September 18, 2018

"The profound sacred and spiritual meaning of the great music of the church must never be mixed with the transitory quality of rock and roll music."

"The former serves to lift men’s souls to higher levels of reality, and therefore to God. The latter so often plunges men’s minds into degrading and immoral depths."

Wrote the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1957, in Ebony magazine, where he was writing as an advice columnist and answering a question from a 17-year-old who said he played gospel music and rock ’n’ roll" and wanted to know if that was okay. MLK said the 2 forms of music were "totally incompatible."

Quoted in "The Unlikely Endurance of Christian Rock/The genre has been disdained by the church and mocked by secular culture. That just reassured practitioners that they were rebels on a righteous path" by Kelefa Sanneh (The New Yorker).

83 comments:

Michael K said...

I don't think he would like rap but then who cares ?

Oso Negro said...

Is there Christian rap? Lord, please don’t let me know.

Paddy O said...

The spiritual and the aesthetic often go hand in hand, but they're also often confused for each other.

stever said...

People can screw up the most "ideal" ways to have a good spiritual relationship or they can find it in the depths of an otherwise miserable and degrading place.

Gahrie said...

Is there Christian rap?

I beat my bitch,
I shot a cop,
I smoked a joint,
praise Jesus.

Kay said...

Paddy O said...
The spiritual and the aesthetic often go hand in hand, but they're also often confused for each other.


It’s very hard for me personally to see this distinction.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm a church organist and choir leader, and I love sacred music, both the classical and hymn versions.

I've played in every kind of popular music band... rock, blues, gospel, jazz, folk, etc.

In retirement, I restarting a career as an accompanist for classical choral groups. The music is just about all sacred.

Music is the voice of God. The four part chorals written by JS Bach are the foundation of all choral, church and popular music. He was probably the greatest human who ever lived. And he was the organist and choir leader of one of the great Lutheran churches in Leipzig. Martin Luther once preached at his church.

How can any musician sever his work from its sacred foundations?

jwl said...

Faithless - God is a DJ:

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurts
It's in natural grace
Or watching young life shape

buwaya said...

I guess there was a reason I always despised guitar Masses, and Kumbaya.
They actually did sing Kumbaya in Catholic schools.
Not quite in my time, but certainly after.

Bay Area Guy said...

@ST,

"Music is the voice of God. The four part chorals written by JS Bach are the foundation of all choral, church and popular music. He was probably the greatest human who ever lived. And he was the organist and choir leader of one of the great Lutheran churches in Leipzig. Martin Luther once preached at his church."

Good stuff, ST.

As for the distinction between Church music and the Devil's music (Rock N Roll), the thought at the time was that the former was focused on love, while the latter was focused on sex.

This transition had already been made in our culture when I came of musical age, and began taking piano lessons, so, Yes, I raised on Rock N Roll. But, I have to say, when I played piano (badly), in that sea of sex, drugs and RockNRoll, I do recall some powerful and soothing emotions when learning how to play Scott Joplin songs, Maple Leaf Rag, etc, etc.

It felt good, man.

Shouting Thomas said...

The sacred and profane form an essential duality within the human spirit.

Without both, we are only partially human.

Earnest Prole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Earnest Prole said...

Pops and Mavis Staples beg to differ.

wild chicken said...

"The four part chorals written by JS Bach are the foundation of all choral, church and popular music"


He seemed a man of his times. He might have been Irving Berlin or Burt Bacharach in a different era.

Perish the thought.

Unknown said...

Christian Rock is disdained and mocked because it is largely terrible. Christian messages and rock music go together quite well (see P.O.D.s Alive), but most Christian Rock and Christian Contemporary artists don't seem to try. The genres have a reputation for forgettable music and lyrics that don't scan well.

I suspect that is because in many of the modern protestant and evangelical traditions, prayer is more important than presentation; any prayer, even one that is badly put together, is a good prayer. By contrast the classical choral composers (and their patrons) felt that if the words were meant to glorify God, so should the music that carried them. Were Christian Rock written with that attitude, I think it would have a different reputation.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Paddy O said...

The spiritual and the aesthetic often go hand in hand, but they're also often confused for each other.

