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Book Jacket

256 pages
Jan 2004
Baker Book House

Faith, God, and Rock + Roll: From Bono to Jars of Clay: How People of Faith Are Transforming American Popular Music

by Mark Joseph

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


What music would Jesus listen to? It must be Rock & Roll, so why not learn more about the artists who say that He influences their music. In Faith, God, and Rock +Roll, Mark Joseph tackles many controversies that surround the ‘Christian-but-not-Christian-rock” phenomenon.

According to Joseph, musicians who sign with known Christian labels significantly limit the scope of their audience, being lumped into the tainted genre of gospel. Those who want to engage people who really need the gospel, have stepped out of the Christian subculture and have become pariahs in the process.

Some of the over 25 artists profiled include Bono, Sixpence None The Richer, Jars of Clay, Lenny Kravitz, and Jessica Simpson. Joseph takes the reader through the careers of these self-proclaimed believers, primarily defending their actions, but occasionally wondering out loud about contrasts between declarations of faith and observable actions.

One such musing he makes concerns Destiny’s Child, a top R&B group: “Whether combining virginal talk with skimpy outfits and suggestive lyrics was God’s plan or the plan of a street-smart manager who understood the confused culture he was trying to sell products to was a matter of debate. Still, Destiny’s Child would continue navigating its way through a brave new pop culture which people of faith found themselves thrown into.”

For those who enjoy the Rock & Roll music scene, Faith, God, and Rock + Roll may provide insight into favorite performers. Others may enjoy the inevitable discussion and debate that will result from reading this provocative collection of mini-bios. Whether agreeing with the premise or not, the reader will be forced to think through his position on faith within secular Rock & Roll. -- Stacy Oliver, Christian Book Previews

Book Jacket:

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 and disconnected from the lives 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 AND ROLL, this entertainment expert profiles the surprisingly long lists 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 POD.

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. "Mark Joseph is a conscious writer with a love for music that moves both Heaven and Earth." --Lonn Friend, Rock Journalist, Fmr. Editor, Spin Magazine

"As Christian artists influence pop culture as never before, leave it to Mark Joseph to not only spot the phenomenon, but document it in painstaking detail. This book picks up where 'Rock and Roll Rebellion' left off. A must for brave believers who, in the spirit of Christ, want to understand and engage the wide world rather than shrink from it." --Lou Carlozo, writer, editor, Chicago Tribune

"There is an undercurrrent of profound spiritual content in popular music. Faith, God, and Rock-n-Roll is a riveting guide through the many spiritual influences of my favorite artists. This is a must read for anyone who is spiritually and culturally aware." -- Chris Seay

"An engaging read about engaging culture. Mark Josephs makes the case for musicians who rock our world while shaking up conventional ideas about whether or not "people of faith" should be immersed in mainstream culture." -- Jody Hassett, ABC News

"If you have ever wondered about God's concern for the rock and roll industry and the millions of lives it encircles, you cannot find a better resource than Mark Joseph's FAITH, GOD & ROCK & ROLL. His experience and knowledge are evident in every chapter of this informative and engaging book. I'm greatly encouraged to see the way that God is at work outside the bubble of my own religious subculture. Thank you, Mark." --Chuck Smith Jr., Author, The End of the World . . As We Know It

"Can Christian musicians effectively approach the thriving places of rock and roll with Godly passion, and cultural relevance? In the face of continued debate, Mark Joseph provides us necessary fuel to perpetuate this important dialogue." -- Dan Haseltine, lead singer, Jars of Clay

"An intriguing view of a significant and under-reported segment of the popular music industry. Mark Joseph writes with the knowledge of an insider but never loses his big picture perspective on values and culture." --Michael Medved, radio talk show host, author, Hollywood vs. America

"It's easy to assume that rockers who feel equally at home in the secular and spiritual arenas are still a rare and isolated breed. But Mark Joseph shows just how commonplace this phenomenon has become right under our noses, concentrating not just on the usual suspects (U2, Creed, P.O.D.) but also some lesser-known lights (Dashboard Confessional, Pedro the Lion). And he's not afraid to ruffle feathers among those who would marginalize this music, be they gospel partisans who want to claim it for their own ghetto or old-school rockers desperate to keep 'the devil's music' unstained by God-fearing upstarts." --Chris Willman, senior writer, Entertainment Weekly

"Mark Joseph continues his contribution to pop culture with his expert analysis of the integration of Christian faith and music. Ten years from now we will read about a world-renown music superstar who read this book as a young unknown artist, and found courage to bypass the relative safety of Christian music for the challenge of the world's stage. That's how essential a book like this is." --Charlie Peacock, author At the Crossroads: An Insider's Look at the Past, Present, and Future of Contemporary Christian Music

"The ancient question was "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" Today many are asking, "What does the cause of Christ have to do with rock 'n roll music? The correct answer, it seems, is "plenty!"." "The Christian presence in popular music is now enormous. Mark Joseph knows more than anybody else about the opportunities this unprecedented situation brings and the problems it creates, both for the secular people and the Christians. If you want to have a good time learning about how real faith operates in the world of rock music curl up with this new book by the man who knows the whole story, Mark Joseph." --Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial