Encouraging Creative Combinations
Pop Music and Theological Invention
Paperback: Baylor UP, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Adam P. Newton
To the uninitiated, the term “mashup” probably doesn’t sound too appealing, and when applied to the context of theology, it would seem especially spurious and dangerous in certain ecclesial circles. However, the average pop music fan would define the term “mashup” as such: a new song that combines material from two different songs, often from different genres, with the purpose re-introducing those original songs to the listener by providing fresh energy in an inventive context. Typically, these mashups fall into one of two primary categories: 1) the lyrics from one popular song (whether pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, etc.) are laid atop the musical hook from another popular selection, usually to charm a wide range of people; or 2) the lyrics from a well-known track are combined with the hook from a lesser-known song, often attracting folks who listen to music outside of the musical mainstream.
Thus, the beauty of John McClure’s new book – Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention – is in how deftly and intelligently he creates a powerful metaphor wherein he directly and positively teaches how theological practitioners in the 21st century have much to learn from their music-making contemporaries. Continue Reading…