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Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll: My Life on Record (Experiences in Evangelicalism) Paperback – November 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1608993277 ISBN-10: 1608993272

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Product Details

  • Series: Experiences in Evangelicalism (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608993272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608993277
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,688,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joel Heng Hartse is a PhD student and graduate teaching assistant at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He has written about music for a number of publications including Christianity Today, Image, Killing the Buddha, and Beliefnet.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Gibson on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
While not the in-depth outside look into Christian music culture that Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rockwas, rock critic Hartse's book is more an first person narrative of why someone would listen to Christian music in the first place. The way the essays are structured, the book reads like a memoir, which works for the material, as Hartse falls in love with Christian music, struggles with how to stay relevant listening to wildly cultural irrelevant music, and falls in love with his future wife, all the while wrestling with the music of his young adulthood. It would probably help to have some experience with evangelicalism to get some of the references, but anyone who had their high school and college years defined by seeing shows in small venues, trying to track down albums, and making mixtapes will get something from this well written enjoyable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chad Thomas Johnston on December 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
As the son of a minister, I grew up listening to CCM as if it were the only music to exist in all the world. Earning $1 a week in allowance, I saved up for 10 weeks so I could buy Carman's 1985 album, "The Champion." I was rabid for that record. Some years later, I discovered Nirvana's "Nevermind," and then Radiohead's "OK Computer."

My little CCM world had become a bubble with a permeable membrane, and outside influences were threatening the exclusivity of my devotion to Christian music. At age 33, I recognize CCM as a musical subculture of its own, like the British punk movement in the '70s or the shoegazer movement in the late '80s/early '90s. My CCM records now rest comfortably alongside my secular records, making my collection truly post-modern.

Joel Heng Hartse's book perfectly captures what it was for me to grow up as a CCM junkie. His writing is witty, insightful, and irreverent (which prompted one reader in a forum somewhere in a dark corner of the Internet to write, "Gee, I just don't know if the author of this book is a Christian at all. He uses swear words!" Gasp!). He writes as an unwavering music obsessive who has lived a life parallel to that of Rob Gordon in Nick Hornby's record-store-clerk manifesto, "High Fidelity." The passion is palpable. The stories are personal and memorable.

That being said, if you grew up listening to any CCM whatsoever--be it "mainstream" acts like Petra or Carman, or underground acts like The Prayer Chain (my all-time favorite band as a teenager) or Sixpence None the Richer (who went on to experience a mainstream, flash-in-the-pan success that completely blinded the world to the artistic integrity of the band's back catalog) - this is a book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookfiend on August 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a section of our religious culture that grew up in the 90's, profoundly affected by music. Better yet, there's a section of us who grew up in the 90's, open to faith and yet still insisting that art and music within that culture should be GOOD, if not the best. This is a book about the triumphs and troubles within such an ideal, and what those of us who lived it came away with. "Christian music" is a ridiculous bird - one that informed, confused, angered, and inspired me as a teenager. Having a deep-rooted experience in it at such an impressionable age seems an odd and singular experience. While Nirvana was blowing up MTV (and we could see the merit), our guitar heroes were trying very hard to keep up, and though not always doing so musically, said something different, and somehow simpler. What was longer lasting, in our minds? And that's not to say that there weren't GOOD "Christian" bands at the time. It's just that maybe they were only noticed by such a small portion of the culture. And that's what Hartse is here for. He catalogs all the stuff I'd almost forgotten, and I'm glad he did. When you finally meet someone who has similarly survived youth group music culture in the 90's, the rarity, these days, must be similar to what vets share in experiences not many understand. This is the first book I've ever read that's put a voice to a large part of my childhood. I don't think it's been done before. And I'm glad it's on record.
An earnest, intelligent, and hilarious book that I've recommended to many people. Remember Joy Electric? Seven Day Jesus? The Prayer Chain? This book is a gift to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matt Staniz on August 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having come of age to the sounds of "Christian rock," it is a part of my personal pop culture. It was great to find a kindred spirit that both loves and sees through the illusions of Contemporary Christian Music. Great stories. Great music criticism. Great faith memoir.
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