Tuesday, March 21, 2006
A Review . . .and A Preview
MESSENGERS: Portraits of African American Ministers, Evangelists, Gospel Singers, and Other Messengers of “the Word”
Photographs by Nicola Goode
David Ritz learned about Christianity through black music. As a teen, his love for jazz led him to R&B and then gospel. As a music journalist and ghostwriter, he wrote and co-wrote acclaimed biographies of musicians like Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, whose sounds were rooted in the African-American church.
In his 60s, Ritz, who is Jewish, opened his heart to the Savior whose voice he had heard in the songs he loved. MESSENGERS is his tribute to contemporary musicians, artists and ministers who have encouraged him during his journey. Twenty-five ministers from diverse backgrounds and a continuum of theological perspectives share their own moments of transformation—one from a shy girl to a powerful preacher, another from a life based on legalism to one rooted in grace—in a series of poetic, lyrical vignettes. Though several of Ritz’ subjects are high-profile ministers and well-known gospel singers, others are ordinary people whose sphere of influence is primarily local or denominational. All share deeply powerful stories.
Photographer Nicola Goode captures each minister in evocative portraits that make MESSENGERS part elegant coffee table volume, part satisfying testimony service.
OK--so there's my review, which ran in the April 2006 issue of Christianity Today magazine. Now for the preview: In a couple of weeks, I'll be running an interview I did with David Ritz, the book's author and one of my Professional Heroes, on ChristianityToday.com and here on gospelgal.com. I know you'll enjoy it! Check in again soon--or subscribe so you'll get an e-mail when it's posted. In the meantime, go buy your copy of MESSENGERS. Gospel Gal says!