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Idol Chatter

greatdebaters2.jpgYou hardly need to be told that Denzel Washington is the son of a minister—it’s in the booming authority of his voice, and in the sense we have, from his complete absence in the tabs, that he’s a bit of square. In her interview with Denzel on NPR this week, Terry Gross tries to connect these dots, but Denzel isn’t interested in a dot-to-dot portrait of his faith. His career itself is a ministry, he says in the NPR interview, echoing the thoughts he shared with us last week in an interview with Beliefnet editor Michael Kress, and he shows he’s every bit as capable of giving a sermon as his father.


“Whatever success I have is the direct result of my faith in God,” he tells Gross. ”It’s not hanging out with the right people. It’s not any studying or training. It’s a gift from God. We all have it. The question is not what you have, but what you’re going to do with what you have.”
This is all more than Gross bargained for. (Maybe she should have prepped by reading our Beliefnet interview with Denzel last month.) Denzel is comfortable discussing his exploration of Buddhism or how he came to appreciate his character Malcolm X’s conversion to mainstream Islam, and so is Gross. But whenever she goes near his Christian faith, Gross gets a comeuppance, as when she asks if he still attends Church of God in Christ, his father’s denomination. “Yes,” he answers simply. “Is that because it has special meaning because of your father?” “It has meaning because it has meaning, as it does for thousands of other followers. I believe in the Scriptures.” Gross responds with a station break.
The interview is here. The spiritual talk begins about minute 27, but if you want to know the proper pronunciation of “Denzel,” start a few minutes earlier.
And don’t miss Michael Kress’s interview with this man of faith, along with audio soundbytes from Denzel himself, all available for your reading and listening pleasure here.

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