Oh. My. Word. Christianity Today’s recent article, “Oliver Anthony’s Viral Hit Doesn’t Love Its Neighbors,” is to truth and expression what the Barbie movie is to men and the patriarchy.
Let me pummel you with a most ungracious and ungenerous take on your sincere thoughts, while pummeling you about your lack of grace and generosity.
Let me accuse you of disdain for others over their “lived experience,” while treating you with absolute contempt and disdain for your “lived experience.”
All done under the guise of greater compassion and conscientious care. Everyone’s feelings and experiences should be given dignity…except this guy’s.
How did that article make it through any editing or revision process without someone seeing the self-centeredness or bias of it? (Checks notes.) Never mind. Asked and answered. It’s Christianity Today.
If you have been seeking shelter from the heat in some sort of cave or compound, you may not have heard of Christopher Anthony Lunsford–the Virginian ginger behind Oliver Anthony and the song, “Rich Men North of Richmond.”
Oliver recorded a twangy, simple, song–just a guy and a Gretsch out in the woods–that was so powerful, honest, and raw that it went viral. Beyond viral. No record deal, no producing, or auto-tuning. Just real. And sure enough, the grief and frustration he articulated resonated with…you guessed it, the grief and frustration of many. Lightning in a bottle.
What a great story right? This is the “comeback” you love to hear about. A guy works hard, stays honest, overcomes adversity, matures through it all… Redemption. Everybody loves an underdog story!
Except for the Washington Post, The Guardian, Variety, and Rollingstone. Oh, and Christianity Today. Which should be a fairly accurate indicator–if your opinions align with those expressed by Variety Magazine…consider that they are less Christian and more cultural.
I haven’t done a ton of digging but everything that I have seen shows Mr. Anthony to be deeply humble about his past mistakes and foolishness, deeply candid about his own struggles with depression and addiction, and deeply sincere about two things: the grief and frustration he feels over the state of the world and the firm belief that our only hope is in Christ. So…? The problem is what exactly?
Well, he is obviously a “right-wing plant, alt-right soldier…” liberal media’s words not mine. And this is obvious because? He addressed Epstein Island. Oh, and appreciates the wisdom of Jordan Peterson. (Somebody siphoned that damning bit of evidence off his social media.) Ugh. Talent and teachable spirit. Just insufferable.
Do we want to discuss how Anthony describes himself as centrist and as very frustrated with the establishment of both parties or nah? I did not realize child trafficking was an entirely right-wing issue or that valuing common sense was some sort of political dog whistle. But okay.
I bet CT raised the flag because his lyrics were so hateful to an entire group of people. Let’s see.
Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat
And the obese milkin’ welfare
Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds
Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds
Hmmm. Well, it is indelicate. But it seems his “beef” lol is not with those who are poor, but a corrupt welfare system that is abused by people who have found a way to work misguided benevolence into indulgence… while others still go hungry. The nerve.
Dang. I’m gonna have to fact check that assertion. Hold on…FACT.
That’s a fact, jack. And if you honestly have not seen this to be true, please do come down out of that ivory steeple and walk amongst us heathens. The welfare system has become a detriment to society, helpful as it is to some it is still harmful as a whole. If one could get over their triggered shame, they would see that Anthony is not indifferent to the poor, but he seems bothered that poor people do not have more assistance because others are “milkin'” the system.
It’s a defense of the needy, lady…and an acknowledgement of the portly wolf who robs them.
But Hannah Anderson couldn’t see past her own experience to discern that. In fact, her experience was all she could see.
134 words. 134 words of over 1500 words, had anything to do with Oliver Anthony or his song, and 40 of those were the lyrics. The other 90 were given the author’s bona fides on the subject of Appalachian poverty. How does that work exactly? The author should be trusted because she has seen things firsthand. The singer should not be trusted…because he too has seen things firsthand? What is that called when someone believes their knowledge and credibility to be superior to others? If only there were someone to tell me.
1500 words and not a single one gave credit to Oliver’s humility, perseverance, or hope in CHRIST.
Not a word about a young man having a major kismet moment in life, on a stage before thousands of people, and the first thing he does is share from the Bible and offer hope. Tyrant!
No words for any of that, CT?
No words for any of the things he shared in his lyrics about greed, corruption, suicide, the futility of work, the plight of the poor and marginalized. You got nothing to say about those parts of the song?
But you’re triggered by a part that is a fairly accurate observation and off we go…1300+ words about yourself–your trauma, your completely unnecessary shame over DG paper towels instead of VIVA.
Are you kidding me? Are you really going to try to wear the struggles of abject poverty because you and your husband (both college educated and likely graduate or seminary educated) used SNAP for three years while in ministry, with three kids and one in paid preschool? Seriously. You think this is the same thing as being “folks on the street ain’t got nothing to eat?”
You’re describing the reality of most everyone nowadays #yaybidenomics, and for sure everyone who IS IN MINISTRY at some point or another. Myself included. We chose this life. ON PURPOSE. And have lived richly in it. We chose to forego greater salaries to serve. We knew it would mean less of this and more of that, we knew we were choosing to be a single income family so I could be at home. We knew the kids wouldn’t get new cars on their 16th birthdays. And we said “yes” anyway. We said yes to date nights at Sam’s because you could get pizza and a drink for $3. We said “yes” to hand-me-down clothes, and everyone orders water when we eat out. We said “yes” to far more stay-cations than away-cations, cast off this, and off brand that, doing funerals and weddings to make it all come together by the 1st…
AND I WOULD NOT DARE TO COMPARE OUR STRUGGLES WITH THOSE OF THE TRULY IMPOVERISHED.
I would not dare to pretend that having a stable, two-parent home, free of violence, abuse, or disrupters to education did not put us into an entirely different category.
I would not dare to pretend that even in want, mine is not a life of privilege, particularly when I am pointing out the privilege of others and dismissing “their truth,” as has been done to Oliver Anthony.
Having the courage to call out the corruption that preys upon the poor, the young, the defeated, and tired couldn’t be more Christlike. The wise would see that.
The fool would see this young man and his story only through the lens of “Conservative rhetoric,” their own personal pain, or a general dislike for others based on bias.
Be so very careful, friends. This is classic spiritual blindness. A pharisee looking for a mere word to pounce on and declare sin. How does that reconcile? You’re not bothered by the corrupt system that oppresses; you’re bothered by the one who pointed it out. What does that say about you?
Woe to those who are quick to indict such a unique and unusual occurrence–one that cannot be credited to man’s achievement, plotting, pride, connections, abilities, etc.
It might just be the Lord upon whom you frown, my sweet fudge round.
@aintgottadollar #oliveranthony # richmennorthofrichmond @christianitytoday