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Two Christian Musicians Top the Secular Charts – What It Means

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 1:54 PM
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Anne Reed AFA Journal MORE

Lauren Daigle’s song “You Say” took the No. 1 spot several weeks ago on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart. As a worship ballad that includes expressions of surrender in words like, “Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet, You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory,” it is no surprise that it topped Christian charts for months. But it’s positioning on secular charts has surprised many in the Christian community.

Some Christians are offended by the notion that a Christian song would or could cross over into the secular world, many viewing the mere possibility as evidence that an artist is weakening the gospel message. Daigle’s failure to definitively identify homosexuality as sinful behavior in a December 2018 interview with IHeart Radio could be (and is) used as fodder to support such a position.

I get it. Even before I had surrendered my life to Christ, it bothered me as a teen when at least one of Amy Grant’s hit songs could have been written about God or the cute guy next door. Was it intentional? I don’t know, but in my lost and angry state, I was on a hypervigilant search for hypocrisy in those who called themselves Christians.

It is unquestionably a valid concern. We’ve watched many artists move off the Christian platform and into the more lucrative secular environment and fall away from the faith altogether – revealing impure motives or shallow, thorny heart-soil, cluttered with competing interests and values. 

On the other end of the spectrum, some believers are overly impressed when Christian artists cross into the secular arena, placing far too much importance on the opinion of the world as if it somehow validates our voice as Christians.

And though I have no desire to instigate debates on the subject, I realize readers will vehemently defend their position. Sadly, some will do so without reading beyond the headline.

But maybe, as we argue these points, we are missing something profound.

This article is not written for the purpose of stirring up dissension in the body of Christ but to remind us of our unified purpose.

It’s about the lost.

“You Say” has captured the attention of millions of everyday people in our society. This fact should motivate us to spend some time studying the lyrics.

Maybe God has laid out a red carpet and handed us a periscope that we may look and see into the eyes and hearts of the world.

Similarly, a Fox News headline published last week read “This Christian rapper has the No. 1 album right now...” His name is NF, which is a simple abbreviation for his full name, Nathan Feuerstein. I had never heard of him. I’m not exactly in the loop when it comes to rap music. But I’ve spent a number of hours listening to his album and watching his videos over the last couple of days. I’ve cried – almost sobbed – as I watched with intrigue as this 28-year-old man artistically and powerfully presents his deep inner struggles with unusually raw honesty, yet without explicit language or immodesty typically saturating rap videos.

One particularly aching song, “How could you leave us?” tells of the loss of his mother to opioid overdose and the pain it caused (and still causes).

NF is struggling. It is evident in his lyrics – battling to let go of the pain, to release the burdens weighing him down, to let go and truly move forward into freedom.

People relate. Inner turmoil is prevalent in a society where the consequences of sin have left many in an utter state of confusion and hopelessness. And people, especially young people, are looking for answers, for true identity, purpose, and freedom – something immoveable, meaningful, and real. 

The lyrics are below for “You Say” by Daigle and “The Search,” NF’s theme song of the album topping the charts. I’m asking you to stop – to join me in reading the words slowly and carefully while asking the Holy Spirit to reveal His heart for the lost and struggling souls who are identifying with these words, to give insight and prayer direction. Perhaps, as you do so, He will put certain loved ones into your sights. Or maybe He will prepare you for conversations with strangers you may run into today, or tomorrow, or the next day.

Jesus is the ultimate hope for all humanity. As Christ-bearers, we are to be ready at all times to give a reason for the hope that is within us.

 “You Say”

by Lauren Daigle

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know
Ooh oh

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe 
Oh I believe 
What You say of me 
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity
Ooh oh

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe 
Oh, I believe 
What You say of me 
Oh, I believe

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure, God, You have every victory
Ooh oh

You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe 
Oh, I believe 
What You say of me 
I believe

Oh, I believe 
Yes I believe 
What You say of me 
I believe
 

 

“The Search” 

by NF 

“Hey, Nate, how’s life?”

