Becoming What We Sing: Formation through Contemporary Worship Music

This book draws on cultural criticism, ethnomusicology, and liturgical and sacramental theology to process the deluge of the contemporary in today’s worship music.

By:
David Lemley    
Publisher:
Eerdmans, 2021

Contemporary worship music is ubiquitous in many Protestant Christian communities today. Rather than debating or decrying this post–worship-wars reality, David Lemley accepts it as a premise and examines what it means for us to be singing along with songs that aren’t so different from the pop genre. How do we cope with the consumerism embedded in the mentality that catchy is good? How do we stay committed to subverting cultural norms, as Christians are called to do, when our music is modeled after those cultural norms? How do we ensure that the way we participate in the liturgy of contemporary worship music rehearses a cruciform identity? 

Becoming What We Sing draws on cultural criticism, ethnomusicology, and liturgical and sacramental theology to process the deluge of the contemporary in today’s worship music. Lemley probes the thought of historical figures, such as Augustine, Hildegard of Bingen, Martin Luther, and the Wesleys, while also staying situated in the current moment by engaging with cultural philosophers such as James K. A. Smith and popular artists such as U2. The result is a thorough assessment of contemporary worship music’s cultural economy that will guide readers toward greater consciousness of who we are becoming as we sing “our way into selves, societies, and cosmic perspectives.”

 

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