When I graduated from High School in 1986, I was sought a spiritual connection, a way to to know what path I needed to take in my life. At that time, I was planning on being a choir director, my love of singing and music match only by the arrogant belief that I was damn good.
In that year, First Call came out with “Undivided” and my love of acappella met my love of Christian music. I devoured their music and followed them, buying every single release. When Melodie Tunney left the group, I was leery, not sure if the group would continue the beautiful tones and arrangements that I adored.
Enter Marabeth Jordan.
And I fell in love with her tone, her energy and the song “Don’t you worry about a thing” which I’d never heard before. She was young, she was amazing and the next CD only got better.
It was “Sacred Journey” released in 1993 that I wore out again and again. Songs that brought me closer to God, that gave me hope. Songs I still love today.
When it all came crashing down in 1994 with the revelation that Marabeth Jordan was pregnant due to an adulterous affair with Michael English, I watched something absolutely appalling happen that leaves a bad taste in my mouth for the Christian Music community and its ministries.
Marabeth Jordan was vilified. So was Michael English. But guess who still has a career in Christian Music? You got it. Michael English. He is forgiven, using his affair and his drug use as a “testimony” basically dragging Marabeth through the mud every time. Never a fan of English, I was saddened and angered by his ability to shed Marabeth with no thought at all. Listening to his testimony is painful and frustrating to me since there is little record of Marabeth’s struggle.
It takes a bit of Googling, but information is there that Marabeth suffered a miscarriage of the baby she’d created with Michael English. There is no record of this devastating period of her life. She is essentially erased from CCM history with no links for her name and no page for her contributions.
Could Marabeth Jordan come back and make it as an artist? Probably not. Women in Christian Music have a tougher row to hoe. The only person I’ve even seen continue to have a career was Amy Grant and SHE left her husband for the man she committed adultery with. The Christian Music community is divided over her especially as evidenced by comments made on any YouTube offering by Grant.
So it’s understandable that Marabeth would want to stay under the radar and no draw attention to herself. She’s apparently went back to being a back up singer for other artists. What happened with her marriage and what happened to her relationship with the other members of First Call is not really known.
In my mind, it was a bunch of hypocrisy. Marabeth was a part of something special and sacred. There seems to have been no forgiveness in the people who continued to condemn her. The people who continue to condemn her today. I don’t know where she is today or what she’s doing, but I hope that she’s recovered from the dark period that took her out of the public eye. As someone who has been cheated on, I know that forgiveness is a growing, amazing thing. It saved me from spiraling into hate and keep love alive. Honestly, I think it’s people who have survived something this horrific who understand the true love of God.
Marabeth Jordan sang many of these songs deep in a struggle that I understand and I have failed too. I found forgiveness for myself and for others. She is, and always will be, part of a very spiritual period in my life, a time that was accompanied by her harmony in First Call.