons?.

I don't really know why someone thought it was necessary to do a poll to see just who were the most disliked groups in society, but the results are in. While serial killers and IRS agents still rank the highest, hot on their heels are evangelical Christians. Not Christians in general. Not Roman Catholics. Not all Christians—but evangelical Christians.

If you're like me, you have three reactions to this news. First, you tend to blame the media. Almost every portrayal of an evangelical Christian on television or in movies makes us look like the worst version of every stereotype we fear. Of course, one cannot expect the mainstream media to take up the cause of rescuing the evangelical public image, and these days virtually every group has a list of complaints with various kinds of media portrayals. There is more to the public perception of Bible believers than a media vendetta.

The second reaction is what we tend to say to one another to reassure ourselves that we are really OK after all. "It's the Gospel," we say to one another. Evangelicals are identified with a message that no one wants to hear, and so they are disliked. If you don't believe it, watch what happens when an evangelical leader appears on a talk show. It's like raw meat to hungry lions, no matter if the evangelical in question is rude or wonderful. (I have seen some of the nicest evangelicals torn limb from limb in these settings, including liberals who gave away the store.)

I would never argue with the basic premise of this observation. I have seen its truth too many times. They crucified Jesus. Enough said. But as true as this is, it is too simplistic to explain the increasing level of general despising of evangelicals in our society. It explains one thing, but it does not explain many other things. It actually may tend to blind us to our own behaviors. Like the residents of Jerusalem who were convinced their city could not fall because the temple was there, evangelicals may explain this dislike as reaction to the Gospel and then be blind to those things—in addition to the Gospel—that create legitimate animosity.

The third reaction is the guilty knowledge that evangelicals really are, very often, easy to dislike for many obvious reasons. Many evangelicals know exactly what the survey is registering, because they feel the same way themselves. We've all observed, in others and in ourselves, distinctively evangelical vices, hypocrisies and failures. We hoped that our good points would make up for these problems, but that was another self-deception.

It is easy to say that people's dislike of Christians is the dislike of the Christian message, but that simply doesn't hold up in the real world. It may be true of the Christian you don't know, but the Christians you do know have it in their power to either make it easy or difficult for you to dislike them. For example, the Christian in your car pool may believe what others refuse to believe, but his life provides a powerful antidote to any prejudice against him. Thousands of missionaries have been opposed for simply being Christians. But hundreds of thousands have lived lives that adorned the Gospel with attractive, winsome and loving behavior. A past president of our school was revered by Muslims during and after six years of Peace Corps service in Iran, years where he talked about the Gospel to Muslims every day and saw many trust Christ. The fact that the Gospel has penetrated into many hostile environments is evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is also evidence that one way the Spirit works is by making Christians a display of the fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

We are loathed, caricatured, avoided and disliked because we often deserve it. There. I said it and I'm glad I did.

Here's my list of why evangelicals are among the most disliked persons in America:

1. Christians endorse a high standard of conduct for others and then largely excuse themselves from a serious pursuit of such a life. Jesus is the most admired person in history, but evangelicals are far more likely to devise ways for Jesus to be like us than for us to be like Jesus.

If it hasn't struck you lately that you do the very thing you condemn others for doing (Romans 2:1), urge others to do what you don't do or excuse in yourself what you require in others, then you probably don't get this article at all.

Did it irritate you when your dad said, "Do as I say, not as I do."? Then you get the picture.

2. Evangelical Christian piety in America is mostly public. Whether it's our entertainment-saturated "worship" services, our celebrity cults or our mad obsession with worldly success, we love for others to see "what God is doing in our lives." Of course, Jesus had plenty to say about this, and the essence of it is that when your piety is public, then there is almost certainly a lack of serious, life-transforming, private obedience and discipleship.

I have lately been strongly convicted by J.C. Ryle's little book, A Call To Prayer. Ryle makes a devastating case for the obvious absence of the discipline of private prayer among Christians. What would Ryle say today? Does our public manner grow out of a true inward experience of private prayer? You see what I am talking about. If it's public, we do it well. If it's private discipleship, we probably don't do it at all.

3. Many evangelicals relate to others with an obvious—or thinly disguised—hidden agenda. In other words, those who work with us or go to school with us feel that we are always "up to" something. You mean, they know we want to convert them? Apparently. Ever been yelled at for saying, "I'll pray for you?" Maybe there was a reason.

