Heng Hertse gives a conversational personal history of his lifelong love of rock music, particularly music with one foot in evangelical Christianity and one foot out There are a lot of references that will appeal to those who know the Contemporary Christian Music CCM subculture, but as someone who doesn t really know that world, I found it endearing regardless He does well in capturing the can t leave can t stay ambivalence that comes with growing up in a religion that presents both shortcomings and gifts I can also relate to the feeling that it s easier to evangelize about music and art than about faith I am wired for Christianity and I am wired for popular music, and the stuff that most moves me, that has really taken over my life, is the stuff that blends the two I know that I only understand these things when I write about them. If This Book Moves, I Hope It Moves In The Way Pop Songs Do There Will Be A Lot Of Talk About Songs, But Inasmuch As This Is A Book About Listening To Music, It S Also About How Listening To Music Makes Us Who We Are, Or At Least About How It Makes Me Who I Am, And So It Is An Exploration, An Idiosyncratic And Opinionated And Particular One, Of A Self Shaped By The Oddly Intersecting Forces Of The American Evangelical Protestant Church And The American Popular Music Scene I Don T Mean For That To Sound Hoity Toity If This Were Fifteen Years Ago, I Would Say That This Book Was About Christian Music, And I Would Know Exactly What I Meant My Purpose Now Is Not Only To Talk About Christian Music I Am Not Here To Explicate Christian Music, To Explain Why It Exists And Whether It Is Any Good Instead, Think Of What You Re About To Read As Like An IPod Playlist, A Collection Of Essays And Thoughts On Listening To Music And Having Faith And How They Have Made Me, And A Lot Of People Like Me, And Maybe You Also, There Will Be Some Jokes About Stryper From The Introduction If You Can Name The Exact Musical Connection Between Michael W Smith And Sufjan Stevens, Then You Don T Need To Read This Book But You Can T Do That, Can You None Of Us Can But Joel Hartse Can, And He Does That Kind Of S On Every Single Page I M Pretty Sure He Knows Everything Plus, He S Witty And Wise I Can T Imagine A Better Book On The Weird World Of Christian Rock Patton Dodd Author Of My Faith So Far A Story Of Conversion And Confusion Part Personal Narrative And Part Cultural History, Joel Heng Hartse S Musical Memoir Is A Lovingly Written Ode To All That Is Weird And Wonderful, Disturbing And Divine About The World Of Christian Rock Conversant In Everything From White Town To Rebecca St James, Radiohead To Michael W Smith, Hartse Provides A Richly Observant, Nostalgic Document Of The Shaping Artifacts And Sonic Ephemera Of His Evangelical Youth His Book Paints A Picture Of The Recent Past That Will Be Funny, Poignant, And Therapeutic For Anyone Who Grew Up In A Similar Milieu Brett McCracken Author Of Hipster Christianity When Church And Cool Collide Joel Heng Hartse Grew Up During An Era When Christian Rock Was Actually Kind Of Decent, But He Was Never Shy About Exploring All Music He Emerged Equal Parts Jesus Freak And Music Geek His Memoir Is Utterly Charming But Seriously, Dude, Genesis Andrew Beaujon Author Of Body Piercing Saved My Life Joel Heng Hartse S Travels And Travails Through The World Of Rock And Roll Spiritual, Secular, And All Those Artists Who Aim To Land Somewhere In Between Add Up To Something Like A Lesson In Music History But Mostly, It S A Warm, Witty, And Downright Entertaining Trek Down One Man S Memory Lane, A Lane Lined With Insight, Humor, And, Of Course, Just Enough Love And Sects To Keep The Pages Turning Joel Knows Music, And After Reading This Book, You Ll Feel Like You Know Joel And That S A Good Thing Mark Moring Pop Culture Editor, Christianity Today There S So Much To Love Here Nostalgia Tempered By Wry Humor A Slice Of Rock And Roll History Rich In Detail Yet Anchored In Emotions We All Share A Series Of Tart But Ultimately Generous Insights Into The Foibles Of A Religious Subculture Joel Hartse S Memoir Is A Postmodern Pilgrim S Progress, The Story Of A Young Man In Search Of Truth And Beauty, Rendered In A Voice That Is At Once Self Deprecating And Heartfelt This book is for those of us who grew up in evangelicalism in the 1990s and early 2000s or anyone else who wants a glimpse into evangelical culture It s hilarious and profound Heng Hartse is spot on with his reflections on Contemporary Christian Music, being in an evangelical bubble, and going to a Christian college back then I could relate so well to so much of this book and I look forward to rereading it. Joel offers a critique of the evangelical subculture, here, laced with love and humor While I lived in the CCM fan experience 15 20 years earlier than Joel, still I enjoy his asides and his arguments with himself and his history More fun than I thought it would be The questions at the end are SO hilarious. Personally, this is closer to a five star for me, but only because Hartse s life has mirrored my own chronologically As a fellow child of 90 s Christian rock, I could relate to so much of what he experienced and thought, as though everything were an inside joke I cannot imagine anyone not living through similar experiences would find this book quite as engaging. Seriously, 5 stars. You kind of have to be an evangelical to get this book Specifically one who came of age in the youth group subculture of the 90 s, even specifically one who devoured CCM Contemporary Christian Music in its indie varieties That s a pretty layered and dense specificity, but I can heartily say that s me Or maybe I m just trying to sound cool.Hartse is a music nut and chronicles his early personal history in terms of CCM albums, much like I am and often do At some point I have owned or heard music by almost every band Hartse mentions, and there were very few emotions and epiphanies he discusses that didn t bring to mind my own experience I recalled the time I blasted Starflyer 59 s silver album on my Sony boom box quite loud, and my mother said it sounded demonic to which I replied in sincere confusion But it s Starflyer 59 He called to mind my own determined patience and unspoken disdain for the awkward evangelism we often begrudgingly shoved into our CCM rock shows And I remembered my own process of rethinking the entire Christian music paradigm, how it is inherently confusing and problematic to label creations and products with a belief system, and how the logic behind this kind of labeling eventually breaks down I also remembered how much I loved and still love so many of those bands and so much of that culture and am still part of it , in spite its stubborn naivet and shortsightedness.What I liked best about Sects is Hartse positive tone and treatment of his history, even while bringing forth valid criticism of evangelical culture While the cheesiness and borderline fear mongering often extant in youthful evangelical experiences can lead to a hardened cynicism for many later in life, the author has not landed there He gladly pulls the wheat from the chaff, choosing to keep and praise the good parts while also exploring an awareness and avoidance of the bad That s good advice for anyone looking to examine and make peace with any personal history, especially twenty and thirty something evangelicals of such stated specificity.Oh, and his Discussion Questions section at the end of the book is priceless and hilarious, I laughed out loud But you d have to be an evangelical to get that, too. There was a time in my life when I loved some cringeworthy, vomitously awful music I will love this Christian ska band above all other bands forever, I thought, at age seventeen I was wrong.Fortunately, Joel Heng Hartse went through the same phase and wrote about it and made it funny, interesting, and even enlightening Maybe the whole purpose of all that terrible art was so that I could read this book and laugh my head off Who knows In any case, it was worth it.
Joel Heng Hartse has written music criticism for Paste, Geez, Blurt, Christianity Today, Beliefnet, the Inlander, etc.
- Kindle Edition
- 200 pages
- Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll (Experiences in Evangelicalism Book 2)
- Joel Heng Hartse
- 10 October 2018 Joel Heng Hartse