The Towers recently interviewed Russell Moore about his love of country music. It’s a fascinating piece, and you should read it. I thought one exchange was particularly insightful and prophetic:
Towers: Americans are said to live within a contradiction in which a deep religiosity exists alongside a fairly pronounced ethical Antinomianism and many see country music as reflecting that paradox. Do you agree with that?
Moore: Yes, but I don’t think it’s American, I think it’s Southern Baptist. Most of the country music that we hear is coming from a person who has either been redeemed through a Southern Baptist version of Christianity or damned by a Southern Baptist version of Christianity. So, all of the best aspects of Southern Baptist “Just As I Am” revivalism are present in country music – the idea that no one is too far for redemption, the idea of new beginnings, being born again – all those are present in country music. But you also have the carnal, “Jesus is my Savior but not my Lord,” unregenerate person, keeping the hypocrisy hidden under the church attendance â€” all that is present too. Even from artists who are not Baptists, but are growing up in a Bible Belt South, where, as one sociologist put it, “Baptists are the center of gravity,” we (Southern Baptist culture) created country music for both good and for ill.
Read the rest here.