Some of the girls in internet porn are aesthetically pleasing. I'm pretty sure they're not spiritual, no matter how many times they say Oh God!

Rob said...

Who did MLK Jr. think he was--Mike Pence?

Shouting Thomas said...

Christian rock in evangelical churches survives because it gets young people in the pews.

Every other church is slowly dying. Their congregation wants the church to be available for ceremonial purposes on holidays, for weddings and funerals, but few people want to attend services and tithe.

My sister is pastor of an evangelical church that features a big stage and sound system. The young people stream into that church to sing and dance, to see themselves on the big video screens and to hear the Gospel.

It works. It seems to be the only thing that works. The Protestants tried gay and female clergy and that completed the task of emptying out their churches. The Catholic Church has taken a huge hit from the pedophile priest scandal. Over the summer attendance at Mass declined almost overnight by 25%

So, Christian rock works. Christianity survives.

mccullough said...

I doubt King actually wrote that. Probably a ghost writer. Or maybe he plagiarized it from the guy next to him.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Christian Rock/The genre has been disdained by the church and mocked by secular culture. That just reassured practitioners that they were rebels on a righteous path"

That's exactly what I despise about religious people: They're just like those they hate.




The Crack Emcee said...

Gahrie said...

"Is there Christian rap?"

I beat my bitch,
I shot a cop,
I smoked a joint,
praise Jesus.


I was going to show you some Christian Rap that's deep and meaningful, but, after that, nah - you can have Gahrie instead.

Shouting Thomas said...

That's exactly what I despise about religious people: They're just like those they hate.

As I said, my big sis is pastor at one of those evangelical churches that feature Christian rock, and she doesn't consider herself a rebel or hate anyone.

She's a very competent pastor who tends to her flock. She and her husband (both of whom are very well to do) have spent their lives doing missionary work in various parts of the world. And by that, I don't only mean preaching the Gospel. I mean they help people to improve their standard of living, learn job skills and receive adequate medical care.

The Crack Emcee said...

Christianity produces people like Gahrie:

Negativland - Christianity Is Stupid

Wa St Blogger said...

Like most articles from the New Yorker, a discussion about a culture it knows very little about is full of dreck. The descriptions and characterizations are about as stained as it claims the lyrics are in the music. I have been listening to Contemporary Christian Music since 1982 and I find that it has a wide range of styles and quality. I find much of it repetitive and trite, but still nice to listen to at times, but then, I like Country music, so there is that.

When the article conflates bands with christian singers as if that made them christian bands, makes no sense. When you have 75% of the US population claiming to be Christian of some sort, why would it be unusual that some of them were lead singers of popular bands and what does that have to do with the genre of Christian rock? Heck, there are a lot of Christians that are in the K-pop genre.

Where do they get the idea that Christian music is "subsidized" by parents who buy music and tickets for their kids? Are you kidding me? Kids are the last people who will listen or attend anything their parents wanted much less music they disdain. Music sales are driven by the teens, and they are very particular about what they buy.

I might agree that there are tight restrictions on Christian music. Something that touches on a specific topic with tight doctrinal restrictions will have a limited room to work, but there are tight restrictions in lots of genres. Country music is restricted too. And with Christian music being a tight, limited format, it follows that some of the less quality music will be produced to fill the ranks of the airwaves and music venues to meet the desire of the population.

The Crack Emcee said...

Chumbawamba: We don't go to God's House Anymore

Driving on the bypass to Damascus
I saw a preacher trying to hitch a ride
With a pair of broken wings
And a suitcase full of sins
He gathered up his dreams and jumped inside
Pulling Malatesta from his suitcase
He lifted up his voice and began to sing
'My hymns of desperation lead to action...
And this is where the serious fun begins.'
We don't go to God's house anymore
Saw the light and walked right out the door
We don't go to God's house
It's more fun in the dog house
We don't go to God's house anymore

Fernandistein said...

Without both, we are only partially human.

Is that your pro-abortion argument?

Or maybe he plagiarized it from the guy next to him.

ABBA

Ann Althouse said...

"I doubt King actually wrote that. Probably a ghost writer. Or maybe he plagiarized it from the guy next to him."

Maybe King didn't write any of his stuff. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?

The Crack Emcee said...

