Bubble Gum Christian Pop

By Amanda Moreno

I often run across people — friends, acquaintances and others — who have a policy of complete intolerance when it comes to anything Christian. I find this to be somewhat frustrating, although I can also understand it. Christianity has been at the helm of tremendous amounts of pain and suffering. At the same time, Jesus seems cool, be he real or mythological.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Also, I love working with Mary. And when I tap into what I see as the heart of the religion, it is just that — a lot of heart. Love. Compassion. Forgiveness. That the shadows of those concepts seem to have taken hold is an unfortunate byproduct.

My earliest exposure to religion was through my father’s Catholicism. I was quite the devout, bible-school lovin’, Catholic Kindergarten attending little Catholic girl until my dad died when I was six. This left my religious education to my mom, who was your typical run-of-the-mill non-practicing Methodist. Although, to give credit where credit is due, she was in fact the one who oversaw my baptism in a friend’s kitchen sink. Practical and effective.

My mom never really had much of an interest in going to church, save for a few times she took my brother and me to one. My mom is actually the source of one of the most influential nuggets of advice anyone ever gave me in regards to religion when I was young. I was hiking with her and my brother, and she told me to be good to people and to myself; to act with kindness; and to learn as much as I could about all kinds of different religions, and then figure out what made sense to me based on my experience.

My best friend from fourth to seventh grades, however, was Vineyard Christian, a fundamentalist branch of the church that I absolutely adored. I realize in retrospect that what I really loved about going to church could be whittled down to two things: love of community and love of singing. Those Vineyard Christians incorporated song into everything — and not the stoic, formal hymns of the Catholic Church. Rather it was folky and reminded me of rock music and took place with the full congregation — including the kids. Which I thought was awesome.

So here I am, a late-thirties lady with fairly eclectic spiritual beliefs. I went through my days of absolute hate and disregard for the Christian church. I can still dredge quite a bit of that up when discussing the Catholic Church in particular, as I have very little tolerance for institutionalized child rape. But every once in a while it all comes back to those early days, and I’m able to recognize the early seeding of my current path as someone who anchors love here.

While riding the train yesterday I was compelled to do something that made me vaguely uncomfortable. But the more the thought stuck around, the more I realized I needed to just give into the compulsion. So I did it: I purchased and downloaded Amy Grant’s The Collection — a 1986 compilation of some of her ‘greatest hits’ along with a few new tracks that marked her exit from strict Christian music and into the pop world. Love songs that seemed fairly typical for the time, but yet could be said to be love songs to god. A really hip, 80s pop culture god.

To be clear, this album is Christian pop music. Amy Grant is apparently known as the “Queen of Christian Pop.” At least, she was prior to her crossover to regular pop music — and prior to allegations of an affair and a divorce that caused some Christian stations to stop playing her music. She also garnered criticism from the Christian community that she was too worldly and sexy. Reading that just now on her Wiki page made me like her even more.

So I found myself walking around Seattle’s hippest, most eclectic, alternative-culture wonderland neighborhood, listening to Amy sing her praises to the lord and smiling involuntarily and brightly because of it. It was cracking me up, and it was also filling me with all kinds of nostalgic joy.

Several things clicked into place as the music filled me up with a sense of totally unexpected euphoric happiness. Part of that was remembering how much I loved singing at church as a child, a habit that evolved into years spent in all kinds of choirs and performing in musicals. I also realized as I listened that my sister bought this particular Amy Grant album (or maybe I should call it what it really was: a cassette tape) for me shortly before my dad died.

And there it was — the thirtieth anniversary of my dad’s death is in a few weeks, and we are therefore in the Saturn return of the event. As I realized this, tears came to my eyes as I recognized what a healing salve this music must be for my inner six-year-old who was such a little love bug, who was devout and full of faith, and who was plunged smack-dab into the middle of the totally shocking and unexpected loss of her favorite person in the world.
My emotions — the good and the bad — shut down that day thirty years ago as I went into a state of complete overwhelm, as I sponged the emotions of my mom and brother and probably a bunch of other people too.

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The Spring Reading is now published. You may order all 12 signs here or choose your individual signs here for immediate access. You may listen to a free audio introduction here now.

That emotional side didn’t dare to resurface until I was 16, when something triggered the realization that I had never really cried over my dad’s death. Up until that point, what moved the emotions within me was cheesy pop music, and then as puberty set in, the more angsty music of Tori Amos and Nirvana as well as musicals like Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.

Christian rock, at least what I was exposed to three decades ago, is pretty straightforward. The lyrics claim that “love will find a way,” and talk about guardian angels and hope and joy. Really, they are themes that are still pretty relevant to my way of seeing and being in the world.

In my most centered state I tend to want to just pour heaping doses of love into the planet. It reminds me of a recent experience I had doing one of my favorite things — getting to know a new lover’s body through massage — and the feeling of just wanting to let the love flow through to my hands and into the other person’s body. I consider that feeling of euphoric love to be one of the best forms of erotic energy.

Perhaps that erotic energy is a bit far removed from the six-year-old part of me. But considering the upcoming anniversary, I thought the urge to listen to music I’ve rarely heard in thirty years seemed a fascinating synchronicity. And as I ponder themes of truth and judgment as they’re related to Saturn in Sagittarius, as well as revisit and rethink my desires and their motives as Mars starts its retrograde, I think I’ll pay some attention to what was forming for me thirty years ago.

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About Amanda Moreno

Amanda is an astrologer, soul worker and paradigm buster based in Seattle. Her adventures in these forms of ‘practical woo’ are geared towards helping people to heal themselves and the world. She can be found in the virtual world at www.aquarianspirals.com.

6 thoughts on “Bubble Gum Christian Pop

  1. Ed Ramsey

    The Jesus People movement and the Vineyard were my favorite christian experiences. They touched my heart, made me fall in love with Jesus and the world, and made me want to go out and help others. Everything else in my christian experienc was “less than” that. Thanks for sharing. I loved the music too :-).

  2. Barbara

    Amanda…………thanks for this…………I am with you on the music connection………..conduit for transport………..I once sat behind a mother, with a young infant on her shoulder……..the air was full of music…………..stained glass…lit by daylight……held the baby’s gaze………..talk about wonder….penny for a thought……….(?)………….grateful for the moment………be good to yourself….take care………………..

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