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Broken Hallelujahs: Why Popular Music Matters to Those Seeking God
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 ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Brazos Press
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I got this book last summer in a small bookshop in England. And I'm so glad I found it. It's an excellent analysis of Christian interactions with pop culture. Christian Scharen outlines the importance of interaction with culture for the Christian life. The case studies in the book are powerful and really highlight how art and faith are tied together. Although Scharen is prone to getting a little off-point in order to expound on his personal favorites, the history of pop music that he presents is ...more
I’m very glad I read this book. Though I think the title is deceiving (I love Leonard Cohen’s song “Broken Hallelujahs” though). It is much more a book about popular culture than it is just about popular music. It is a thoughtful and theological reflection on God’s presence in the world, our lives, and our cultures. His stance, his foundation, is a solid one - that offers a critique at those who will not seriously engage with popular culture (he does not do so without critique). It is a challeng ...more
This work is an exceptional theological argument for engaging "with" instead of "at" popular culture! The anti-dualistic viewpoint is based on the premise that God created the whole earth and we constrict imagination when we checklist segments of society as "Christian" and "non-Christian". Scharen carefully navigates through a well-informed series of examples including C. S. Lewis, U2, Leonard Cohen, Kayne West, Billie Holiday, Arcade Fire, Harry Potter and many others. Chapter 4, "Cries", was o ...more
Ever wonder why you find God just as much in Mumford & Sons as in Jars of Clay? This books shows in theologically clear language why God does not just like and use "Christian" music (and movies and tv shows) in people's lives. It also helped me put language to why sometimes "Christian" music feels so flat and spiritless. This book inspired me to think about daring to do something like this in my congregation - perhaps looking for God in Mumford & Sons or even Downton Abbey? If you ever h ...more
Christian Scharen (PhD, Emory University) is vice president of applied research at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, New York. He has authored a number of books, including One Step Closer, and is the book review editor of Ecclesial Practices.