Blinded By Your Grace

I believe in God but haven’t been to church in a number of years. That’s a story in itself. Suffice to say, I’ve never quite fit into the traditional church environment. Maybe it’s the inner cynic inside of me, forever questioning the motives of these ‘too good to be true’ people I found myself hanging out with every Sunday. People who then often disappeared off the face of the planet for the remaining six days of the week, when I really needed them.

I’ve always felt an outsider when it comes to organised religion. It’s not that I’m out of my depth, more in the wrong swimming pool altogether. I’ve never truly fit in, despite the welcoming veneer and painted on smiles which greeted me every Sunday morning. It was all too cosy, too comfortable, which is strange as I never recall Jesus living that kind of life whenever I used to pick up my Bible.

On Friday night, the U.K. grime artist Stormzy headlined the Glastonbury music festival to an estimated 200,000 people. Millions more watched on television. Grime is a form of urban hip hop/rap which has swept the charts by storm this year. Stormzy’s recent single ‘Vossi Bop’ hit Number 1 and his second studio album is eagerly awaited by his army of fans. The artist and his musical genre are a phenomenon.

Stormzy has a social conscience. He raps about life on the streets, about major social-economic issues. His lyrics are intelligent and insightful, fuelled by a desire to expose the injustice he sees all around him. Topics include the epidemic that is knife crime, gang culture and racism. This is no brainless wannabe gangster. He writes with passion and purpose, spitting out his rhymes to promote important topics we so often turn our backs on.

The highlight of the show though, for me anyway, was when he slowed it down to perform his massive hit ‘Blinded By Your Grace.’ Backed by a soulful choir he revealed a deep faith which bolsters his career. Despite his tough guy image and, at times, expletive ridden lyrics, he laid himself bare as he sang a song of thanks to his God. And, cynical old me believed him. 200,000 voices sang along, mobile phones in the air. I remember when we used lighters but hey ho.

Many of the huge crowd and watching TV audience may have had no idea what the song was about. Maybe others did, but weren’t going to let a bit of ‘God talk’ get in the way of a good tune. And maybe, just maybe, for a few the penny dropped. They stopped and thanked God for everything He was doing in their lives. People who had never stepped foot in a church building before, suddenly found themselves surrounded by it. Proper church.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

46 thoughts on “Blinded By Your Grace

  1. I say that we all need to be where we feel the most comfortable with God. From personal experience, we will lose a beautiful piece of ourselves in denying faith altogether -so an organized religion can be good for that. But if someone feels he’s in a more negative environment in his congregation, it’s not the place to find God.

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    1. I’ll only “feel most comfortable with God”, if I struggle to save the creations we attribute to “him” as much as I can until I die; if and when that takes place- thanx for thoughtful reply. reality

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  2. God does work in mysterious ways and through many people. We are God’s hands. I have not been inside a church in many years either, but I am constantly seeking. I think we are all spiritual beings clothed in human flesh. Some of us do grasp it and the penny does drop – for others, well, perhaps they need a whole dollar. I am not familiar with this particular artist. I am not really a fan of rap music so I am not exposed to it much. But now, I will have to go visit YouTube to see if I can find this. Wonderful post – “where two or three are gathered in my name . . . ” Church is the people. It is not an institution nor a building… for me anyway, church is the people of God….

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  3. Proper church. You sure are right, That line was perfect. This story reminded me of a time when a non-church goer was once visiting our church. Suddenly, mid announcements she got up, leaving because the environment was too difficult for her. She left something in her seat so I quickly ran out to meet her and bring it to her. As she shared her story with me outside and I chatted with her I remember looking back at the church and thinking: “There’s more church happening out here today than in there.”

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  4. I checked out the video on YouTube of that part you talked about. That gave me goosebumps! He is a truly blessed singer as was that choir behind him. As for church, I agree that as long as you have faith, believe in God, and believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins, then you’re good. While the Bible does say to gather with other believers for the sake of building one another’s faith, it never said it had to be in church. Most believers back then gathered in one another’s houses. Hugs ❤ God knows your heart Stephen.

