I hear a dissonance in what I call "the Amy Grant situation." I open my copy of TODAY'S CHRISTIAN WOMAN and there she is on the inside back cover, captured in a moment of hilarity sitting cozily in front of a fireplace, selling us her latest Christmas CD. I open MARRIAGE PARTNERSHIP magazine ("marriage"/"partnership"—get it?) and there she is on the inside front cover promoting her Christmas tour. I open a catalog from a Christian retail chain, and there she is again—ever smiling, ever promoted.
The Chicago Tribune (Dec. 11) described the "Amy Grant Christmas" tour as "a wonderland of religious carols … and a heaping portion of vintage schmaltz."
These images trouble me. The recent news stories about the breakup of Grant's 16-year marriage to Gary Chapman coupled with the stories about her new (but long-suspected) boyfriend, Vince Gill, whose 17-year marriage ended in 1997, should give us all pause. But neither Grant nor the Christian marketing industry, in promoting her concerts and albums, has missed a beat.
There was no adultery that caused the breakup of the marriages, she assures us. By adultery she means sexual contact. There were, it seems, other intimate exchanges between Grant and Gill sufficient to bring down the Gills' marriage. According to People (Nov. 29, 1999), Gill's wife Janis found a note—"I love you, Amy"—in her husband's golf bag. (Through an assistant, Grant declined my two requests for an interview that could provide any missing context.) "That was the beginning of the end," says Janis Gill's sister, Kristine Arnold. The Gills divorced two years before the Grant/Chapman separation and divorce.
The problem with this situation is that no biblical category tells us how CCM artists function in the kingdom. ...