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Viral musician Oliver Anthony shared how God radically changed his life and read the Scripture passages that have guided him amid his rapid climb to fame in a recent interview on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.

The Christian Post | by Leah MarieAnn Klett | August 31, 2023

Anthony, who found overnight success with his song “Rich Men North Of Richmond,” told host Joe Rogan in an Aug. 30 episode that a month before he shot to fame, he’d given his life to the Lord, changing the entire trajectory of his life. 

The 31-year-old, whose breakout song is enjoying its second week atop the Billboard Hot 100 albums chart, said his first-ever paid gig was at a North Carolina farmer’s market just a few weeks ago, where Jamey Johnson even showed up to sing “In Color.”

“I was just so at peace being up there; it just felt like that’s where I was supposed to be. And with all of this, it has been [that way]. There’s no way that Chris from six months ago could handle what’s gone on the last two weeks, but I feel so empowered from all of it,” he said. 

“I’m telling you, like, again, I’m not anybody special, and I’m certainly not here to preach to anybody … but coming from somebody who was just in a really f—ed up place, and I used that word with discretion, but it just describes where I was. That guy found a lot of peace from [the Bible].”

The Farmville, Virginia, native said he grew up in the church and was exposed to religion from a young age but was turned off by the “politics and theatrics” he saw in religion, in general.

Anthony, born Christopher Anthony Lunsford, also opened up about his mental health struggles, revealing he once felt suicide was “eventually going to be my only way out.” 

His physical health began to suffer from symptoms due to anxiety and depression, and he had shooting pains in his jaw and throughout his body and ended up in the ER, feeling like he was “going to die.”

In the midst of his struggles, the songwriter had an encounter with God in his truck and promised to change his ways. 

“I just felt hopeless, like almost the way a child feels hopeless when you can’t find your parent or something. Like a 4-year-old who can’t find his parents, I didn’t have anything left in me.

I don’t know, I just decided right then and there, I know I can’t do this anymore, but I know there are things I need to do. I just told God, let me do it and I’ll give all this s— up. I’ll give up the weed, and I’ll quit getting drunk, and I’ll quit being so angry about things … and I’ll start over again and make Him the focus and not me.”

Once he had a relationship with God, Anthony said his entire outlook changed: “I quit worrying about me, and I started worrying about what it is that I was supposed to do,” he said. 

“It talks in the Bible about being a servant … I gave up my desire and my will and whatever it is that I want to do. It’s about trying to use what I have as a tool.”

“We all sin, and we all do stupid things; we’re all just people. Nobody’s special or righteous. People sometimes act like they’re special and righteous, but we’re all just the same thing …  we all serve some master whether we realize it or not, so why not let it be the Master that is above all.”

Now, the artist said he reads the Bible for guidance: “I’m still in the infancy stages in a lot of this,” he admitted, “but just trying to restructure on a granular level the neuropathways in my brain that have certain habits and thoughts.” 

The artist went on to read Scripture from his Bible, Proverbs 4:20-27, sharing a passage that changed his life.

“And I’ll be very brief with this, I promise, but ironically, it’s Proverbs 4:20, which I thought you would like … ‘My son, pay attention to what I say, turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight. Keep them within your heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free from perversity, keep corrupt talk from your lips, let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you, give careful thoughts to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil.’”

Rogan replied, “That’s pretty f—ing profound.”

“The whole book of Proverbs is like that,” Anthony agreed. “It’s not preachy; it’s not what you think. It’s good guidance, it’s like good guidance that you would want a father to give to his son.”

“Rich Men North of Richmond,” which includes the lyrics “I wish politicians would look out for miners/ And not just minors on an island somewhere/ Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat/ And the obese milkin’ welfare” has garnered praise from many, including Rogan, and conservative commentators Laura Ingraham and Matt Walsh. 

The song was also discussed by Republican candidates for president during a debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last week. 

“Our country is in decline. This decline is not inevitable. It’s a choice. We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said when asked why the song resonates with so many. 

In a YouTube video last week, Anthony clarified that he doesn’t want his song “weaponized” for political purposes. 

“It was funny seeing my song — seeing it at the presidential debate, because it’s like, I wrote that song about those people,” Anthony said. “So for them to have to sit and listen to that, that cracks me up.”

“That song has nothing to do with Joe Biden, you know?” he continued. “It’s a lot bigger than Joe Biden. That song was written about the people on that stage. And a lot more, too, not just them. But definitely them.”

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: leah.klett@christianpost.com

Source: Oliver Anthony shares the Gospel with Joe Rogan | Entertainment News (christianpost.com)

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