You know that feeling you get when a telemarketer interrupts your dinner? I get that feeling sometime when my Pentecostal/Charismatic friends are trying to persuade me into their camp. It's not that I don't know they are good, decent, law-abiding people who like me. I just want them to quit treating me as a target or a project and start treating me as a person who is free to be myself and different from them.

This same feeling is prevalent among those who dislike evangelical Christians. They are annoyed and sometimes angered that we are following some divine directive to get them to abandon their life choices and take up ours. They want to be loved as they are, not for what they might become if our plan succeeds.

Evangelicals have done a lot of good work on how to present the Gospel, but much of that work has operated on initial premises that are irritating and offensive. I have taken my share of evangelism courses, and there is a great blind spot on how to be an evangelist without being annoying and pushy. We somehow think that the Holy Spirit takes care of that aspect of evangelism! Thank God for men like Francis Schaeffer and Jerram Barrs who have done much to model evangelism that majors on maintaining the utmost respect toward those we evangelize.

4. We seem consumed with establishing that we are somehow "better" than other people, when the opposite is very often true. Many evangelicals are bizarrely shallow and legalistic about minute matters. We are frequently psychologically unsound, psychiatrically tormented, filled with bitterness and anger, torn apart by conflicts and, frankly, unpleasant to have around.

I have an atheistic acquaintance who never misses an opportunity to post a news story about a morally compromised minister. Is he just being mean? No, he is pointing out the obvious mess that is the inner life and outward behavior of many evangelicals, truths we like to avoid or explain as "attacks of the enemy." Our families are broken, our marriages fail and our children are remarkably worldly and messed up. Yet, we boldly tell the world that we have the answer for all their ills! How many churches proclaim that a sojourn with them will fix that marriage and those kids? Do we really have the abundant life down at the church, ready to be dispensed in a five week class?

We are not as healthy and happy as we portray ourselves. The realities of broken marriages among the Christian celebrity set underlines the inability of evangelicals to face up to their own brokenness. Was there some reason that Sandi Patti and Amy Grant were supposed to be immune from failed marriages? Why did their divorces make them pariahs in evangelicalism? The fact is that most evangelicals are in deep denial about what depravity and sinfulness really means. The world may have similar denial problems, but I don't think they can approach us for the spiritual veneer. The crowd at the local tavern may have issues, but they frequently beat Christians by miles in the realistic humanity department. Maybe they should pity us, but the fact is that, as the situation becomes more obvious, they don't like us.

5. We talk about God in ways that are too familiar and make people uncomfortable. Evangelicals constantly talk about a "personal relationship" with God. Many evangelicals talk as if God is talking to them and leading them by the hand through life in a way only the initiated can understand. Christian testimonies may give a God-honoring window into the realities of Christian experience, or they may sound like a psychological ploy to promote self importance.

Evangelicals have yet to come to grips with their tendency to make God into a commodity. The world is far more savvy about how God is "used" to achieve personal or group ends than most evangelicals admit. Evangelicals may deny that they have made God into a political, financial, or cultural commodity, but the world knows better. How does an unbeliever hear the use of Jesus to endorse automobiles, political positions, or products?

In my ministry, I have observed how difficult it is to evangelize Buddhists. One of the reasons is that the Buddhist assumes that if you are serious about your religious experience, you will become a monk! When he sees American Christians talking about a relationship with God, yet does not see a corresponding impact upon the whole of life, he assumes that this religion is simply an expression of culture or group values. Now we may critique such a response as not understanding certain basic facts about the Gospel, but we also have to acknowledge the truth observed! Rather than being people who are deeply changed, we are people who tend to use God to change others or our world to suit ourselves.

6. Evangelicals are too slow to separate themselves from what is wrong. Because ours is a moral religion, and we frequently advertise our certainty in moral matters, it seems bizarrely hypocritical when that moral sense is applied so inconsistently.

I note that my evangelical friends are particularly resistant to this matter, but the current Trent Lott affair makes the point plainly. Lott says that he now repudiates any allegiance to segregation or the symbols of segregation. Suddenly, he sees the good sense in a number of things he has opposed. But bizarrely, Lott stands behind his evangelical Christianity as the explanation for his sudden conversion to racial sensitivity.

