Russell Wilson

A larger story behind the headlines: Why people keep fighting about Amy Grant's music

A larger story behind the headlines: Why people keep fighting about Amy Grant's music

So why do people, decade after decade, keep arguing about the music and life of Amy Grant?

To understand these news stories, it really helps to connect them to other headlines linked to religious believers whose talents allow them to work in mainstream culture. Think about all those debates about the lives of Christian football players, such as Tim Tebow and Russell Wilson. Think about what happens when religious believers, left and right, produce bestselling novels. Think about all those news stories about what is and what is not a "Christian" film. Do the Christians who work at Pixar (and they are part of the mix) make "Christian" movies?

But if you really want to understand this week's Crossroads podcast (click here to tune that in), then I'd like you to take part in a little exercise that I have used for more than a decade in lectures on faith and popular culture.

Step 1: Watch the video at the top of this post, which is Faith Hill's stunning performance of "There Will Come A Day" during the "Tribute to Heroes" special a week after 9/11, a fundraising effort that was carried on just about every single television channel in existence.

Step 2: Now read the lyrics to this song, especially the triumphant final verse and chorus:

There's a better place, Where our Father waits, and every tear, He'll wipe away
The darkness will be gone, the weak shall be strong
Hold on to your faith, there will come a day ...

Song will ring out, down those golden streets
The voices of earth, the angels will sing
Every knee will bow, sin will have no trace
In the glory of His amazing grace ...
There will come a day ... I know there's coming a day

Step 3: Now ask yourself this question: Is this a "Christian" song, in terms of the marketplace of American music? That leads to another question: Is Faith Hill a "Christian" artist, in terms of the marketplace of American music?

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Transgender, God and grovel: The Seattle Times outs a popular chef

Transgender, God and grovel: The Seattle Times outs a popular chef

Covering the transgender bathroom/showers debates has created a few conundrums for the folks here at GetReligion in that we tend to comment on pieces in which religion is a factor or there’s a “ghost;” where religion should be a factor but the reporter –- or editors –- have left it out.

A lot of folks involved in these debates do so for religious reasons, but those reasons aren't often spelled out and instead, as my colleague Bobby Ross has reported, the debate devolves into journalists simply labeling folks "anti-LBGT.".

One side of the debate does seem to get demonized. This case study concerns a Seattle Times food critic who outed a local chef who happens to be providing some of the stadium food available during Seattle Seahawks games.

The chef, known as the “steak king of Seattle,” apparently had a hidden weakness, in that he held unorthodox -- to the new normal -- beliefs on a controversial issue in the public square. Here’s what the Times reporter ran on Wednesday:

Seahawks stadium chef John Howie donated $1,000 to the Washington anti-transgender bathroom group Just Want Privacy in May, and Howie says he also signed a petition opposing transgender bathrooms.
This puts Howie on the opposite side of the issue from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. On Monday, it was reported that Wilson and singer Ciara moved their wedding out of North Carolina due to that state’s anti-transgender bathroom law. Asked about the report today, Wilson said, “I just believe that Jesus loves all people. That’s honestly what I believe.”
Howie says he’s opposed to transgender bathrooms due to concerns about who could gain access to them. “I think that there’s a chance that the law could be abused by somebody,” he says. “I think somebody who is not transgender, a sex offender, could abuse the law -- somebody who is just out to put themselves into a women’s, or a boys’, bathroom, for that matter.

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That Ciara and Russell Wilson wedding: What's God got to do, got to do with it?

That Ciara and Russell Wilson wedding: What's God got to do, got to do with it?

I will be the first to admit that I know absolutely noting -- nichevo, zip, nada, zero, niente -- about how serious journalists are supposed to cover celebrity weddings.

The dress is supposed to be important, right? I understand that. But might the actual content of the wedding have something to do with the, well, wedding?

I ask this because the glamorous power duo of Ciara and Russell Wilson have finally tied the knot and the chatty folks at USA Today are so, so excited. Is this a news story?

Ciara and Russell Wilson are married!
The R&B star wed the NFL quarterback in England on Wednesday and confirmed the news on social media, sharing a photo of their happy day with the caption, "We are the Wilsons!"
The nuptials took place at Peckforton Castle in front of roughly 100 of their closest friends and family members, according to TMZ. The bride wore a custom lace gown by Roberto Cavalli and carried a bouquet of snow white blooms. On Tuesday, Ciara, 30, and Wilson, 27, were captured by paparazzi dressed up for their rehearsal dinner at Liverpool's Titanic Hotel.

