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A Fragile Stone
Artist: Michael Card 
Label: Inotof
Length: 11/41:21

When Michael Card puts out a new CD, I usually feel pretty optimistic.  I know that generally his songs will be Scripturally based, look at the lives of the individuals involved from a different perspective, and probably will motivate me to open the Bible to examine the accounts of those people Card is writing about.

A Fragile Stone is no exception.  It examines the life of Simon, Jesus' disciple, from his first meeting with Chris to his transformation into Peter, the rock upon which the church would be built.  Card states that the name "Peter" was not a symbol of strength, but rather the first stone of the house Jesus came to build.

As always, Card and his band are top notch musicians.  Card himself plays banjo, cittern, piano, pennywhistle, and guitar.  Noted banjo player Bela Fleck appears on three tunes, including the Irish/Applachian instrumental "Sea of Souls(Reprise)". Kirk Whalum adds saxophone, and Buddy Greene and Christine Dente add backing vocals.  The result is a typical Michael Card album - music done very, very well that doesn't threaten to overpower Card's quiet vocals. 

There are a few departures - "Stranger on the Shore" gets updated here, written over twenty years ago.  "Not That Kind of King," which deals with the apostles' misunderstanding of Christ's mission, features a gospel choir, and "Walking on the Water" is as bluegrass as it gets.

Lyrically, "I Left Everything to Follow You" will resonate with the listener:

 I left everything to follow You
 To stay safe or to follow - You asked me to choose
 But how could I fail when I've got nothing to lose?
"I Am Not Supposed to Be Here" portrays Peter's reluctance to preach to the Gentiles.  "His Gaze" is haunting, retelling the story of Peter's denial.  "A Fragile Stone" and "Living Stones" show the contrast of Peter's hesitance and the man he became.

Michael Card gets it - he knows what his ministry is, and uses his gifts to point people to the Bible.  His songs tend to lend themselves well to Bible study, and his books usually provide a nice companion to the Cds.  A Fragile Stone exemplifies the frailty of humans, and powerfully depicts what God can do in a person, despite their imperfections.

Brian A. Smith 11 May 2003

   
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