Watching this spectacle, there are many reactions, but what interests me is how Lott's Christianity only seems to apply now that he is being dangled over political hell. Where was all this moral sense in the 1960s? Where was it 10 years ago? Why does it appear that Lott is using his religion at his convenience? It's not my place to judge what is going on between Lott and his God, but his apparent pragmatism in these matters is familiar to many people observing evangelicals on a daily basis.

Most evangelicals are not the moral cutting edge of contemporary social issues. Despite the evangelical conscience on issues like abortion, it is clear to many that we no longer have the cutting-edge moral sense of a Martin Luther King Jr. or a William Wilberforce. Evangelicals are largely annoyed at people who tell them to do the right thing if it doesn't enhance their resumes, their wallets, their families or their emotions.

What is odd about this is that many of those who dislike evangelicals have the idea that we want to impose our morality upon an entire culture. Fear-mongering liberals often talk about the Bush administration as populated by fundamentalist Christian Taliban poised to bring about a Christian theocracy. I wonder if they have noticed that President Bush—an evangelical right down to his boots—is practicing religious tolerance over the loud objections of evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

7. We take ourselves far too seriously, and come off as opposed to normal life. Is it such a big deal that Christians are offended at so many things others consider funny? I'll admit it is a small thing, but it is one of the reasons ordinary people don't like us.

I read an incident written by a preacher on a forum I monitor. He told about taking his youth group on an outing, when the students began singing a popular country song about a guy who leaves his wife to pursue his fishing hobby. It's a hilarious song. But this fellow's reaction was predictable. He asked them to not sing a song about a marriage that breaks up and to instead sing something that honored God. I routinely hear students ridiculing a fellow teacher who labels much of what students find funny as "of the devil."

These incidents show something that evangelicals need to admit. We are frequently unable to see humor, absurdity, and the honest reasons for humans to laugh at themselves. What very normal, very healthy people find laughable, we find threatening and often tag with the ridiculous label "of the devil."

The message here isn't just that we are humorless or puritanical. The message is that being human or being real is somehow evil. This is one place I can feel exactly what the unbelievers are talking about. When I see Christians trying to rob young people of the right to be normal, ordinary, and human, it angers me. I feel threatened. It's hard to like people who seem to say that God, Jesus, and Scripture are the enemies of laughter, sex, growing up, and ordinary pleasures. Some Christians sometimes seem to say that everything pleasurable is demonic or to be avoided to show what a good Christian you are. Isn't it odd that unbelievers are so much more aware of the plain teaching of scripture than we are?

I am sure there is much more to say, but I have ridden this horse far enough. Certainly, unregenerate persons are at enmity with God by nature. And, without a doubt, Christians represent a message that is far from welcome. Christians doing the right thing risk being labeled enemies of society. Much persecution is cruel and evil. But that's not the point. Christians are disliked for many reasons that have nothing to do with the Gospel, and everything to do with the kind of people we are in the relationships God has given us. The message of salvation won't earn a standing ovation, but people who believe that message are not given a pass to rejoice when all men hate you—for any reason, including reasons that are totally our own fault.

No doubt someone will write me and say that, to the extent people like us, we have denied the Gospel. Therefore, being despised and hated is proof that you are on the right track. And there is a certain amount of truth to that observation in some situations in which Christians may find themselves. But that is an explanation for how we are treated, not directions on how to make sure we are rejected and hated by most people for reasons having nothing to do with the message of the cross. I hate to say it, but I've learned that when a preacher tells me he was fired from his church for "taking a stand for God," it usually means he was just a jerk.

The Scriptures tell us that the early Christians were both persecuted and thought well of for their good lives and good works. What was possible then is still possible now. I've seen it and I hope I see more of it—in my life.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Diana, here's your confirmation badge too.

Culie, thanks for posting that article. I read it all, even though it's a long read, and I happen to agree with most of it.

In this particular incident, you have a young artist trying to give an intimate portrait of herself, answering questions that I asked, and being completely open with her fans. The intention was to get to know her better, and obviously her faith is a part of her life. Sure, there are going to be things about her that each one of us will disagree with. I mean, she wears her hair long, and I wear mine short. We're different! I didn't see her as being evangelical at all. I just saw her sharing her faith, as is her right to do just as much as it's your right to turn and walk away from it.

Good points, Culie, and thank you very much for sharing.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Kat said...

The only thing I want to contribute to this discussion is to thank Culie for the excellent article and opinions! Very, very well put. I will definitely come back to this....

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Sprmcandy said...

Beautiful Gorgeous girl !!


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