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NY Times Blasts Amy Grant’s Three Wishes

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A few days ago New York Times writer Ned Martel wrote an article called Manna from Hollywood: Charity Begins on TV about NBC’s new Friday night television show Three Wishes hosted by Grammy award winning singer Amy Grant.

As I began to read Martel’s critique of the show I was amazed to see that Martel took issue with a show that was designed to help people. To begin with, Martel begins by characterizing the whole idea of the show and how it is presented as a “traveling ministry, with revival tents pitched in a different small town every week,” thereby insulting any and everyone who has ever attended a revival meeting of some sort.

Martel also characterizes Grant by saying that the show actually “sets her up to actually play God.” This is absolutely ridiculous because, just because she is the host of the show and one of the most visible Christians in America, does not mean that Amy Grant has a desire to play God. This also dismisses every other person who takes part in the program, as well as other shows and charities that reach out to those in need. And taken to its logical conclusion every host of every show in the world is then in the position to “play God” whether it be with their programming or desire to meet needs.

And just when one thinks that Martel might have some axe to grind with Amy Grant because of her Christian faith, he compliments her by saying,

Ms. Grant is an amiable, wholesome warbler, and she has an easy rapport with her small-town hosts. But her show arrives at a moment that is rife with celebrity saints showily raising hurricane-relief money or arranging televised giveaways for the less fortunate. Clearly, she feels something genuine for the aggrieved. The problem is that Three Wishes elevates the already sky-high power of celebrity, suggesting that only through her presence can the locals get their prayers answered.

Martel clearly states that the problem as he sees it is that celebrities “sky-high” power is the problem, which I find rather ironic because all most “celebrity saints,” want to help those who are hurting and suffering. Why is this such a bad thing to Martel? Does Ned Martel desire that celebrities use their “sky-high power” to abuse the public instead. This is a silly suggestion, I’m sure, but it does make one wonder when a great new television show that exalts the goodness of humanity is slammed because it uses celebrities, and in this case has a prominent Christian celebrity as its host.

The other interesting comment in Martel’s critique of Three Wishes is that he states that his wish is,

…that the town could have figured out how to stage such moments of support and catharsis without the arrival or blessings of a famous singer… much of these benefits could be accomplished without such a benefactor swooping into town.

While I can understand the power of celebrity being an issue for Martel the problem I have with Martel’s wish is that he does not provide his solution to the problem. How are hundreds or thousands of people in a town able to find out the wishes and needs of others in the town without some person of influence among them? Not all people read papers, and everyone doesn’t listen to the news or even watch television. So what is the solution to the problem of celebrity? Martel fails miserably in giving a solid answer or even an ounce of an idea about how this can be accomplished.

Martel also could’ve done well to dismiss the anti-religious commentary and comparison in his article as not to offend thousands of Christians or God loving people who appreciate the good work NBC has finally decided to do. My wish is that more people watch Three Wishes and are inspired to act in a manner that is helpful in building up, rather than tearing down. Martel might want to watch the show to learn a few lessons from those celebrities he has criticized for doing good. That’s the example to follow and only the beginning of the solution, for him who has eyes to see.
Edited: PC

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About Stacy L Harp

  • lg

    It’s the New York Times; what did you expect?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Who is Amy Grant?

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Some Christian singer who I thought was an outcast from the religous right for being too mainstream.

    Man I can’t believe I know so much useless crap.

  • http://www.blogforbooks.com Stacy L. Harp

    Amy Grant
    Amy Grant has sold over 25 million records worldwide, won five Grammys and numerous Dove Awards – including “Artist of the Year” four times – and has performed everywhere from the White House to the Grand Ole Opry. She has had 10 Top-40 pop singles and 17 Top-40 adult contemporary tracks, as well as a string of contemporary Christian chart-toppers. Her tours have consistently played to sold-out arenas, and her songs continue to find their place across radio formats.
    Grant has taken Christian music and her positive message to a wider audience and broader platform than any other artist in the contemporary Christian genre. She was the first contemporary Christian artist to have a platinum record, the first to have a #1 pop record and the first to perform at the Grammys. Yet her greatest accomplishment may have been opening the door for a flood of other artists in pop as well as rock to sing about faith and soul and family and still grasp stardom.

    The youngest of four daughters, Grant was born in Augusta, Georgia, but grew up in Nashville in a strong Christian home that instilled faith and family values and nurtured their youngest daughter’s creative gifts. By the time she was 16, Grant had released her first album and was well on her way to becoming one of the dominant voices in contemporary music.

    Grant’s 1991 album, “Heart in Motion,” has been certified quintuple platinum, signifying sales of more than five million copies. The project spent 52 weeks on Billboard’s Top-200 album chart, spawning four Top-5 hits including “Baby, Baby,” which topped both the Billboard and R&R charts simultaneously. This classic song was recently featured in the soundtrack of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. One of the most highly lauded musical releases of 1991, “Heart in Motion,” garnered four Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Female and Album of the Year.

