A lot of Christians have been angry that Lauren Daigle sang her new single “Still Rolling Stones” on “The Ellen Show” a couple weeks ago (video at the bottom of post). Although I understand some of the reasons why, I think much of this criticism is unwarranted and unfair to Lauren.
Some people are saying that Lauren Daigle should not have gone on the show, because in doing so, she is condoning a gay lifestyle. That would be equivalent to saying that I should not frequent my favorite restaurant just because the manager happens to be a homosexual. I am always hesitant to use this word, because it is overused. But if you think that you should never associate with someone else simply because that person is a homosexual, you are a homophobe. I don’t have another word for that. You can disagree with someone’s lifestyle and still be their coworker, friend, family member, or guest on their show. Why is this so difficult for some Christians to understand? You are not “condoning their behavior” by associating with them. Jesus loved everyone He came in contact with, and the only people He was harsh to were the Pharisees-- the ones that tried to stop Jesus from associating with specific types of people. Let’s be a little more like Jesus and a little less like the Pharisees He rebuked.
Other people have criticized Lauren’s song itself for not being “Christian enough”. I don’t agree with this and will explain why, but first, I do have sympathy for the complainers, because in the Christian music industry at large there is usually a lack of deeper theology in the more popular songs. However, Lauren Daigle is not obligated to do anything about that. Let her write what she writes, for goodness sake. Don’t blame Lauren Daigle for not writing the lyrics you want to hear.
I like what the Bible has to say in Hebrews 5:12-14: “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
There is a need for both “milk songs” and “solid food songs”. Both types are equally important. “Milk songs” are songs by Christian artists that are not rich in theology but talk about personal experiences with God or basic truths about Him (He is good, He loves us, He still works miracles, ect). “Solid food songs” are the songs that have deeper theology. They talk in detail about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, about what it means to call yourself a Christian, the nuanced differences between good and evil, and the concepts of martyrdom, predestination, and the end times.
Both types of songs are equally “Christian”, in that they are both written by Christians and are ultimately an equal offering to God, but they have different purposes. “Milk songs” are arguably the most important tools we can reach non-Christians and new Christians with. A non-Christian isn’t going to understand, much less care, about a song that explores the topic of predestination. But a song that is a heartfelt personal testimony about what God has done could be incredibly inpactful. Lauren Daigle’s song, along with Avril Lavigne’s song that was released last month, are examples of successful “milk songs” that got massive exposure to non-Christian audiences. I think that is a fantastic thing.
The reason for the criticism of Lauren’s song is this: many Christians who are not new believers are tired of hearing milk song after milk song on the radio. They want something deeper, something more relevant to their current state. Instead of the “once I was lost, now I am found” message, they need more of a “now that I am found, how do I glorify God” message. Unfortunately, these deeper topics are not ones that can really be unpacked thoroughly in one song. These solid food songs are rich and satisfying but are not easily digestible. And they are hard to write, which is why they are relatively rare.
Lauren Daigle did not perform that type of song on “Ellen”. And good thing. Because it wouldn’t have been relevant to the audience she was hoping to reach with the gospel. The people who are saying her songs aren’t “Christian enough” are criticizing her for failing a goal she wasn’t even attempting to reach. She wasn’t trying to be the most theological. She was trying to write a good, catchy, simple song with a heartfelt message that would impact a ton of new people. And on that account, she was very, very successful.