Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen [Featured Review]

January 20, 2012


Broken Hallelujahs by Christian ScharenThe Life that Comes from God.

A Review of

Broken Hallelujahs:

Why Popular Music Matters

to Those Seeking God

Christian Scharen.
Paperback: Brazos Press, 2011.
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Reviewed by Sam Edgin

There is a dark chasm between the sacred and the secular within culture, or did you not know? The Christian sub-culture insists it must exist, because culture is full of evil and we are not to associate; and the secular culture is content with that assertion, because Christian popular culture is usually terrible anyway. However, a full 78 percent of Americans at this point in history identify as Christian[1]. If popular culture – the secular kind, that is – can rightly be called “popular,” then a fair sample of these American Christians, a massive majority of the population, are immersing themselves on the other side of the chasm.

Really, this isn’t that difficult of a concept to rationalize. Culture is, after all, something that we all must live in and interact with. This Christian subculture that tries so desperately to separate itself from everything else is just that: a SUBculture, a part of the larger whole. There isn’t much of a chasm. It’s little more than a paper wall.

While this is a discussion of many parts, that which often rises to the forefront is our choices in the media we consume. In Broken Hallelujahs: Why Popular Music Matters to Those Seeking God, Christian Scharen, professor of worship and theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, argues against this forced, and even imaginary, separation of media into the good and the bad, the Christian and the Non-Christian. He proposes that “there is no truly or completely ‘secular’ culture or arena of human life if you believe that God is the creator of heaven and earth,” (21).

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