Your own Magic Genie

One day last week, I stumbled across the website of a man who pastored the church I grew up in from the time I was a baby until I was about eight or nine years old. Noticing he had the audio for one sermon up for promotion, I decided to give it a listen. And as hard as it was to listen to an angry old man yell for an hour, I made it to the end.

In one especially peculiar interpretation, one that I can’t see coming from any place other than a Western, “civilized” culture, he repeated a mantra I remember hearing growing up, that “God does things decently and in order.”

But what really caught my ear was his description of the Holy Spirit as a magic genie. Of course, he didn’t use those exact words, but his description left little doubt about what he was selling. Continue reading

Andy Whitman’s review of Joe Henry’s “Blood From Stars”

As I’ve complied a list of my favorite movies, books, and music of 2009 over the last couple weeks, I’ve gone back and reread some of the reviews of those entries from my favorite critics. Joe Henry’s Blood From Stars, my second favorite record of 2009, received its best review from Andy Whitman, describing the album far better than I ever could. Andy’s review of Bruce Springsteen’s Magic is what converted me to being a fan of the Boss, and knowing what he thought about Joe Henry is one thing that finally persuaded me to check him out, along with Jeffrey Overstreet’s repeated raves.
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