Randy Newman - God’s Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)

Cain slew Abel Seth knew not why
For if the children of Israel were to multiply
Why must any of the children die?
So he asked the Lord
And the Lord said:
Man means nothing he means less to me
Than the lowliest cactus flower
Or the humblest Yucca tree
He chases round this desert
Cause he thinks that's where I'll be
That's why I love mankind

Ann Althouse said...

If he was moonlighting part-time as an advice columnist for Ebony, where would he get the money for a ghostwriter. Or do you think he just sold his name to the magazine and they wrote the column?

But the New Yorker is famous for fact-checking... Wouldn't it tell us if that wasn't MLK? The whole point of beginning the article with that quote is that it's MLK, MLK said that.

Was I conned?

Ann Althouse said...

Most amazing religion and rock verse that I've heard:

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe King didn't write any of his stuff. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?"

No. As I've kept saying, "white" people only know that "content of their character" line anyway, so it wouldn't make a difference to them one iota. Their devotion to his ideas, being authentic, is what would be weird, since they don't even know what his ideas are.

Their deception, today, to themselves and everyone else - claiming he's a great man without knowing a thing about him - that's just good ol' fashioned normal white folks lying, I guess. As you say, just their "normal" way of life.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oh - and "white" people only know that "content of their character" line because they think it's ammunition against blacks - in other words, still being racist until the end.

Shouting Thomas said...

Most amazing religion and rock verse that I've heard:

And people say that stereotypes are not founded in reality.

What egghead feminist professor doesn't quote that verse?

Anthony said...

Christian Rock is disdained and mocked because it is largely terrible.

I've tried listening to it, but it's just unimaginative with trite, predictable lyrics.

Which pretty much describes most popular music today.

Then again, I remember when Jesus Christ Superstar came out and everyone was all up in arms that it was blasphemy and stuff. Listening to that a few times was really the first time I got the Passion and what it was all about. Even parts of it today make me choke up. There's a lot of rock/pop music that's not all about the crotch too.

I recall a story about either radio or the telephone being introduced in the Islamic world -- unwillingly, at first -- until someone took a mullah (or whatever) aside and had him listen to religious text on it and decided that "If it can carry the word of God, it is not evil".

Shouting Thomas said...

@Anthony

I suggest you listen to the Outlaw channel on Sirius radio. Some very good country rock. I switch between that and the classical station.

Popular music has gone into a rut because it's almost impossible for musicians to make money from writing and playing music.

A new paradigm that musicians can control and profit from has to be created.

gahrie said...

Christianity produces people like Gahrie:

I'm not a Christian.

The Crack Emcee said...

gahrie said...
Christianity produces people like Gahrie:

I'm not a Christian.

I said it produced you, you moron.

Shouting Thomas said...

Christianity produced us all.

It's in our DNA.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Blogger Shouting Thomas said...
Christian rock in evangelical churches survives because it gets young people in the pews."

That is exactly right. I grit my teeth and bear what sounds like easy listening with God in it because the students absolutely love it. They throw a bone to us older people now and then with a real hymn. Nice of them.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Christian Rock is disdained and mocked because it is largely terrible. And the same can be said of pretty much every artistic endeavor. Sturgeon's Revelation* is iron-clad.

"I repeat Sturgeon's Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms."

-- Theodore Sturgeon

*This is often referred to as "Sturgeon's Law;" however, Sturgeon himself said that Sturgeon's Law is "Nothing is always absolutely so."

gahrie said...

I said it produced you, you moron.

It produced you too, you racist motherfucker.

The Crack Emcee said...

gahrie said...

"It produced you too, you racist motherfucker."

I'm a foster child, moron - nobody raised me - I just watched you fools get indoctrinated.

Earnest Prole said...

Most amazing religion and rock verse that I've heard

Everything but the final line was ghostwritten by Moses.

Shouting Thomas said...

@Crack

What would make you happy?

Do you want to be happy?

The Crack Emcee said...

What kind of Christian music represents true belief as I understand the term because I don't hear/see too many examples of that.

And MLK was a man who, apparently, didn't know much about music: JFK FILE: FBI MONITORED MARTIN LUTHER KING'S 'ABNORMAL' SEX LIFE OF ORGIES, HOOKERS AND JOAN BAEZ

Sebastian said...

