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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Rock of ages?

Contemporary Christian music carries the message of faith to millions--but few inside our church sing its praises

With her frosted curls and silver nose ring, Joan Osborne is an arresting presence on MTV as she sings, "What if God was one of us?" Against a propulsive rock beat and ringing guitars, she croons, "Yeah, yeah, God is great. Yeah, yeah, God is good."

Rapper Coolio's 1995 mega-hit, the grim Gangsta's Paradise, paraphrased the 23rd Psalm. One of today's hottest young rock groups, Jars of Clay, is Christian.

Religion in mainstream pop music still isn't as prevalent as sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But spirituality is on the rise. Contemporary Christian music, or CCM, is the fastest growing form of popular music.

Most Lutherans have yet to embrace this music as a viable means of ministry and outreach, leaving others eager for a closer look.

"Contemporary Christian music is an extraordinary way to bring the message of Jesus Christ to youth where they are," says David Hood, assistant to the bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Synod in Atlanta. "I don't believe Lutherans think the only way God speaks to us is through stuff that was written 200 years ago by Bach."

(Article continues and includes a sidebar: "Contemporary Christian music for beginners.")


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