How did a Black kid who was abandoned by both parents, raised by a 64-year-old great aunt from the time he was 4 become a minister of the gospel and contemporary gospel's best-selling artist?And how did he become a strong husband and doting father without those early examples in his life?
Kirk Franklin says it has to do with finally understanding and following "The Blueprint," God's timeless guide for how believers should live out their faith. Without being preachy or talking in "churchese," as he calls it, Franklin delivers a book that is insightful, thoughtful and even funny, one that covers topics such as how to negotiate the single life, sexuality and men, sexuality and women, and how marriage can become stronger over time.
As for the humorous side, the description of the homemade "Jheri curl" his great aunt gave him is just one of the lighter moments sprinkled throughout the book that give it a nice, balanced touch.
Far more than an autobiography and more captivating that most "easy step plans," Franklin's "The Blueprint" incorporates personal anecdotes as well as observations on contemporary life and Christianity.
For example, in describing what the "non-sexies" are, he tells us that while Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams, were off filming a cameo for the movie "The Gospel," he was at home doing Daddy duty. Initial thoughts about not being included in the movie led to the final realization that he was exactly where he needed to be, taking care of his children.
We don't get awards for "the non-sexies," Franklin writes. That is, generally, no one is handing out awards for those who spend time with family or who take communion to the sick and shut-in, but it is that work that shows what we value and who we are when the cameras are not on us.
And those are the kinds of insights that make Franklin's "The Blueprint" a book worth checking out, one that just could encourage readers to stick more closely to God's "Blueprint" in their own lives.
Author, motivational speaker and university professor Deborah Smith Pollard, Ph.D., first attracted national attention when she was named Gospel Announcer of the Year during the 20th annual Stellar Awards, called The Grammys of Gospel Music.
Pollard is a recognized expert on contemporary gospel music with a knowledge base that is the result of her dual career: Associate Professor of English Literature and Humanities at University of Michigan-Dearborn and award-winning gospel radio announcer Sunday mornings, 6-10 AM, on FM 98 WJLB, Detroit's top rated station for young adults.
She has published both academic and popular articles on various aspects of gospel music.
Her book, When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music (Wayne State University Press 2008, includes chapters on praise and worship in the urban church, gospel musical stage plays, the changing dress code in gospel music and the Black church, women gospel announcers and holy hip hop/Christian rap.