"Maybe King didn't write any of his stuff."

Well, Dr. King did plagiarize his dissertation, so there's that.

But about some things he had good judgment.

EDH said...

"All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood."

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas said...
@Crack

What would make you happy?

That the people around me would learn what matters: CONSCIOUSNESS
Psychiatrist Who Survived The Holocaust Explains Why Meaningfulness Matters More Than Happiness


Do you want to be happy?

No, I want to be normal, but y'all don't want to be (Do you see Chinese people being "happy"?) you want to be goofy in the head. And I don't mean like "drugs", I mean like "stupid". You want your kids to grow up in a world where you tell them the dead live on in a better place with Jesus - but wear seatbelts anyway. You've constructed a madhouse. That's why I rail about homeopathy - it's a symbol of how far it's gone - and that, now, for 200 years.

I was born outside of it. Maybe that's why I see it for what it is, and aren't comfortable in any of it, but it's coming apart now. That makes me happy. It would be better just to destroy the bad parts, but the stupid can't do that, so it all comes down, higgly-piggily, as each "side" blames the other for committing the same outrages. That's at least funny.

Unknown said...

"And the same can be said of pretty much every artistic endeavor. Sturgeon's Revelation* is iron-clad."

True. However, when they make 'Best Of' compilation albums they generally pick the 10% that is good (or at least sellable), and Best of Christian Rock albums are still full of bland and forgettable songs. Which is to say, even setting aside the 90% that is crap, the genre still has glaring flaws.

Big Mike said...

I used to eat in a little cafe that played Christian rock exclusively. Some of it wasn’t half bad.

The Crack Emcee said...

L. Ron Hubbard sings "Thank You for Listening"

William said...

I'm not particularly knowledgeable about music or religion, so the following observations are probably a crock: I like Bach's religious music better than that of Bernstein or even Mozart. You get the sense of the majesty of God rather than the beauty of music. In the same way, I like hymns sung by Allison Kraus, Ethel Waters, or Emmy Lou Harris better than those sung Bob Dylan or Elvis Presley. Leonard Cohen is okay, but he's more about seeking God than the presence of God.

The Crack Emcee said...

I live in a country that has lied to me about almost everything - small things and large - why, even Sesame Street has lied to me for my entire life:

TRUTH IS OUT ‘Bert and Ernie WERE gay’ says Sesame Street writer as he finally ends speculation about the live-in couple

Why anyone would expect me to be "happy" growing up in such a dishonest environment, with such dishonest people, is beyond even my imagination.

narciso said...

yes Mozart is probably overrated, as compared to bach or even handel, they've been complaining about the nature of praise music, for an awfully long time going back to the 16th century,

Shouting Thomas said...

JFK FILE: FBI MONITORED MARTIN LUTHER KING'S 'ABNORMAL' SEX LIFE OF ORGIES, HOOKERS AND JOAN BAEZ

Give MLK some credit. He liked to have a good time.

etbass said...

I can identify with Freeman as I am an old head who likewise must tolerate contemporary music that doesn't hold a candle to the traditional glorious hymns.

I have tried and tried to get used to the contemporary music. The lyrics are completely fine and even edifying. But the problems I have are these:

The contemporary music is new (relatively) and so much of it is not time tested and will be discarded very soon. The traditional hyms have survived the cut for centuries and proven themselves to be glorious. The poor traditional hymns have already been discarded.

With contemporary music, there is no score made available to the congregation and with many new pieces that have never been heard by the congregation, they really can't sing along. So a music team using electronics cranks up the volume and basically supplies all the singing and sound with the congregation mouthing the words like a fish out of water.

So in reality there is no congregational singing.

ST is right; the new music brings in the young people. But I am not sure of their spiritual depth and wonder if the church might be stronger with fewer whose heart is really in it.

I notice the church seems to little influence any more on the public dialogue and that is behind my remark about shallowness.

Wa St Blogger said...

Is "good" Christian music the songs I like or is it the songs that more people like. Music is primarily a popularity contest. If it sells or puts people in the pews then that's what matters, right? You want something different, then reward the people performing what you like. What use is there in grousing about the people who like things you don't?

Mike Sylwester said...

