Home > Uncategorized > When Author, Artist Lives Get Messy, Should Stores Pull Product?

When Author, Artist Lives Get Messy, Should Stores Pull Product?

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As someone who has spent time leading worship in several different churches, I still get excited when I hear a new song. If the song really captures me — as one did recently — I’ll tell everyone I meet about it.

About a month ago I found such a song. It was a beautiful worship song that also contained teaching and exhortation — the best of all possible worlds worlds — and reminded me of some classic Andrae Crouch, or at least what he might write in 2015.

And then everything crashed. I was telling a group of people about it and they proceeded to tell me a whole load of details about the artist, his affair, his marriage breakup and more. Hours later I went online only to discover everything they said was true, not that I should have doubted.

While I should have grieved over the artist’s sin (and my own), at that point my thoughts were entirely selfish. “Darn;” I thought; “I liked that song.”

Two weeks later I decided to play the song on YouTube one more time. Then my wife and I had a discussion about whether or not the song is in any way invalidated by the fact that the writer, like all of us, is flawed.

On Sunday night the discussion came up again in reference to an author. (See yesterday’s blog post.) Should Christian bookstores simply pull his product off the shelves? If they do so, should this be permanent or just for a season? Is the truth contained in those books in any way invalidated by more recent events?

Christian booksellers went through this when Amy Grant and Sandi Patti each were divorced. When Jennifer Knapp and Ray Boltz came out as gay. More recently, when Mark Driscoll admitted he plagiarized large sections of his books.

Of course, sometimes, the truth just isn’t there. The boy in The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven now admits he was never there in the first place. That’s a different type of situation. But last time I checked, those classic Amy and Sandi albums are back on the shelves, and this time around, some stores didn’t bother pulling Driscoll product at all.

I really like the song with which I began this discussion. I don’t wanna go all Charismatic on you and say it’s anointed, but it’s certainly special, at least to me. Does it not remain valid despite all the back-story? Didn’t God use a donkey once?

  1. June 23, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Hmmm… plenty of food for thought there. Makes me think of recent scandals here in the UK outside the church: Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris, for instance. Does the evil they did mean that the good they did no longer counts? Should Rolf Harris’s pictures all be trashed? Do we have to throw everything out once sin is exposed?

    Back to the Bible: once upon a time, God did just that, we’re told, in the account of Noah’s flood. But then, apparently, God realised that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea and promised he’d never do it again. But then we come to Ezekiel 18.23-24:

    Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die.

    When push comes to shove, perhaps that’s our answer: none of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered… unless, of course, they repent…

    … and perhaps we should change that ‘they’ to ‘we’ as a reminder to ourselves…

  2. June 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Would you pull the book of Psalms?

    • June 28, 2015 at 9:25 am

      That’s exactly it! I don’t think anyone would consider pulling the book of Psalms, and yet we have rape and murder going on from the author (at one point). I think it’s strange theology to suggest certain actions invalidate others. A righteous man falls. That doesn’t make his praise invalid.

      We don’t pull products based on anything other than the merits of the product.

  3. June 28, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I think that in writing about “pulling product” I may have inadvertently made this a black-and-white issue. For example, I would never do a front-and-center display of Mark Driscoll right now, but some of the books remain on the shelf. The solution may be more nuanced.

    BTW, I’ve continued to listen to the worship song mentioned at the start of this post, last night obtaining a copy of the chord chart from a worship leader in Ohio.

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