Shades of Grace: No Second-hand Faith

Being born with that “spiritual silver spoon” in my mouth can certainly be a blessing or a curse. Self described as a free spirit, new age artist Emilie Autumn had a song out about ten years ago called Second-hand Faith that said “If an ancient word, a heathen spell can salvage me, I will believe in miracles ’cause it would take a saint to set me free. And if my luck don’t last too long or if my life gets worse, I’ll be back for another song. I can do without a book I’ll never read … Second hand faith is all I need.”
As a survivor of rape and other abuse, Autumn’s life has been marked by emotional instability and hallucinations. Her classical musical training and self-survival way of life has offered her no hope. Because in the end there is no second hand faith. How sad to think that there are many “Autumns” out there, hoping for some karma-type breeze to blow their way and save them.
And yet for me, even with that silver spoon, I realized early on that I would have to choose faith … for myself. There was no second-hand Christianity that automatically came with being a PK. I am so thankful for that message that I clearly heard from my parents everyday.

One of the highlights of my high school years was being a part of a youth ensemble. My mom played for us and helped lead the group. We sang at churches and community groups and enjoyed participating in seminars/workshops put on by Re’Generation (a 1970s Christian singing group). In the day you had to have a name. Ours was Inspiration. You can laugh now. 🙂 We even performed a musical called I Promise to Love, complete with lots of memorized vignettes. Honestly, it was a pretty big undertaking for some teens in an amateur singing group, but it had some great truths about marriage and the promise to love one another. Being a part of this group was such fun and also allowed me the opportunity to worship through singing. We practiced diligently and worked hard for the music to be done well. I know my mom’s desire was for the songs we sang to be a reflection of what was happening in our own lives, not just performance. I admit, though, that Linda and I did laugh through a song or two. From the piano, Mom just had to say “Oh, girls” and graciously end the song for everyone’s sake. 

We learned and sang lots of great 70s songs, but one of the songs we sang was a Christian song by the same name as Autumn’s. Second-hand Faith. But the words were not about luck or ancient spells. In fact, just the opposite. Second hand faith won’t get you into heaven, second hand faith won’t get you a crown. Second hand faith won’t heal your spirit, second hand faith will bring you down.
And then the last line says Oh, you’ll be lost with second hand faith.
I know that the words to this song had a message that my mom wanted to drive home to Christian listeners. And I certainly recognize the truth for myself as I reflect on 50 years of life. No matter the faith passed on to me through sermons taught and even lived, I had to choose. I had to receive the forgiveness of God because of my personal offenses toward Him and accept the redeeming love of Jesus, expressed through His sacrificial death on the cross … for MY sins. Although I was born into a very rich family, spiritually speaking, the reward of eternal life comes only through my own relationship with the God of the universe through His Son.
Thank You LORD, that I have been blessed with such a rich spiritual heritage. Thank You even more for pursuing me that I might come to know You in a personal way. Every single day, You have chased me with Your everlasting goodness and mercy!

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