How should Christian musicians relate to the wider world once they begin to achieve mainstream success? It’s a question that has conflicted artists for decades.
Christian metal band Stryper drew criticism from big-name preachers for their black-and-yellow leotards and blistering guitar solos. When adult-contemporary songstress Amy Grant put out the romantic ballad “Baby, Baby,” fans said it wasn’t spiritual enough.
Many didn’t like it when SoCal rapcore act P.O.D. promoted their freshman album on The Howard Stern Show. And now contemporary Christian musician Lauren Daigle has earned praise and frowns from fans for a similar reason even as she makes history.
Daigle is no stranger to combining Christian content with mainstream charm. The Acadiana Advocate reported how she initially tried to kick-start her campaign in the secular sphere.
A Louisiana native, she tried to bring her particularly soulful brand of pop to “American Idol,” and she tried not once, not twice, but three times. One attempt landed her in Los Angeles, but she failed to make the competitive cut.
“I was on stage feeling like, ‘Man, this doesn’t fill me up the way music has always filled me up,’” she said. “I went to my mom and dad and said, ‘I’m ready to go home.’”
Daigle eventually got noticed after appearing on a local Christian band’s extended play record and got quickly signed. She has since landed on both Christian and pop charts.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, her sophomore album “Look Up Child” reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200. That put her above Ariana Grande and just below Eminem.
She said in an interview that she truly desired to reach out to people outside of the church. “That was something I wanted to bring in as well. Like elements where people who weren’t necessarily church people, or Christians … who don’t really dive into that kind of music can hear something and it be compelling enough and it be strong enough to where they are drawn in and feel welcomed and invited.”
Perhaps that’s why she appeared on the soundtrack for “Blade Runner 2049,” Vents Magazine reported. But while that appearance didn’t garner controversy, an Oct. 24 performance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” did.
As you probably know, Ellen DeGeneres doesn’t adhere to Christian sexual values, which has caused friction between DeGeneres and other religious guests in the past.
According to CBN News, gospel singer Kim Burrell was supposed to show up on the show. However, she got disinvited when DeGeneres became aware of critical comments she’d made about homosexuality.
Fans seemed split on Daigle’s decision to sing on the show. On Facebook, Julie Pitts wrote, “I am very saddened by this.
“Ellen has made her lifestyle outside of these boundaries very public very clear and has therefore taken a stand against God’s Word and so against God. … Therefore I will not be standing behind Lauren Daigle anymore.”
Kayla Cannon had an entirely different response, saying, “I am so excited for this! … We are going into the ALL the world and preaching the gospel!”
Indeed, during the show, Daigle performed “Still Rolling Stones,” which draws on Luke 24:2. “All at once, I came alive / This beating heart, these open eyes. / The grave let go / The darkness should have known / You’re still rolling stones.”
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