The tragic death on June 22 of Kingdom Heirs builder (and longtime baritone vocalist) Steve French and his companion, Lindsay (Black) Hudson, has reverberated far beyond Southern Gospel’s geographic centre, beyond the magnificent New River Gorge bridge from which the two renegade lovebirds plunged, and past any references to literary tragedy one might superficially infer.
An early end to life is always sobering. A nefarious end to a life you’d had reason to regard with admiration will come as a shock to the system. Industry admirers and faithful Kingdom Heirs followers who had formed varying degrees of relationship with French — through the shared experience of “special moments” of which he was often chief architect — were left dumbfounded, and grasping for answers.
Alas, no answers were forthcoming from the official voices of the industry, even as sketchy news reports lit fires of angst and bewilderment across the fan base. Rank-and-file sycophants policing online forums, predictably, were beating back legitimate inquiries with self-righteous perspectives and Bible verses. (Pah! Pah! Pah!) All seemed oblivious to a simple truth that emerges every time a community’s world has been rocked by an unthinkable event involving those the people think they know: logic is the necessary device they reach for to stabilize their world.
Good people die. Accidents happen. Reckless behavior reaches its natural consequence. Disasters come and go. Bad people barge in to wreak havoc on someone’s perfectly ordered world. Yet, to those left standing, it’s all survivable as long as reason can be found to help them make sense of it. Continue reading