Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll
My Life on Record
By Joel Heng Hartse
“If this book moves, I hope it moves in the way pop songs do. There will be a lot of talk about songs, but inasmuch as this is a book about listening to music, it’s also about how listening to music makes us who we are, or at least about how it makes me who I am, and so it is an exploration, an idiosyncratic and opinionated and particular one, of a self shaped by the oddly intersecting forces of the American evangelical Protestant church and the American popular music scene. I don’t mean for that to sound hoity-toity—if this were fifteen years ago, I would say that this book was about Christian music, and I would know exactly what I meant. My purpose now is not only to talk about “Christian music.” I am not here to explicate Christian music, to explain why it exists and whether it is any good. Instead, think of what you’re about to read as like an iPod playlist, a collection of essays and thoughts on listening to music and having faith and how they have made me, and a lot of people like me, and maybe you.
Also, there will be some jokes about Stryper.”
—From the Introduction