Amy Grant says she accepts LifeWay's decision not to sell new album

Updated Wednesday 2 p.m.

Amy Grant wants to move past LifeWay Christian Resources' decision not to sell her new Christmas album, a decision her manager said was made because the Southern Baptist retailer didn't think the record was Christian enough.

"We respectfully accept Lifeway's decision that my new Christmas album didn't meet their criteria. Let's all move on from that decision without arguing about it. But let's not stop asking the questions about what it means to live in faith and reflect love to the world around us," said Grant, in Wednesday post on her official Facebook account.

The Nashville-based singer also shared her appreciation for her manager, Jennifer Cooke, whose opinion column on the decision was published Tuesday by the Washington Post. In the piece, Cooke said LifeWay's decision not to carry the album reignited a debate about how Christian a product needs to be in order for a Christian retailer to sell it.

"I appreciate her brain, her perspective and her heart," Grant said.  "Asking questions opens all of us up to the possibility of being willing to consider how we might live differently."

LifeWay spokesman Marty King confirmed the retail and online stores would not be carrying "Tennessee Christmas," but would not comment further on that decision. King went on to explain that LifeWays does not discuss its product decisions, but they are presented with hundreds of thousands of products and can only carry a few thousand.

Original story

LifeWay Christian Resources will not be selling Amy Grant's new Christmas album this year, and the manager for the Nashville-based singer says it's because it's not Christian enough for the Southern Baptist retailer.

Manager Jennifer Cooke said in an opinion piece for the Washington Post that LifeWay's decision not to carry "Tennessee Christmas" reignites a debate about how Christian a product needs to be in order for Christian retailers to sell it.

"'Is it Christian enough for Christian retail to support?' LifeWay Christian Resources, the large Southern Baptist retailer, decided it was not. It’s their choice, and it’s okay," said Cooke, in the column posted Tuesday.

LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, confirmed its retail stores are not carrying the album, but would not comment on the reasons for the decision. Both LifeWay headquarters and the Southern Baptist Convention are based in Nashville.

"We don’t discuss why we make product decisions," said Marty King, LifeWay spokesman. "We’re presented every week with thousands of new products that we can carry. There are hundreds of thousands of products that we could carry online or in our stores. We’re only able to carry a few thousand."

LifeWay Christian Resources online store lists more than 80 Christmas music albums. The online store does carry a handful of Grant's other albums.

Unlike a decade ago, artists are no longer dependent on brick-and-mortar retail stores to sell Christian music. Discussion about Grant's album comes at a time when artists are focusing more on streaming and selling hard copies at concerts to sell albums.

Grant's new album released Oct. 21 and is her first Christmas one in almost 20 years. LifeWay's competitor, Family Christian Stores, is selling "Tennessee Christmas," according to the retailer's website. The 13-track record includes two Christmas hymns: "Joy to the World" and "O Come, All Ye Faithful." And, Grant covered holiday mainstays like "White Christmas" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

In her opinion column, Cooke pointed to the song "Melancholy Christmas," written by Grant and Marshall Altman and questioned whether it was necessary for songs to specifically talk about Jesus for it to be deemed Christian.


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