I highly recommend a book titled The Fan Who Knew Too Much: The Secret Closets of American Culture, by Anthony Helbut. He spent many years socializing with and studying Black Gospel singers and musicians.

In particular, the book contains much insightful information about Black homosexuals who have created and developed much of that genre.

Mark said...

Christian rock in evangelical churches survives because it gets young people in the pews.

Then they see how hollow and empty such "praise worship" is and they start thinking it and the whole church thing is lame and they leave.

Hank Hill: "Can't you see you're not making Christianity better, you're just making rock n' roll worse."

Mark said...

Bobby Hill: When I'm 18, I'm going to do whatever I want for the Lord. Tattoos, piercings, the works.

Hank Hill: Well, I'll take that chance. Come here, there's something I want to show you. Remember this?

Bobby Hill: My Bean Bag Buddy? Oh, man, I can't believe I collected those things. They're so lame.

Hank Hill: You didn't think so five years ago. And how about your virtual pet? You used to carry this thing everywhere. Then you got tired of it, forgot to feed it, and it died.

Bobby Hill: I look like such a dork.

Hank Hill: I know how you feel. I never thought that Members Only jacket would go out of style. But it did. I know you think that stuff you're doing now is cool, but in a few years you're gonna think it's lame. And I don't want the, uh, Lord to, uh, you know, end up in this box.

Char Char Binks said...

Being judged by the content of your character -- not working out the way you wanted, huh Crack?

William said...

Did MLK have a thing with Joan Baez? I wonder how many centuries we'll have to wait to hear the tapes. I'd like to hear the story behind that, but there's zero chance Baez will write about it in her memoirs........ There's no chance any woman will ever come forward to recount her #metoo moment with MLK or any of the Kennedy's. They're as safe as Bill Cosby was in 1985 or Weinstein in 2010.

Mark said...

"white" people only know that "content of their character" line . . . they don't even know what his ideas are.
___________________


"I want to say that in all of our actions, we must stick together. Unity is the great need of the hour . . . in all of our doings, in all of our deliberations here this evening and all of the week and while, whatever we do, we must keep God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in all of our actions. But I want to tell you this evening that it is not enough for us to talk about love, love is one of the pivotal points of the Christian faith."
-- December 5, 1955

"So many people have come to feel that on their own efforts they can bring in a new world, but they’ve forgotten to think about the fact that the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. And so they end up going over and over again without God. . . . God is still around. One day, you’re going to need him. The problems of life will begin to overwhelm you; disappointments will begin to beat upon the door of your life like a tidal wave. And if you don’t have a deep and patient faith, you aren’t going to be able to make it. I know this from my own experience. . . . Don’t be a fool. Recognize your dependence on God. As the days become dark and the nights become dreary, realize that there is a God who rules above."
-- August 27, 1967

"There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger (Yes) at the side of its embattled Negroes. . . . the Negro and white masses of the South threatened to unite and build a great society: a society of justice where none would pray upon the weakness of others; a society of plenty where greed and poverty would be done away; a society of brotherhood where every man would respect the dignity and worth of human personality. . . .And so I plead with you this afternoon as we go ahead: remain committed to nonviolence. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man."
---March 25, 1965

Paddy O said...

"It’s very hard for me personally to see this distinction."

I think this is very hard for anyone. I'm not sure we necessarily need to for our own self. The challenge comes when we encounter people with different aethetics and their own spiritual experiences. Far too easy (as this thread shows) to declare their spirituality poor because we don't share their aesthetic.

The reality is that Christianity blossomed in the midst of the Roman Empire, and early Christian music had its own influences and aesthetic, as did the Jewish culture of that era--in both religious and cultural expressions.

We're now also dealing with a Christianity that is increasingly global, and will become majority non-Western within the next few decades. They have their own aesthetic and their own expressions.

Christianity is eminently translatable and contextualized, especially in its orthodox meanings. It's the heart of the early church, go into all the nations, and they hear the message and speak the message in their own tongue.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

"That's exactly what I despise about religious people: They're just like those they hate."

Hopefully you were being ironic because that would be some quality stuff. If not, well...

m stone said...

