Pastors without Soul

The Story of American Music can teach Christian leaders a lot about the importance of developing personal depth in a culture obsessed with image.

Modern music was born out of a collision of cultural influences that occurred on the fringes of American society around a century ago. Slaves, many coming via the Caribbean, used a fusion of traditional African rhythms, the call and response pattern, and Christian hymns to create Spirituals, or Black Gospel music. This music became a way of communicating their suffering and hope for deliverance from slavery. Irish migrants who fled famine and poltical strife in their homeland, and who faced widespread racism upon their arrival in the United States, communicated their sense of cultural dislocation through Irish Ballads. Jewish refugees fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe, brought to America Klezmer music, itself a fusion of Yiddish and Roma (Gypsy) musical cultures, a way of two of Europe’s persecuted minorities to through music, express the pain that centuries of marginalization and misunderstanding brought.

These musical styles smashed up against each other in big cities such as New York and mutated together in the deep South to give birth to Blues and Jazz, which in turn gave birth to Rock and Roll and Hip Hop and almost everything great that came after.

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