Dolly Parton

I went to see Dolly Parton on Friday night! She was amazing, particularly when you consider she is 68 years old and she was on stage and singing for 3 hours, during which time she played a guitar, a banjo, a slide guitar, a tin-whistle, a violin, an organ, a saxophone, a harmonica and numerous other instruments – one talented lady!

One thing that was surprising was how religious the concert was. She openly talked about her Christian faith and was unapologetic about her beliefs stating, "I believe there is only one God" and "When you're having troubles in your life, the only one who can really help you is the Lord" and, my personal favourite, "No one wants to die, but everyone sure wants to go to heaven, so you better get praying because we are all gonna die at some stage!"

It was quite endearing at one point she said, "I've heard there are such things as atheists" as if this was something quite foreign to her. She went on to say that she felt that was really sad because we all have to believe in something.

The night was part concert, part Dolly telling stories from her life. Lots of the stories included God and her faith and she did a short set of Gospel songs.

During intermission I mentioned to my Mum and Dad that I thought she was pretty brave mentioning all of that "God stuff" in NZ and that maybe she didn't know what a secular country this has become. Sure enough, the review on Stuff the next day read "They were hardcore fans and had come from far and wide. She didn't disappoint, despite veering perhaps a touch too far towards the evangelical at times."

You could actually see it on some of the audience's faces – their looks of discomfort every time she mentioned God or Jesus or faith. We're just not used to that in NZ anymore… when did that change? How has it happened that we have to keep quiet about our faith? It's like faith, particularly Christian faith, has become something for people to laugh about and certainly not something to share and talk about openly. Such a shame.

So, I say good on you Dolly! (I'm sure she's a regular reader of Being Frank). Maybe something she said will touch the heart of someone in the audience.

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    Comments: 4

    1. Werahiko February 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      So if Dolly were an atheist you would be pleased to hear her express her views at a concert? Come on. A concert is not for religious proclaimation – especially as by definition the audience has come to listen and has no chance to respond.

      Incidentally, Dolly sounds better slower:


    2. Rubyshine February 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      I know what Werahiko is saying. I went to a U2 concert last time they were here, and Bono went to town preaching about poverty and the problems in the world. I couldn't disagree with a word he said, but what started off as inspiring and thought provoking turned into an evening of being preached at. So yes celebrities have the opportunity to speak about what is nearest to their heart, there is a balance in not alienating your audience.

      What I was really going to comment on though was, does anyone else notice a difference between how open catholics are vs other christian religions? I work in a staff of over a hundred. There are a number of openly mormon and pentecostal christians. I could not have told you there were any catholics on staff. Then one day at mass I ran into a woman from work. She came over and her first words were, "i didn't know you were catholic." We chatted and she mentioned a couple of other people on staff who are also catholic. The next day at work, another woman sidled up to me and said, "I hear you're one of us." So obviously the word had gone out.

      When I think about this, I wonder if it's because there is a culture of discretion amongst catholics? When I told my parish priest my husband and I had had a civil marriage, he shut his office door so that he could tell me we were living in sin (not quite in those words) I thought the door shutting meant I was about to get a serious telling off, but he said, "oh it's just so other people don't know your business."

      So are catholics discreet and private by nature? Is this just my experience? If it's a general truth, how does that match up with evangelising?

      Or are catholics embarrassed?

      Or is it something else entirely?

      If you work in a secular work place, how open are the different faiths?

    3. MaryandMartha February 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I know exactly what you mean Rubyshine. In one state-school that I worked at for a few years there was a very vocal group of Pentecostal Christians – very open about their beliefs and opinions. One day I was in the staffroom and some of the teachers were discussing the "werido Christian group". Another teacher pointed out that they should be careful what they said as I was in the room. A teacher said, "Oh, but she's not Christian… she's only Catholic!" I asked her what she meant and she said that I wasn't "in your face" about it – that I just went to Church and did my own thing, but I didn't try to "sell it" to others.

      Good thing or bad thing? I probably wasn't evangelising, but at least I also wasn't putting people off!

    4. John Whyte February 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Rubyshine & M+M 

      I think as a culture we are very reserved.  Its the mormons and the penticostals who are counter cultral in that regard. 

      However I remember that verse whereby the world shall know we are Christians by our love.  And whilst I think it is okay not to know my religion within the first five minutes of talking to me, I would hope that people do realise there is something different.  

      My father, who is more reserved than I am in religion, was told by an acquantiance, "It's obvious you're Christian, all you need to do is look at your household"  Which I would hope could be said about mine.