With contemporary music, there is no score made available to the congregation and with many new pieces that have never been heard by the congregation, they really can't sing along. So a music team using electronics cranks up the volume and basically supplies all the singing and sound with the congregation mouthing the words like a fish out of water.

So in reality there is no congregational singing.


True. Even if the lyrics are projected on a screen. The young folks may like it, but it's a music experience not a worship experience in a church. Like performance art. Watch the older people and their non- or awkward responses.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

"Within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good.When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person whohates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good init; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the pointthat you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls 'the image of God,' you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does,you see God’s image there. . . .
"I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strongperson is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love."
---November 17, 1957

Mark said...

"There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. . . . Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated."
-- November 17, 1957

Mark said...

"So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, "I love you. I would rather die than hate you." And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. Andthen we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us."
-- November 17, 1957

Chuck said...

The essence of Rock and Roll is sex and subversion. All of it. If it isn't about sex and/or subversion, it isn't Rock and Roll. It's country music, or the blues. Or something else.

Rock 'n Roll is sex and subversion.

Dr. King was not wrong.

Mark said...

"We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured. . . .

"With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair the stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

"Thank God for John, who centuries ago out on a lonely, obscure island called Patmos caught vision of a new Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, who heard a voice saying, "Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away." God grant that we will be participants in this newness and this magnificent development. If we will but do it, we will bring about a new day of justice and brotherhood and peace. And that day the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy. God bless you."
-- March 31, 1968 (five days before he was killed).

Mark said...

they don't even know what his ideas are

You mean the ideas just listed above?

walter said...

Chuck said... If it isn't about sex and/or subversion, it isn't Rock and Roll.
--
No.
But Christian Rock is all about one thing.
An awful lot of the same lyrics when ever I come across it on the radio.

rhhardin said...

I think of Mass in B Minor but maybe he means Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

Rosa Marie Yoder said...

Having recently moved quite a distance, I'm church shopping. I must have good congregational singing; acapella is preferred but there are no Mennonite churches in the area so I'll settle for an organist or pianist who doesn't drown out the singing.

Church #1 placed a lot of emphasis on music and relied on traditional hymns; but everyone was at least age 50, and the pastor read his sermons to us.

Church #2 was of the evangelical sort and they did an acceptable job of mixing praise & worship songs with modernized versions of hymn. The preacher gave good sermons and the congregation included all ages, but there are too many other beliefs to which I cannot subscribe.

So on to Church #3. They sang hymns, but I had no idea a piano could so effectively drown out any semblance of congregational singing... it clearly can! The lower age brackets was even higher; maybe 60 years of age? Holy cow.

So I've learned that churches who sing hymns consist of old people, although all of them do have weekly quilting groups. Soon hymn singing congregations will die of old age, I'm quite certain. Sadly.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Then they see how hollow and empty such "praise worship" is and they start thinking it and the whole church thing is lame and they leave."

You'd think, but you'd be wrong. I had to admit that myself. They stick around so much that the place is jam-packed even after adding on to the building. Church has gone from about 50 to several thousand in a little over a decade. And while I might not be in to the music, the teaching is excellent, so all those contemporary Christian music people are, at least, getting an hour of that excellence every week and walking into a healthy church culture. I can grudgingly give up the music I think is best for the church given all of that.

etbass said...

Good thinking, Freeman. If it takes contemporary music to get young people on the straight and narrow, I'm all for it. But just can't seem to get in the spirit myself.

The Crack Emcee said...

Mike Sylwester said...

"The book contains much insightful information about Black homosexuals who have created and developed much of that genre."

You can get that from the first few pages of Aretha Franklin's autobiography as well.

The Crack Emcee said...

Mark said...

"white" people only know that "content of their character" line . . . they don't even know what his ideas are.

Well, that's a first!

tim in vermont said...

As a teenager, I once played the Maple Leaf Rag on a church organ and got scolded for it. I still thought that it was funny.

mikee said...

As an elementary school kid in the late 1960s attending a Catholic parochial school, just as Vatican II kicked in and we all started singing folk hymns, I recall the pain of singing those new songs compared to those oldies and goodies.

Then on The Simpsons, years later, I watched Bart kill the organist by switching out her hymnal with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and I laughed myself silly.

mikee said...

Worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulDC1w1ydLI