Singer and recording artist Stanley Porter has written a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s love at work in his life. In Every Song Has a Story, Porter takes readers on a deeply personal journey that is honest, relevant, and hopeful. My prayer is that, through hearing the author share that he trusted God and received help, readers also will grow in trust and feel their suffering lifted.
I learned of this book because the author and I were high school classmates. We both grew up in Boston during the 1980s and 90s, and witnessed the traumas caused by violence, drugs, and poverty in our communities. The gangs and guns were not on my block, but I knew the pain of hearing the news and fearing that a classmate was lost to a stray bullet. When I read Porter’s chapter on those struggling with addiction, and the words from the gospel of Luke that God has sent Jesus “to heal the brokenhearted,” my tears flowed. My own heart continues to break from the violence and poverty in our communities, and I am grateful for those who are called to work in a healing capacity with people who are hurting.
In each chapter, after sharing his own testimony on a particular topic, Porter draws upon the riches of the Bible to further encourage readers. He shares stories of Joseph, Daniel, David, and the prodigal son to help us remember we are not alone in our struggles. It is powerful to have someone say, “I was in a place of darkness and my prayers were answered.” Through his honesty, Porter goes beyond pious language or feel-good sentiments. Clearly he does not wish merely to evangelize, but to truly reach hearts that are suffering.
I found the testimony of healing from the wounds of racism extremely compelling. Personally, I pray for more honesty in all our religious communities regarding racism, and I offer praise when I hear of congregations working toward restoration in this area. While I was lucky to grow up in one of Boston’s more integrated neighborhoods, the pain of racism was ever-present. In this past year I had a memorable opportunity to worship at an AME church in my old neighborhood, where my pink skin put me in the minority. I was welcomed warmly by those who shared my pew, and invited to visit with fellow worshipers. While I know that worshiping side by side is only the beginning of healing, I was grateful to be present among a congregation that strives to heal racial divides at all levels, working for peace and social justice inside the church and throughout the community.
The songs mentioned in this book come from Porter’s popular recording “Square One,” produced by his 4:12 Records Inc. Most recently Porter was the featured artist at the Haley House’s Summer Gospel Jamboree and he was nominated for an Angelic Award this past April (for Best Artist). This September he will be starting as the Chapel Team Music Director at Eastern Nazarene College. Stanley Porter is currently consulting and performing throughout the Northeast.
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Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this review are my own. No fee was received for this review.