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Many scholars and church leaders believe that music and worship style are essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Gerardo Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners, as well as his experiences participating in worship services in a wide variety of Protestant, multiracial Southern Californian churches, to present this in Many scholars and church leaders believe that music and worship style are essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Gerardo Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners, as well as his experiences participating in worship services in a wide variety of Protestant, multiracial Southern Californian churches, to present this insightful study of the role of music in creating congregational diversity. Worship across the Racial Divide offers a surprising conclusion: that there is no single style of worship or music that determines the likelihood of achieving a multiracial church. Far more important are the complex of practices of the worshipping community in the production and absorption of music. Multiracial churches successfully diversify by stimulating unobtrusive means of interracial and interethnic relations; in fact, preparation for music apart from worship gatherings proves to be just as important as its performance during services. Marti shows that aside from and even in spite of the varying beliefs of attendees and church leaders, diversity happens because music and worship create practical spaces where cross-racial bonds are formed. This groundbreaking book sheds light on how race affects worship in multiracial churches. It will allow a new understanding of the dynamics of such churches, and provide crucial aid to church leaders for avoiding the pitfalls that inadvertently widen the racial divide.


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Many scholars and church leaders believe that music and worship style are essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Gerardo Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners, as well as his experiences participating in worship services in a wide variety of Protestant, multiracial Southern Californian churches, to present this in Many scholars and church leaders believe that music and worship style are essential in stimulating diversity in congregations. Gerardo Marti draws on interviews with more than 170 congregational leaders and parishioners, as well as his experiences participating in worship services in a wide variety of Protestant, multiracial Southern Californian churches, to present this insightful study of the role of music in creating congregational diversity. Worship across the Racial Divide offers a surprising conclusion: that there is no single style of worship or music that determines the likelihood of achieving a multiracial church. Far more important are the complex of practices of the worshipping community in the production and absorption of music. Multiracial churches successfully diversify by stimulating unobtrusive means of interracial and interethnic relations; in fact, preparation for music apart from worship gatherings proves to be just as important as its performance during services. Marti shows that aside from and even in spite of the varying beliefs of attendees and church leaders, diversity happens because music and worship create practical spaces where cross-racial bonds are formed. This groundbreaking book sheds light on how race affects worship in multiracial churches. It will allow a new understanding of the dynamics of such churches, and provide crucial aid to church leaders for avoiding the pitfalls that inadvertently widen the racial divide.

45 review for Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I’m very glad I read this book. The author does a good job of sharing his research and raising questions about the implications of what he is studying. In a time when so many congregations are asking how to be more multicultural this book that actually studies some congregations raises important and thoughtful questions. This book will accompany me as I think about our work around the church. No easy answers, but he certainly helped focus my attention.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    Excellent study.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessie T

    I thought I was picking up a light read for the lay person, but this book is a very in-depth ethnographic study of worship within the context of the multiracial church in the US. The data was collected over 10 years ago now, so I suppose it isn’t reflective of the situation now. It’s also important to emphasise that of the churches that this sociologist visited, none of them had “fresh off the boat” immigrants but those who had already been in the US for at least a century. It is well written, in I thought I was picking up a light read for the lay person, but this book is a very in-depth ethnographic study of worship within the context of the multiracial church in the US. The data was collected over 10 years ago now, so I suppose it isn’t reflective of the situation now. It’s also important to emphasise that of the churches that this sociologist visited, none of them had “fresh off the boat” immigrants but those who had already been in the US for at least a century. It is well written, in that the author weaved in interviewed material with theory, drawing heavily upon Ethnomusicologist Tia DeNora’s influential research on everyday music. Since I studied her book already I skipped over a lot of the detail. He definitely wrote a lot about how people approach sung worship as well, so it wasn’t as racially-focused as I would have hoped. Quite a densely packed book which I think would have done well if there were less quotes to back points up and less repetition (or maybe I’m just an impatient reader!)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gigi S.

    This book was given to me by the goodreads First Reads. Thanks! Firstly, I have to say that I can't judge the content of this book because I know NOTHING about the topic! I'm not religious, I don't attend church and I'm not very interested in music (other then playing two instruments casually). However, I can judge how well written it is and other parts of the book :-) 1. The book is really well made. The font and the layout is easy to read and the cover is really nice. 2. It is obviously really w This book was given to me by the goodreads First Reads. Thanks! Firstly, I have to say that I can't judge the content of this book because I know NOTHING about the topic! I'm not religious, I don't attend church and I'm not very interested in music (other then playing two instruments casually). However, I can judge how well written it is and other parts of the book :-) 1. The book is really well made. The font and the layout is easy to read and the cover is really nice. 2. It is obviously really well researched and the author definitley knows their stuff. You can see from the back (where the bibliogrpahy and notes are) that Marti has done a lot of work and that he has gotten information for his book from a wide variety of sources. Obviously, this is what you want from a non-fiction book. 3. When you read the introduction you can see that Gerardo Marti is extremely passionate about this subject and throughout the rest of the book you can see the dedication that has been put into the text. However, I feel like there is some overuse of quotes in some parts. I know how this can be, when you have so many interesting quotes and sources and you want to put everything in but you really need to cut back. The quote and source ladden book is usually easy to follow and flows nicely but in some of the middle chapters the flow is interuppted by the huge amount of sources. Of course, being a non-fiction book this isn't as big an issue as it would be with a fiction book. 4. I thought this quote, from the beginning introduction, was really interesting, even when looked at outside of the church setting. In a time of iPods, satellite radio, and internet databases, musical preferences can be personlly arranged, and individuals seldom need to listen to music they do not like. People are able to create personal soundtracks for their lives. But not at church. When coming to church, individuals are "forced" to listen to a range of music they have no choice in selecting I really liked that. When thinking of it this way, it reminds me of the chapel service I attended at school today. When we sung hymns and listened to the typical music they played, it was so different to what we're exposed to in everyday life. I can see how it would be harder to get interest in church music and that aspect of religion, especially with young adults, compared to before. And after reading this book I can see that this is a huge aspect of the Christian faith and the people who attend church's lives. 5. The writing is sophisticated but not too difficult to need to a theasurus nearby. I think the way it is written will appeal to the people who want to read it which is great. 6. There are lots of little graphs and diagrams throughout the book that help explain the point of the chapter or idea. They're really fun (I really like graphs haha!) and simple to understand, a great way to represent what the text is saying. It also breaks up the writing to give the layout a bit of variety. 7. The last page and conclusion was really great. To people who are interested in this subject, the book will give them exactly what they want. It is very well written, backed up by loads of sources and facts and is easy to read and quite upbeat. I have to say again that I love the layout--nice job Oxford Press!!--and the book is spiced up with graphs and good setting out. The only reason I took away the two stars was because I'm not exactly qualified to talk about the content much and there are some parts that don't flow very well (however, the majority does). If you are interested in the connection between music in church and multiracial churches then you'll find all the answers in here.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    264.2089 M378 2012

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Creedy

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    Matthew Westerholm

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    Devon Kauflin

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