Now, this "story" had to deal with the big news hook in this relationship (other than possible recent rap-related death threats and stuff) over the past year or two. You remember that, of course. In an earlier post I talked called it "Tim Tebow syndrome" and added

Good grief. Have we really reached the point where journalists are shocked, shocked that traditional Christian believers strive to follow 2,000 years of doctrine asking them to hold off on sex until after they have taken their wedding vows?

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Shocker! Press discovers that QB Russell Wilson is still a traditional Christian believer

Shocker! Press discovers that QB Russell Wilson is still a traditional Christian believer

Good grief. Have we really reached the point where journalists are shocked, shocked that traditional Christian believers strive to follow 2,000 years of doctrine asking them to hold off on sex until after they have taken their wedding vows?

Or, are the world-weary journalists who cover pop culture (that includes sports, most of the time) predestined to roll their eyes when really hot superstars -- in multiple senses of that word -- affirm traditional doctrines on sex when asked awkward questions in public?

Call it Tim Tebow syndrome, for obvious reasons.

In this case, the man on the hot spot is the unusually composed quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. I give you the elite journalistic work of professionals at People:

Russell Wilson ended months of speculation about whether he is dating Ciara during an interview with Pastor Miles McPherson at San Diego's Rock Church on Sunday. But the bigger surprise from the interview was the news that the couple is abstaining from sex for religious reasons.

"I said to her -- and she completely agreed -- 'Can we love each other without that?' " the Seattle Seahawks quarterback, 26, said in the interview. "If you can love somebody without that, then you can really love somebody."

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Pod people: Russell Wilson, ghosts, 10 years of GetReligion

In a perfect world, the easy way to do mainstream news criticism is to find a really bad example of a problem and then, a few days later, find an example of an equally important news outlet that managed to do the story right. In this case, we are talking about one of those GetReligion ghosts, a religion angle woven into a major news story — yet missed by reporters and editors working on the story. For the past 10 years, spotting ghosts has been one of the primary duties of your GetReligionistas.

Hours before the Super Bowl, I posted an item praising the ESPN.com team for a feature story about the life, work and faith of Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson. Thanks, by the way, to the 20,000-plus readers who passed that post along in social media.

First of all, the creators of this story did the obvious, which is discuss the connections between Wilson’s Christian faith — which he talks about all of the time — and his life on and off the gridiron, focusing on his behind-the-scenes work as a real volunteer in a children’s hospital. That was the easy ghost to spot, one that 99 percent of the people writing profiles of Wilson (and the influence of his late father) manage to see.

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ESPN spots a ghost in the Seattle-Russell Wilson lovefest

Some GetReligion readers may have noticed that there is a big football game later today. One of the teams involved in the Super Bowl this year is the Seattle Seahawks and, as always, the team’s quarterback — in this case second-year starter Russell Wilson — is getting quite a bit of attention, for a variety of reasons.

First of all, Wilson is short by NFL standards, standing only 5-foot-11. Second, he is one of those guys who walks into a room and is instantly recognized as a leader, sort of like my all-time sports heroes Bill Russell and Mike Singletary.

Finally, Wilson is rather open about his Christian faith and beliefs, although his style is more subdued than a Tim Tebow.

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Scoring spiritual points before Super Bowl Sunday

Every year about this time, we face a blitz of profile stories of coaches, athletes, owners, fans and even pets preparing to square off on Super Bowl Sunday (I’m a huge fan of Puppy Bowl, by the way). The big story in advance of the 2014 human installment: the frigid temperatures and whether or not the Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos matchup can attract a proper crowd within the confines of New Jersey’s undomed MetLife Stadium.

Second to that, we’re being treated to a lineup of features on the teams, faith angles and other more spiritual sides of the Sunday offering.

Some stories, like some Super Bowl pairings, are better than others.

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Spot the ghost: An X factor for QB Russell Wilson?

While things are not going very well in his second playoff game with the Seattle Seahawks (writing at halftime), it’s pretty clear that the amazing success of the undersized, yet tough as nails, quarterback Russell Wilson has been one of the National Football League’s most amazing stories this year.

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