    Since the release of “Heart In Motion,” Grant has released two Christmas albums, including the triple platinum “Home for Christmas,” as well as three pop records, “House of Love” (1994), “Behind The Eyes” (1997) and “Simple Things” (2003). Other recent releases include her pop compilation “Greatest Hits 1986-2004” and “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith,” her second collection of hymns following her 2002 “Legacy…Hymns & Faith.” In addition to her musical endeavors, Grant also appeared in the TV movie, “A Song From The Heart,” and hosted her own Christmas special in 1999 with guests Tony Bennett, 98 Degrees, and Cece Winans.

    In her spare time, Grant participates in several charities, including “Make-a-Wish” Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Challenge Aspen, the Parseghian Foundation and Compassion International. She has hosted benefits for the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, the American Heart Association and the Nashville Symphony, and has participated in celebrity golf tournaments benefiting various causes.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    It’s not too late to add that useful info to the actual text of your post here, Stacy. Although I love the doubled beginning of your comment addendum. I think a skilled vocalist could sing it to the theme song of the old Spider-Man TV show:

    “Amy Grant,
    Amy Grant,
    has sold over 25 million records worldwide,
    won five Grammys and numerous Dove Awards,
    catches thieves, just like flies!
    Look out!
    Here comes the Amy Grant!”

    Or… maybe not.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    What are Dove Awards?

    (Let’s see if mild sarcasm works the second time around. This comment should help)

    You’re pissed that someone doesn’t like the Amy Grant show, is this what I’m getting. Did you think everyone would?

    Your examples are poor. i’ll just go with this one: traveling ministry, with revival tents pitched in a different small town every week

    How in the world of all that’s holy – is that, as you say, insulting.

    It’s a description. It also happens to be accurate of at least some revival tours. Right? I’ve talked to a few as a reporter when they’ve come through. They talk about hitting a lot of towns in a very few days. One or two days here, one or two days there.

    Maybe I’m misreading something in your post?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    PS. Dr. Phil is a show designed to help people and I can’t stand it.

    I have not seen Three Wishes. So I reserve judgment.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    And don’t forget this part too, from
    a new “article here.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Scratach that omment which will make evne less in the morning.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Scott, with all due respect, Temple “the king of typos” Stark says, slow down on the typing.

    :-)

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Heh. I tried to do a link too late in the nite.

    Ok, one last try on article that mentions what she omits, namely Grant’s fall from grace in the

    Ok, here someone else do it:

    http://new.crosswalk.com/fun/music/1352052.html

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    It sounds to me like the NYT reviewer has more trouble with the concept of the show than with Grant or the show itself. Those two things are not necessarily one and the same.

    In Grant’s defense (and defense of a show I have not seen), I don’t think this show sounds any more contrived than any of the other ‘non-scripted’ shows on network TV.

  • http://pewview.mu.nu Warren

    I haven’t watched the show, so I won’t comment on it. I’ve never liked Amy Grant — of course, it was for other reasons than her being “too mainstream.”

    I want to write her a letter:
    Dear Amy,

    My wife and I were both recording artists, and while I was far more talented, she had better PR and a better career. We grew apart professionally and personally. Finally, she started running around on me with some country musician. She left me and our kids to marry him.

    My dream is that I can get my career back, and that our kids can get their mom back.

    Signed,
    Gary

    The inside joke, for those who don’t know, is Amy’s ex-husband is Gary Chapman. He is actually more talented than she is, but chose to play for the smaller Christian audience rather than try to cross over. He got hosed, because Amy decided she wanted to be married to someone whose popularity equaled her own.

    IMHO, of course.

    Temple, the Doves are Christianity’s version of the Grammys. They are just as commercialized, just as political, and they ignore a lot of good music, just like the Grammys.

  • http://livefromblogdahd.blogspot.com/ demabloggery

    Amy Grant divorced her husband for no Biblically-justifiable reason
    and married Vince Gill, country music singer, on March 10, 2000.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    What would you consider a “biblically-justifiable” reason for divorce?

  • http://newsuccess.org Amy Grant

    This comment is from The Amy Grant. Well, you may consider me The Other Amy Grant, but as far as I’m concerned, I am The Amy Grant.

    These comments seem like a lot of chatter about something no one really cares about. (The “Who is Amy Grant” is what caught my eye.) But that’s just the opinion of another Amy Grant.

    This on the other hand, is worth reading. And it’s by Amy Grant.

  • nwokpeach

    Thank you, Comment 13! About time people started talking about, or reminding people just WHO Amy Grant really is!

  • grant ferretti

    hey

  • Christian Woman

    Here’s a letter for you, comment 13:

    Dear Warren, thank you putting all of the blame for the failure of our marriage on my ex-wife.
    As we both know, my publicly admitted cocaine and marijuana use, my affairs, and my rumored physical abuse of Amy, had nothing at all to do with the break-up.
    Hypocritically yours, “Gary Chapman”

  • http://AmyGrants Karen Teems

    Why the big fuss? I like the show, 3 wishes, it makes me feel good to see others helping others.If you dontlike it dont watch it, and if you dont like Amy, find someone else on another channel that you do like. Is it so hard to except there are still good clean family shows on TV.

