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Faith, God and Rock & Roll: How People of Faith Are Transforming American Popular Music [Paperback]

By Mark Joseph (Author)
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Item description for Faith, God and Rock & Roll: How People of Faith Are Transforming American Popular Music by Mark Joseph...

The world of popular secular music, embraced by so many youth, is too often marked by purposeless rhetoric. On the other hand, some Contemporary Christian Music can seem overly-optimistic and disconnected from the lives of younger Christians who have grown up in a culture that breeds cynicism. But there is a middle ground, and Mark Joseph has found it. In Faith, God, and Rock & Roll, this entertainment expert profiles the surprisingly long list of bands and artists who signed with secular labels but still make music that speaks of faith in God. Among the topflight acts he writes about are Jars of Clay, Lenny Kravitz, U2, Creed, Lauryn Hill, Sixpence None the Richer, Destiny's Child, Lifehouse, and P.O.D. This book is sure to be a favorite of Christian music lovers who don't want to limit their music libraries to the CCM market, parents who want to give their children alternatives to much of the secular music that is available to them, and anyone interested in the backgrounds and unique stories of popular music artists in America today.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Books
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.67 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 2004
Publisher   Baker Books
ISBN  0801065003  
ISBN13  9780801065002  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > History & Criticism
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Contemporary Christian
3Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Popular
4Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Rock
5Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Pop Culture > Music > General
6Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Pop Culture > Music
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Faith, God and Rock & Roll: How People of Faith Are Transforming American Popular Music?

3.5 stars - I can't give it full points  Apr 21, 2007
Mark Joseph wrote a book with one point in mind: Christians, particularly in the music world, should be salt and light to the world, rather than insulating themselves in the church/Christian realm. He has included brief biographies of many well known musicians - U2, Alice Cooper, Lenny Kravitz, Lifehouse, Jars of Clay, Gary Cherone (of Extreme and Van Halen fame), Lauryn Hill, and more, to show us that it is possible, even desirable, for Christian musicians to infuse the popular culture with subtle messages of hope and love. I enjoyed reading all these profiles, which included many musicians' views on faith. However, I have a few objections to the book.

1) The thesis, while in part true, ignores one major consideration. Just as in the church, there needs to be preaching (witnessing/introduction of the gospel) and teaching (education for those who already believe), so too is there a need for Christian musicians in the secular realm, and others to remain in the "CCM" world. Joseph seems to be criticizing musicians for not venturing out into the world, and being satisfied with the bubble they are living in. I, however, applaud musicians who recognize the need to minister to those who already believe, and remain in the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) scene.

2) As far as writing itself goes, Mark Joseph is average, at best. I did not want to keep on reading because of the writing style, but rather because of the musicians he featured towards the end (Dashboard Confessional and U2, to name a few). I tolerated the chapters that focused on musicians I didn't know, simply because I wanted to be more informed. I was sorely tempted to just skip them over, though.

Anyways, this book is not anyone's attempt at Pulitzer Prize-winning literature. Joseph is writing this because of his love of rock music, and as a gift to others who love it like he does. Definitely an enjoyable read, though it does not necessary merit a second perusing.
Review for Faith God and Rock and Roll  Jan 17, 2007
It was pretty good. I would also include more even testimony of failure, for this reason. If you paint a picture that everything is perfect, and leave out what is not, you could be seen as being willing to omit details to make your point. This is a flaw that is recognizable in different cults. But, if you lay out everything exactly as it is, it is much more difficult to deny that there is something of value in the testimony of the ones who were successful in living for Christ. Like, the Bible includes Saul, Judas and Demas, alongside Peter, Paul and David. But, insdead of Saul and Judas and Demas discrediting God, they prove the value of what Peter, Paul and David really had in God.
FAITH, GOD, AND ROCK + ROLL gets rave reviews!!  Sep 22, 2005
Mark Joseph excels as a writer! The content and selected persons and details that he uses in Faith, God and Rock
...sometimes as imbalanced as the fundies he critiques  Sep 20, 2004
This book has its merits. Mark Joseph loves rock music and has some great insights and biographical gems on the bands (some famous, some less well-known). As a result of reading this book I think I added about 10 albums to my wish list.

Joseph's central thesis is also well-argued: Christian musicians are better off remaining in the mainstream of teh musical culture, rather than allowing themslves to be exiled to the ghetto of "Christian music." Once they are labeled CCM, they lose most of their potential aduience, they lose the freedoms to be creative, and they are now subject to the whims of a sub-culture that is even more banal and artless than that of secular pop music. Joseph makes a good case for this.

Baker has packaged the book decently enough too, though it suffers from a lack of an index.

Where this book disappointed me:
1. The writing. While at times Joseph shows the ability to soar, most of the time its pretty cliched and workmanlike. His style on its own did not keep you reading.

2. At times Joseph is just as one-dimensional as the fundamentalists he (rightly) critiques. For example, his loyalty to rock is such that he is unable to serious grapple with critiques like those of folsk like Charles Colson or Nancy Pearcey, who wonder whether the music's style inherantly appeals to the emotions over reason and thus has some limitations. Joseph seems incapable of both loving the music and at the same time acknowledging its potential weaknesses.

Another example of this -- Joseph is eager to defend certain musicians' right (against ham-handed fundy's condemnations) to be less than orthodox and ask questions in their music. But can he not do that while also critiquing their theology. So Joseph will celebrate such-and-such musicians' proclamation that the God they celebrate in their songs is not the Christian God or a Muslim god or any other god, but the 'god I see when I look in my child's eyes, the god of nature...' It seems to me that Joseph is not taking these bands seriously enough in sometimes being uncritically affirming of all they say and do.

Anyway, this was an enjoyable, thought-provoking read, even though I found it a little disappointing.
The Rock Rebellion Revisited  Jan 9, 2004
As far as I can tell, this is the same book as Faith, God, and Rock and Roll, just a later edition by a different publisher with a different cover. Baker Books added the subtitle and dropped the tatoo cover in favor of this more nondescript one for its 2004 printing. But it leads to mix-ups, and in some this site ads, they seem to be two different books, even being sold together for a special price. (So get one or the other version, but not both).

This book is a follow-up to Mark Joseph's The Rock and Roll Rebellion (which also had a long subtitle), which profiled a number of artists to make the point that they'd be better off staying in the musical mainstream rather than getting shuttled off with the misleading label of "Christian Rock" artists, a nearly universally derided term, or even worse, "Contemporary Christian Musicians" or CCM for short, named, again misleadingly, for a magazine called CCM.

That thesis also underscores Mark Allen Powell's Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Christian Music, which is similarly critical of the CCM subculture. The point is more obvious in Powell's original title, Parallel Worlds, A Critical View of Popular Christian Music (which was changed by the publisher to the present title which implies uncritical acceptance of this "parallel world."

Both books share their thesis with another book that wasn't primarily about music at all, Bob Briner's Roaring Lambs. In one way, these three books hook together. Joseph was both inspired and encouraged by Briner, and rather than bemoaning the sad cul de sac in which many artists find themselves, Powell in his book is bringing these artists' achievements out for assessment in the common light of day. Both Joseph and Powell are effectively treading new ground: not only acquainting us with "new" artists and music we may have missed, but at the same time giving us great rock writing.


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