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Christian Singer Explains Controversial Decision to Leave Awards Show


"I don't expect the Grammy Awards to be a church service..."

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 01: Natalie Grant and Bernie Herms attend the 2nd Annual KLOVE Fan Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House on June 1, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Christian singer Natalie Grant spoke with TheBlaze this week about the intense controversy that erupted months back over her decision to leave the Grammy Awards early and weighed in on her most recent gig hosting GSN's family-friendly dating show "It Takes a Church."

Contrary to reports, she said she didn't "storm out" of the awards show because of any specific performance or to take a stand against gay marriage.

Grant, a Grammy-nominated artist, landed herself in the headlines in January after tweeting that she and her husband left the Grammys early, declining to specify why. She was promptly accused of hypocrisy and leaving due to the event's endorsement of gay marriage, among other offenses.

"We left the Grammys early. I've had many thoughts, most of which are probably better left inside my head," she tweeted. "I've never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I've never been more sure of the path I've chosen."

Natalie Grant and Bernie Herms attend the 2nd Annual KLOVE Fan Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House on June 1, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Considering that the show was filled with controversial content, including a performance by singer Katy Perry that some said had satanic elements, an opening bit by singer Beyonce in which she was scantily clad and a mass gay wedding ceremony, it's no surprise that Grant's comments sparked intrigue.

The singer, who said that her tweets were misunderstood and read into, but acknowledged that there were elements of the show that she was uncomfortable with, told TheBlaze she learned an important lesson in the wake of the controversy: "Be careful what you tweet."

"It still makes me shake my head. The timing of it. I didn't intend for it to be anything other than [what] I said," she added. "I thought it was a terrible show this year, but even musically — that there wasn't a lot of really great performances ... it was less about the music."

Grant said she simply shared her general thoughts about the show and that she wasn't even at the venue when the controversial mass gay wedding ceremony unfolded set to the tune of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' song "Same Love."

She did tell TheBlaze, though, that the Grammys wasn't the place for that sort of exhibit. That said, she made it clear that she knew what to expect.

"I don't expect the Grammy Awards to be a church service … I knew exactly what I was going into," Grant explained. "I didn't stomp out of the Grammys."

She recalled being exhausted after taking a 5 a.m. flight from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles on the morning of the awards show, which was the main reason she chose to leave early.

Natalie Grant performs at the 2nd Annual KLOVE Fan Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House on June 1, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

"If you want to say our spirits [were] grieved … yeah maybe. This isn't something I need[ed] to keep watching," Grant said of the Grammys. "We waited until people stood up … we weren't trying to make a big exit or a big leave."

She did admit that she was surprised by Beyonce's risque performance, considering that she's "one of the greatest singers and performers of our time" and the "over-sexualized images" presented during the show as a whole.

"I was ... most greatly disturbed by the religious side who were looking to make me a poster child for something I wasn't willing to be a poster child for," Grant added.

Grant made it clear that she's not "ashamed of the gospel," but that she believes the central message of the Christian faith is sometimes lost in the midst of public battles.

So, she tries to avoid certain debates.

"We're Jesus followers and when you look at what Jesus actually did in his life … the only times he got angry and argued was with religious people," she continued. "I also feel like the core of Christianity in our modern culture gets lost and that core message is love, whoever you are."

Grant also told TheBlaze about her show "It Takes a Church," a family-friendly program that she said is safe entertainment for all ages. Some critics have dismissed the idea of a church-based dating show and Grant, too, said that she initially had some concerns.

"[When I first heard about it] I said, 'Heck no, I'm not doing that! It's a terrible idea,'" she told TheBlaze, noting that her views changed when she learned more about the concept. "I think you have to see it before you make a judgement call."

Unlike shows like "The Bachelor," Grant said that "It Takes a Church" doesn't put pressure on contestants to get engaged at the end of the show. Instead, participants simply go on a date in a quest to try to find a good match with the help of caring parishioners.

The first season wrapped Thursday night, with producers currently casting for new singles. Read more about "It Takes a Church" here.

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