One comment on “The blues, justice and the gospel

  1. I readily concur with Michael J. Gilmour who writes: ‘The Gospel According to the Blues is at once a primer in American music, culture, and race and religious history. Gary Burnett moves deftly from lyrics to theory and back again, from Blind Lemon Jefferson to the insights of contemporary scholarship. Highly readable, thoroughly researched, and with deep respect for the art form on every page.with deep respect for the art form on every page’.There are many scholars and musicians mentioned in this wonderful book. Many of the Biblical scholars I had already come across,the great Albert Schweitzer gets a mention, plus Scot McKnight, Walter Brueggemann and N.T. Wright to name a few more, but there were others I was introduced to for the first time. However, what to me was an unforgettable experience was being introduced to those early blues musicians such as Blind Willie Johnson, B.B. King and Charlie Patten through their sad stories, and then listening (with the help of the guide at the end of each chapter – and Youtube) to their songs of angst and sorrow, and sometimes hope. Reading this book was certainly an enlightening experience with regard to learning about the plight of the black man in America,from his time of slavery up until the present day.However a word of warning,though in many parts it is a most enjoyable read, with an emphasis on the Christian hope, this is not a ‘feel good’ book, as Dr Burnett can often make you squirm a little in your seat! One memorable quotation from his book states:’Living under the reign of the Messiah changes everything -greed, acquisitiveness, consumerism all become false gods that must be renounced so that the vibrant life of the new humanity can flourish in our own lives and those whose lives we touch.’ But I will finish with the answer to the question,’what has Jerusalem to do with the Delta?’, which was posed at the beginning of the book:’The answer it seems is rather a lot.The blues, as an art form forged in adversity and suffering, becomes an appropriate point of departure for considering matters of faith and a gospel that itself was forged in the suffering of the innocent.If we let it, the blues can help us reach deep into our faith and understand the world, ourselves, and the gospel that little bit better.’

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