Counterculture — not subculture

If you haven’t yet read my post on the three genres of Christian music, please do so now. You’ll need that context for this brief post to make sense.

Although it’s clear that Jay Howard is biased towards the transformational genre of Christian music, I think that what he has to say about why he prefers it is interesting, even though, of course, it is not as successful as the other two genres (in terms of listeners and sales).

Daniel Radosh is interested in that as well and asks him why:

For Howard and other fans of transformational CCM, its special appeal is in its potential to be, as the name suggests, transformative. “I think there’s a legitimate indictment of the church today, it’s that we’re subcultural rather than countercultural. A subculture, sociologically speaking buys into the vast majority of the values of the surrounding society but tacks on its own things…We don’t challenge the materialism of our culture. We don’t challenge the self-indulgence in our culture.” (169)

I have both integrational and transformational tendencies/aspirations that both conflict and overlap. But I think this quote deserves some thought in relation to Mormon culture.

The three genres of Christian music

I’m finally getting around to processing my notes on Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture by Daniel Radosh. One of the most interesting sections deals with the Christian music industry and various opinions over what is and isn’t acceptable in the industry. Radosh interviews Jay Howard co-author of Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music. Howard identifies three types of CCM* fans: separational, integrational and transformational.

According to Radosh, “the breakdown [into these three groups] is not along aesthetic style lines, and any of the CCM camps can accommodate pretty much any musical style.” Rather, the three groups are each defined by their views of popular culture and the relationship between their work and the larger culture. I’ll outline the three genres and then provide a bit of analysis in relation to the Mormon market. Continue reading “The three genres of Christian music”