Worship across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation  -     By: Gerardo Marti
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Worship across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation

Oxford University Press / 2012 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Many scholars and church leaders believe that music and worship style are essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Gerardo Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners, as well as his experiences participating in worship services in a wide variety of Protestant, multiracial Southern Californian churches, to present this insightful study of the role of music in creating congregational diversity.

Worship across the Racial Divide offers a surprising conclusion: that there is no single style of worship or music that determines the likelihood of achieving a multiracial church. Far more important are the complex practices of the worshipping community in the production and absorption of music.

Multiracial churches successfully diversify by stimulating unobtrusive means of interracial and interethnic relations; in fact, preparation for music apart from worship gatherings proves to be just as important as its performance during services. Marti shows that aside from and even in spite of the varying beliefs of attendees and church leaders, diversity happens because music and worship create practical spaces where cross-racial bonds are formed.

This groundbreaking book sheds light on how race affects worship in multiracial churches. It will allow a new understanding of the dynamics of such churches, and provide crucial aid to church leaders for avoiding the pitfalls that inadvertently widen the racial divide.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 0195392973
ISBN-13: 9780195392975
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Many scholars and church leaders believe that music and worship style are essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Gerardo Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners, as well as his experiences participating in worship services in a wide variety of Protestant, multiracial Southern Californian churches, to present this insightful study of the role of music in creating congregational diversity.

Worship across the Racial Divide offers a surprising conclusion: that there is no single style of worship or music that determines the likelihood of achieving a multiracial church. Far more important are the complex of practices of the worshipping community in the production and absorption of music. Multiracial churches successfully diversify by stimulating unobtrusive means of interracial and interethnic relations; in fact, preparation for music apart from worship gatherings proves to be just as important as its performance during services. Marti shows that aside from and even in spite of the varying beliefs of attendees and church leaders, diversity happens because music and worship create practical spaces where cross-racial bonds are formed.

This groundbreaking book sheds light on how race affects worship in multiracial churches. It will allow a new understanding of the dynamics of such churches, and provide crucial aid to church leaders for avoiding the pitfalls that inadvertently widen the racial divide.

Author Bio


Gerardo Marti is L. Richardson King Associate Professor of Sociology at Davidson College. He is author of A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church (2005) and Hollywood Faith: Holiness, Prosperity, and Ambition in a Los Angeles Church (2008).

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  1. Jordan
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Surprising, Insightful -- On Race, Worship, Music
    September 15, 2011
    Jordan
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Church leaders believe worship is key to congregational diversity. Through stories and vignettes from a wide variety of Protestant multiracial churches and interviews with over 170 of their members - including church leaders, church musicians, and regular attendees - Marti's book moves away from assumption and speculation to examine how music and worship actually 'works' in diverse congregations. The findings here are surprising, and VERY different from what most church leaders, workshops, and popular books say.

    And yet -- Even when misguided worship practices based on faulty racial assumptions accentuate rather than relieve the pervasive racial tensions, worship *does* bring people together. This book shows how genuine relationships happen through music, worship, and liturgy.

    Overall, this is an important book that provides an intriguing lens for how race continues to affect religion, even when religion attempts to overcome it.
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