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  5. A friend of mine said, I need to listen to this on-line as I missed listening him at Glasto., I am definitely going to listen to it in a while. I am also going to ask my DD about Stormzy as she has mentioned him a few times and I hadn’t been completely on the page so to speak. Thanks for the blog. It was very insightful. 🙂

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  6. I think there will be lots of surprises hanging out at the heavenly water cooler. I know there is no scripture to support this notion, as we will be perfect and our focus singular.

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  7. I tend to find that “church” happens more outside of the building than inside. Inside there are too many agendas, too much politics. I don’t care for it. I’ve always felt like an outsider at church. I don’t feel comfortable around the plastered on smiles and fake hugs. I hate having to be polite in church when if we weren’t in a church I’d probably say something rude.

    I don’t feel natural trying to be sweet or be nice. Not that I’m a nasty person but there are days I don’t feel well. There are things people say that aren’t nice. I don’t like hugging strangers or being hugged by strangers.

    I will definitely check this guy out. I could use a good bit of church. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  8. I am with you Stephen. People who go to church every Sunday but don’t practice Christ Consciousness or His compassion the rest of the week aren’t spiritual.
    There have been many saints in India who just sang and sang His praise and in His love and reached Him.
    Faith has nothing to do with going to a temple or a church. It is a quality of the soul and can only be felt.

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  9. I’ve had the same experience at various concerts and listening to several albums – from tool to chance the rapper and a lot in between! I think it’s a positive trend! Each of us are unique and so must see our Creator in unique ways but sharing these experiences brings us closer together and closer to God! I think.
    Thank you for sharing your experience!

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  10. Isn’t it WONDERFUL that God is NOT limited by the imaginary lines we draw or the exclusive structures we create. He is always, right where we are! Thank you for your insight and honesty, it’s refreshing and encouraging!

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  11. I’ve lived in the “church” world my whole life. I am still there every Sunday, but there is a desire to be there now that I’ve found my true family. I go to a tiny community church – not even a parking lot. On Thursday evenings some of us gather for something called Church on Tap – at a local pub – eating pub food and sharing a flight, a pint, or a cup of tea. We talk about fringe theological issues and how the church should approach current events and “hot topics” that cause division among our more conservative siblings. God is not limited to a building. If you can find a community of like minded Jesus followers, it is a treasure beyond imagination. Until then, your blog family is here for you!!

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  12. Like the Earthen qualities of your writings, thanx.

    Send a free fax to Nancy “Chamberlain” Pelosi on the urgent Need To Impeach:

    https://faxzero.com/fax_congress/P000197

    Nancy ‘Chamberlain’ Pelosi is just wrong, “…we(e),…” must impeach, struggle for the hearts and minds, neigh souls of every American; South, Central and North. You All are very kind. Yes, only our hearts allow us to see that all life are needed threads in the fabric of life, that “…we(e),…” can never allow to be torn asunder. War isn’t the answer, it’s only the ever asked and never answered adequately question, why? And, when bees are extinct, humanity will not be eating and soon after will follow them. As well, without freedom of the press no other freedoms would exist. Have a better day. Oyate. reality Copy, share all my writings as you will. Goodbye, All.

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  13. I am not a rapper fan either so will need to check this out. That is such a great witness that he did at his concert and a bold step!

    I am a faithful church goer and worked in the church years ago with the youth and children’s ministries. God tells us to not give up meeting with fellow believers as we need the encouragement to know we aren’t in this earthly struggle alone. And we need to spend the time worshipping in His presence to remind us that He is the one that gives us strength! Really, church is more about the time to worship than it is a place to go. Keep looking for a place you can call your church family who will love on you, your wife and kids. In the mean time, there are some online pastors too. Check out Craig Groeschel at lifechurch.tv. He is one of my favorites to listen to. You can watch any of his sermons anytime since ‘live’ would be much later in the day for you. 😁
    Blessings- don’t give up- there is a church family out there for you!
    Cindy

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