On Inappropriate Conversations #184 I mentioned a process I've been calling First Track for more than a year now. Here is an example of that, reblogging myself.

Ray Boltz is famous, perhaps deservedly, for his song "Thank You" (thank you for giving to the Lord; I was a life that was changed). I'm probably exaggerating a little, but I can't recall ever attending a church camp or "weekend" as either a child or adult where that song wasn't played on a stereo or sung collectively. I'll share it below, but it isn't my ‪#‎FirstTrack‬ from Boltz.

I only bring it up as an introduction to wonder aloud if "Thank You" is still sung -- or now ever sung -- at such gatherings. I never hear the name Ray Boltz in conversations about CTC music. His song is still famous. He has made subsequent recordings. My favorite is "All You Died for Me to Be."
That one isn't the "first" either, but I'd still typically share it below. I can't/won't today because I can't find a video for it, not even one of those videos with a static picture of the album cover (Songs from the Potter's Field, 2002) and the music playing in the background.

Around the time of that album, Boltz publicly acknowledged some truths about himself that the broad Christian community strongly and intensely wanted him to keep lying about. Boltz is gay.

I have seen an evolution in modern Christian thought about this, even in just a few years now.
* Denial: he can't be gay because there is no such thing; it's just a lifestyle choice.
* Anger: if he can't lie to himself about who he is, then he's going to hell.
* Bargaining: I understand how he might not be able to lie to himself about this, but we'll continue to accept him -- sing his songs, buy his albums -- as long has he keeps lying to everyone else about his life and loves.
* Depression: the world is going to accept these pop stars and there is nothing "we" can do about it, so I'll just check completely out, including pretending that Boltz doesn't exist and never contributed any uplifting or edifying music to the modern Christian experience. I'll just stop "thanking him for giving to the Lord" whether my life was changed by his songwriting or not.

We haven't gotten anywhere near an Acceptance stage yet. The devil's bargain of "it's OK to be gay if you don't act upon it" is just another form of denial and bargaining. Another double standard. I don't believe for one second that the people who abandoned Boltz, burning his albums either literally or metaphorically, would really be "back to normal" as listeners. We know that as long as they didn't view Boltz as "normal" then they'd never be a regular listener ever again.

Some introduction! Well, I needed to make two things clear. I was never that huge fan in the first place. I prefer my music with a bit of an edge, and Boltz has never had such an edge. I own two albums, one recorded before he started telling people truths they didn't want to hear, and one recorded after. My favorite song from him comes from the latter, but the true "first track" comes from the former.

I wonder now when hearing the words to songs like "The Altar" if there is more meaning than any of us could have known at the time. What people in their private prayer life might long to leave at the altar is truly none of our business. Judging them for it, though, has been strictly forbidden by Jesus in The Sermon On The Mount and elsewhere. 
These days, though, it is harder and harder to find a Christian who truly cares what Jesus commanded or even taught. There is more lip service than faith in action about what Jesus died for us to be.

Ray Boltz - The Altar

Thank you, Ray, for your years of service, for your honesty, and hopefully for your perseverance in the face of undeniable betrayal.
Ray Boltz - Thank You


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