I don’t know, it’s alright

I’ve been dealin’ with some things like every human being

And really didn’t sleep much last night

“I’m sorry,” that’s fine

I just think I need a little me time

I just think I need a little free time

Little break from the shows and the bus rides, yeah

Last year I had a breakdown

Thoughts tellin’ me I’m lost getting’ too loud

Had to see a therapist, then I found out

Somethin’ funny goin’ on up in my house

Yeah, I started thinkin’ maybe I should move out

You know, pack my cart, take a new route

Clean up my yard, get the noose out

Hang up my heart, let it air out

I’ve been searchin’

“What does that mean, Nate?” I’ve been learning

Grabbin’ my keepsakes, leavin’ my burdens

Well, I brought a few with me, I’m not perfect

Lookin’ at the view, like this concerns me

Pickin’ up the cues, right? I’m quite nervous

Hate it when I lose sight, life gets blurry

And things might hurt me

It’s prolly gonna be a long journey, but hey

It’s worth it, though

Cold world out there, kids, grab your coats

It’s been a minute, I know, now I’m back to roam

Lookin’ for the antidote to crack the code

Pretty vivid; I admit it, I’m in classic mode

Don’t need pity given to me, but I can’t condone

Talkin’ down to me, I’ma have to crack your nose for crackin’ jokes

I’m lookin’ for the map to hope, you see it?

Been makin’ a whole lot of changes

Wrote a song about it, you should play it

I get scared when I walk on these stages

I look at the crowd and see so many faces, yeah
That’s when I start to get anxious

That’s when my thought can be dangerous

That’s when I put on my makeup and drown in self-hatred

Forget what I’m saying, and—

Where’d the beat go?

Oh, ain’t that somethin’?

Drums came in, you ain’t see that comin’

Hands on my head, can’t tell me nothin’

Got a taste of the fame, had to pump my stomach

Throw it back up like I don’t want it
Wipe off my face, clean off my vomit

OCD, tryna push my buttons

I said don’t touch it, now ya’ll done it

I can be critical, never typical

Intricate with every syllable, I’m a criminal

Intimate, but never political, pretty visual

Even if you hate it, I’ll make it feel like you’re in it, though

You call me what you wanna, but never call me forgettable

Leave you deep in thought, I could never swim in the kiddle pool

Way that I been thinkin’ is cinematic, it’s beautiful

Man, I don’t know if I’m makin’ movies or music videos (Videos, videos)

Yeah, the sales can rise

Doesn’t mean much thought when your health declines

See, we’ve all got somethin’ that we trapped inside

That we try to suffocate, you know, hopin’ it dies

Try to hold it underwater but it always survives

Then it comes up out of nowhere like an evil surprise

Then it hovers over you to tell you millions of lies

You don’t relate to that? Must not be as crazy as I am

The point I’m makin’ is the mind is a powerful place

And what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way

It’s pretty cool, right? Yeah, but it’s not always safe

Just hang with me, this'll only take a moment, okay?
Just think about it for a second, if you look at your face
Every day when you get up and think you'll never be great
You'll never be great—not because you're not, but the hate
Will always find a way to cut you up and murder your faith (Woo)
I've been developin', take a look at the benefits
Nothin' to meddle with, I can never be delicate
Am I even relevant? That depends how you measure it
Take a measurement, then bag it up and give me the evidence
Pretty evident; dependable can never be tentative
I'm a gentleman, depending on if I think you're genuine
Pretty elegant, but not afraid to tell you to get a grip
Proper etiquette, I keep it to myself when I celebrate, ah

It’s that time again

Better grab your balloons and invite your friends

Seatbelts back on, yeah, strap ‘em in

Look at me, everybody, I’m smilin’ big
On a road right now that I can't predict
Tell me "Tone that down," but I can't resist
Y'all know that sound, better raise your fist

The search begins, I’m back, so enjoy the trip, huh

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