I read the following comment on a friend’s Facebook page and he gave me permission to post it. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard David Phelps sing O Holy Night, but it is phenomenal. The guy’s voice is an amazing instrument. He performs with absolute precision and beauty.
What was interesting to me is that my friend who made this comment is a professional musician. He’s a composer. (I’ve sung his works.) He also is a voice teacher, choral conductor, and adjudicator for choir festivals. He knows good quality singing and trains the best vocalists in our area. But beyond the music and the spectacular voice of David Phelps, something else got him distracted and made the entire video distasteful to him. You see, he is one who has difficulty with Christianity – or at least certain aspects of it. I’ve never heard his story before, but I’ve read his posts long enough to know that something left a very bad taste in his mouth.
Here is my friend’s Facebook post:
TRIGGER WARNING: I am not joking here. The ones after this will be back in the fun/funny zone. “O Holy $#^@&” here we go.
This performance is so sincere and heartfelt, shows a high level of skill, and may be the very one you love best of all. I think it is just awful, the perfect expression of a particular culture that I used to think was just distasteful and now believe to be rotten to the core. It is the most obvious example I know of the “Oh, Cis-Het White Christian Jesus, I’ve been so bad, and you make me feel so good that it gives me the tingles” approach to religion. The lady at 4:29 is the very definition of all of this. I look around this room and would lay a $6.23 bet that these God-fearing, nice (as long as you only exist within the parameters of what they consider acceptable), certain-they-are-“saved” sons and daughters of the Confederacy are ardent Trump supporters and think his presidency is “part of God’s plan.”
(I did warn you.)
I completely get it. The residual effects of spiritual abuse creep up all over the place – in commercials, on Facebook, in the news, in conversation, on YouTube, etc. When you least expect it, something will bring you back to the ugliness, the hypocrisy, the revolting image of abuse and harm parading itself in the business and culture of “Churchianity.” Jesus seems to be lost in the picture.
For my friend, the anger is Republican politics intersecting with Evangelical Christianity. What if you’re a Christian, but don’t care for the policies of Republicans? In some circles, that is not acceptable. Some of you may have no problem with that, but other things might be offensive to you.
Can you relate with my friend? Do you have other things that pop up and remind you of the church experiences you have tried to leave behind? How have you handled those situations?