Ethics and Christian Musicking

The relationship between musical activity and ethical significance occupies long traditions of thought and reflection both within Christianity and beyond. From concerns regarding music and the passions in early Christian writings through to moral panics regarding rock music in the 20th century, Christians have often gravitated to the view that music can become morally weighted, building a range of normative practices and prescriptions upon particular modes of ethical judgment.

In both contrast and complement to such traditions, recent scholarship has sought to interrogate music’s ethical potential in new ways, emphasising the significance of the diverse ways in which music is employed in relation to different situations and structures. As studies of Christian musicking have moved to incorporate the experiences, agencies, and relationships of congregations, ethical questions have become implicit in new ways in a range of recent research - how do communities negotiate questions of value in music? How are processes of encounter with a variety of different others negotiated through musical activity? What responsibilities arise within musical communities? This volume seeks to open out this conversation, asking how ethical perspectives can be brought to bear on a range of experiences and activities.



Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Music and Ethics in Contemporary Christianity (Mark Porter and Nathan Myrick)

The Body and Beyond

  • Praise, Politics, Power: Ethics of the Body in Christian Musicking (Marcell Silva Steurnagel)
  • The Silence of the Monks—The Ethics of Everyday Sounds (Marcel Cobussen)
  • Delay, or, When Breath Precedes Encounter: Aesthet(h)ic(al) negotiations in black gospel’s Afro-Asian crossings (Bo kyung Blenda Im)

Fulfilling Responsibilities and Negotiating Values

  • “That Worship Sound”: Ethics, things, and shimmer reverberation (Jeff R Warren)
  • Amateurism-without-Amateurishness, or Authenticity as Vanishing Act in Evangelical Worship Music (Joshua Kalin Busman)
  • Music Business, Ethics, and Christian Festivals: Progressive Christianity at Wild Goose Festival (Andrew Mall)
  • The ethics of adaptation in hymns and songs for worship (Maggi Dawn)

Identity and Encounter

  • “Hillsong and Black”: The Ethics of Style, Representation and Identity in the Hillsong Megachurch (Tanya Riches and Alexander Douglas)
  • A Worship-Rooted Lifestyle? Exploring Evangelical Ethics at Bethel Church, Redding, CA (Emily Snider Andrews)
  • Applied Ethnomusicology in Post-Mission Australian Aboriginal Contexts: Ethical Responsibility, Style and Aesthetics (Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg)
  • Singing Together as Global Citizens: Toward a Musical Ethic of Relational Accompaniment (Maren Haynes Marchesini)

Valuing the Self

  • Deceitful Hearts and Transformed Lives: Performing Truth and Truthfulness in Fundamentalist Christian Vocal Music (Sarah Bereza)
  • Beyoncé Mass and the Flourishing of Black Women (Tamisha Tyler)
  • Ethics, Experience and Western Classical Sacred Music (Jonathan Arnold)