Young “Evangelical Youth Culture: Christian Music and the Political”

July 4, 2012

Young, Shawn David.  2012. Evangelical Youth Culture: Christian Music and the Political.  Religion Compass 6(6): 323-338.

Abstract: Evangelical Christianity has become a powerful force in American popular media and the political arena. The reason for evangelicalism’s rise to prominence has been widely researched. Contemporary manifestations of popular evangelicalism remain connected to a mythology that can be traced to one of many expressions commonly associated with the American counterculture of the 1960s, specifically a revival of conservative Christianity known as the Jesus Movement, a new way of expressing Christian belief that largely targeted American youth. Today’s youth (not unlike youth in every generation) continue to seek identity. For the most part, the media paradigm that emerged during the 1970s and 1980s evolved into a parallel universe of evangelical culture, which operated as chief purveyor of both evangelical belief and identity. The result was a groundswell of new activity as the evangelical culture industry rallied around new, popular ways of expressing Christian belief; the most compelling example has been contemporary Christian music. This essay will focus primarily on Christian music as a potential causal agent in the lives of evangelical youth, and considers how these youth are formed by music while also challenging how popular music represents evangelical belief and identity.

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