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The pastoral role of Contemporary Christian Music: the spiritualization of everyday life in a suburban evangelical megachurch

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Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), popular music featuring evangelical Christian lyrics, is one of the most widely consumed forms of commercial entertainment for America's 70–80 million white evangelical Christians. CCM is an excellent lens through which to examine the complex interactions of religious faith, community sentiment, and popular music practices in the contemporary US. I explain how CCM performs the ‘pastoral’ task of reinforcing Christian faith in an evangelical megachurch in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I argue that a monthly concert series not only guides evangelical Christians in their ‘walk’, but also helps constitute the flock by building a sense of community. I suggest three spatial analytics to understand CCM's pastoral role: the place of the suburb, the sacred space of the church coffeehouse, and the body. At all three scales of analysis, the musical and religious practices of CCM at one suburban church spiritualize the everyday lives of the participants.
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Keywords: Christianity; Cristianismo; banlieue; christianisme; communauté; community; comunidad; everyday life; las afueras; music; musique; música; religion; religión; suburb; vida cotidiana; vie de tous les jours

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anthropology,Colorado State University, C-207 Andrew G. Clark BuildingFort Collins,CO,80523, USA

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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