An engaging look at the intersection of music, pop culture, and theology! Examining the work of Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Leonard Cohen, Billie Holiday, and others, Scharen weaves his own insights with those of C.S. Lewis to reveal that edgy performers are able to face suffering and brokenness because they know a love deeper than hate.
Building on the success of One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God, Christian Scharen shows how to engage faith and culture through a wide range of popular music, including the blues, hip-hop, and rock. He examines artists such as Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Leonard Cohen, and Billie Holiday, offering a fresh, compelling theology of culture in conversation with C. S. Lewis that can look suffering and brokenness in the face because it knows of a love deeper than hate, a hope stronger than despair. Written engagingly yet with theological depth, this book will resonate with readers interested in the interface between pop culture, music, and theology, as well as with pastors and youth ministers.
Christian Scharen (PhD, Emory University) is assistant professor of worship and theology and codirector of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has authored a number of books, including One Step Closer and Faith as a Way of Life.
"The realm of popular music, like much in pop culture, is often written off as bleak and godless. Scharen pleads that this is the result of a 'constricted imagination,' and rightly so. This very readable book will provoke discussions that are much needed in the church and beyond.
Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke University
Christian Scharen's theological meditation on popular music shows why Christians and popular artists have serious spiritual concerns in common. He argues that pop musicians are already literate about the creative character of surrender in their lives and work, and that Christian theology too finds its center in graceful surrender to God with and for others. Fans of music and students of spirituality will and should be drawn in by the work of this discerning, inquisitive theological thinker and unapologetic--but not uncritical--music fan.
assistant professor, Fordham University