Academic journal article The Hymn

Your Neighbor's Hymnal: What Popular Music Teaches Us about Faith, Hope, and Love

Academic journal article The Hymn

Your Neighbor's Hymnal: What Popular Music Teaches Us about Faith, Hope, and Love

Article excerpt

Your Neighbor's Hymnal: What Popular Music Teaches Us About Faith, Hope, and Love by Jeffrey F. Keuss. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2011. x, 139 pp. ISBN 9781608993697. $17.00.

Keuss, a professor and associate dean at the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University who has also served churches in the Seattle area, believes the gospel message of faith, hope, and love can be found in popular music as readily as in the songs sung in church. In his introduction, he explains that this idea grew out of his pastorate in a downtown Seattle church where the music of bands like Nirvana was used as often as praise choruses. Pop music, he claims, has the capacity to produce "spiritual engagement as profound as a burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, or a Damascus Road experience."

Keuss surveys the work of forty artists and bands, ranging over a broad spectrum of styles-R & B, grunge, hip-hop, and classic rock to name a few-and from the mid-sixties to the present. Individual essays on the artists and their songs are grouped in chapters under the titles of "Faith," "Hope," and "Love." He attempts to show that these works provide the same path to spiritual understanding and growth as the songs of the church.

Unfortunately, he doesn't provide evidence of that meaningful, life-changing spiritual engagement for our unchurched neighbors. His essays focus more on his relationship to the music than on how the gospel message works on others through the selected songs. …

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