Wrestling the Angels
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Oct
Perhaps you remember Kelly Minter from her 2001 national debut
She's also landed on a new label, Cross Driven Records—the same label on which Margaret Becker resides, and that can't be a coincidence. Becker is clearly one of Minter's strongest influences, and she in fact produces one-third of this new recording; the rest is helmed by Paul Buono. Becker's imprint is clear on
Minter's talents have bloomed considerably since
But most impressive is her songwriting, which is simple and inspired by Scripture without sounding clichéd. The encouraging album begins with "My Offering," an enjoyable praise song of surrender: "I will not give what costs me nothing when I bring my sacrifice/'Cause You have asked for only one thing, that I gladly give my life." "Shade" is a poetic song of worship referring to Jesus as our refuge and shelter, without rehashing overused expressions. "Say the Word," "Yet Will I Praise," and "Walk Me Through" offer expressions of faith that God will see us through tough times. The closer, "You're Listening," is a wonderful acoustic prayer that takes comfort in God's constant presence: "Why does my soul ache and why do dreams I thought I'd captured slip away?/But You don't have to answer me/It's enough to know You're listening."
Two other tracks focus specifically on the blessings God is willing to give if we only ask. The album title comes from "Evidence of Change," inspired by Jacob's willingness to wrestle with an angel (Genesis 32) through the night until he was blessed by the Lord: "If this is how the blessings flow, then count me in/I'm falling on Your mercy/I am losing to gain." One of the album's standouts is "Open Up the Sky," featuring some interestingly dreamy backing vocals by Minter. The song explores how Christians often focus too much on our own plans, assuming we know what's best for our lives, when God all the while wants to bless us in unexpected ways: "I had set my sights with such narrow mindedness/Perfectly convinced of what would bring me happiness."
Despite these strong themes of hope and faith, and despite the generally pleasant sound,
There's still room for improvement, especially if Minter wants to distinguish herself from numerous other artists. But to her credit, Minter demonstrates considerable growth as a songwriter and vocalist on the likeably crafted