  • Lorraine

    I dont know why people would argue about a show that helps other people in need. I look at 3 wishes every Friday and am very moved by the stories. The show has nothing do personally with Amy Grant. Its all about granting three wishes to persons who come forward and make request. I watched it with my children and they love the show too. Why people are angry, beats me. It all easier to see someone else faults while covering your own.Those who critisize Amy Grant for choices she made in her life must be perfect people. “He that is without faults cast the first stone”.

  • Ben Ross

    To Comment #21 – Thank you! You couldn’t have been more right!

    To Comment #13 – Get your facts straight and learn more about it before you go criticizing someone.

    I Like Amy Grant. Nobody Is Perfect. I don’t know why we are criticizing Amy Grant for being human?? That’s dumb. Thanks…Ben Ross

  • Dee

    three wishes..
    i have just watched an episode about the cooleys, blind nicole and the girl with the firefighters..

    i’m from the philippines, so it’s probably a back episode or the show is probably off-the-air now..

    all i know is that..i want to be like amy grant
    -able to touch lives..

    you watch this type of program..
    and you say..”why the hell do they have to air it?
    can’t you just help people without being a show-off..”

    it doesn’t matter what comments there are about amy grant or nbc for that matter..

    but broadcasting the hopes and dreams of ordinary people..
    having other people or companies making these dreams possible..
    having a country that is not as desolate as our asian nations..

    gives one — more hope, strength, faith and love
    that somehow..things will get better..

    i’ve been crying the whole time the show was airing
    now..i feel blessed..i feel hopeful..
    and i feel i have to do something..

    i will do something to make this world a better place

  • JSH

    Wow. What a series of tangents!

    The show was great, Grant’s great but just won’t admit she had an emotional relationship with Gill before her divorce, Chapman is not “more talented” than Grant (He wrote one hit song, has an adequate voice, and is afflicted with a face only his mom could love) and was a druggie for most of their marriage, Grant has never publicly stated her reasons for divorcing him out of a. class and b. fear of embarassing her kids.

  • maggie murphy

    Why would anyone stay with an abusive husband who is a person addicted to cocain and other drugs. God doesn’t want anyone of his children beaten and abused – especially by the protector of his family. It was really big of her to accept all of the blame for her children – her poor kids and Vince. She is an honorable and successful person, and by the way the show “Three Wishes” was not about Amy. It was about people in need.

  • Curtis Bridges

    My Christmas Wish

    My name is Curtis Bridges. I am 50 years old. I have been happily married for 32 years.
    On March 17, 1999, while working as a superintendent for a large underground utility contractor out of Denver CO (Texas Division) I suffered a “Giant Basilar Aneurysm” requiring emergency surgery and leaving me paralyzed. Coming out of surgery and after a month in “ICU” the only movement I had was the ability to blink my left eye.
    Originally being from Jefferson City, MO and having two sons and many relatives there, I was flown back to MO, by an air ambulance for eight months of extensive “inpatient therapy” and one year of “outpatient therapy” where I regained partial use of my left hand and learned to talk again (though not very well). So here I sit, today confined to a wheelchair. I was fortunate to be left without any “memory loss”.
    All this time, my wife has stayed by my side and through her unyielding love has been able to get me out of bed and into my wheelchair every morning and back to bed every night. She has done this without concern of what it could be doing to her own body.
    Recently, she has been having hip and back problems. My wish for her is a rechargeable ceiling lift as used in many nursing facilities. This would not only help her by saving her from not putting so much strain on her back and hips, but on her health in general.

    Thank you, and Merry Christmas
    Curt Bridges

  • Anonymous

    If the program were still on, I would ask Ms. Grant to set up a meeting between me & Kathleen Sebelius. I want to meet Ms. Sebelius someday. I admire her a lot because she is very caring, is immersed in Latin, & reminds me of a nice lady I met a few years ago that treated me like family even when I had just met her.

  • Dave

    I was a DJ at a contemporary Christian station and I must say Gary Chapman is freakishly talented. His solo stuff like “Sweet Glow of Mercy,” “Treasure,” “Sweet Jesus’ and “Love is a Name,” “Sincerely Yours,” not to mention “Father’s Eyes” are phenomenal. He is an ace guitar player and has a wonderful voice. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ill-informed. He has written #1 country songs for other artists as well as writing with Amy. It’s true he has subastance abuse issues (never heard physical abuse before)and it’s unfortunate their union didn’t work out. I hope Gary execises his demons for everybody’s sake. I like Amy too, but she is nowhere near as talented as Gary.

  • Cathy

    It makes me feel good to see others helping others.If you don’t like it don’t watch it, and if you don’t like Amy, find someone else on another channel that you do like. Thank you for the information that you share.

  • http://www.moyersonline.com Stephen

    I don’t know why people would argue about a show that helps other people in need. Its all about granting three wishes to persons who come forward and make request. Thank you.