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Faith, God, and Rock + Roll
Mark Joseph
Baker Book House
254 pp.

A sort of a sequel to his The Rock and Roll Rebellion, Mark Joseph’s Faith, God, and Rock + Roll furthers the premise that there are quality musicians that happen to be Christians, and that their witness as well as their careers are best served if they operate outside of the “Christian” market.

Joseph examines a plethora of musical styles, researching the career paths of Hard rockers such as Creed and P.O.D., “newgrass” artist Nickel Creek, emo demigod Chris Carrabba, formerly of Further Seems Forever, and now of Dashboard Confessional, and current r&b standouts Destiny’s Child, among others.

Some compelling arguments are made a la the Bob Briner (Roaring Lambs) school of thought, i.e. “why should ‘Christian’ musicians try to sell their music to a secular market?”  The answer, of course, is detailed here, but it can be summed up in one sentence: “How else to reach a larger audience who needs to hear a positive message?”

U2 is held up as the role model for bands seeking to follow this format, but Joseph has done his homework rather than relying on just that one example. He speaks of such seemingly unlikely sources as MTV’s Carson Daly, Jessica Simpson, Alice Cooper, Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen, Tribe of Judah), and Lenny Kravitz.  He casts no judgments as to their aims or relative states of faith, but relies instead on the artist’s lyrics and interviews to allow the reader to draw their own conclusion.

Faith, God, and Rock + Roll serves as an overview to many modern performers, and their methodology.  There is enough new information to keep the casual music follower interested, and it should help parents who are concerned about their childrens’ CD collections.  More importantly, though, it illustrates the concept of being “salt and light” in a fallen world, and offers examples of artists who have resisted becoming marginalized in the CCM ghetto.

Brian A. Smith
30 October 2004



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