In God Gave Rock and Roll to You (OUP, 2024), Leah Payne traces the history and trajectory of CCM in America and, in the process, demonstrates how the industry, its artists, and its fans shaped–and continue to shape–conservative, (mostly) white, evangelical Protestantism. For many outside observers, evangelical pop stars, interpretive dancers, puppeteers, mimes, and bodybuilders are silly expressions of kitsch. Yet Payne argues that these cultural products were sources of power, meaning, and political activism. Throughout, she draws on in-depth interviews with CCM journalists, publishers, producers, and artists, as well as archives, sales and marketing data, fan magazines, merchandise–everything that went into making CCM a thriving subculture. Ultimately, Payne argues, CCM spurred evangelical activism in more potent and lasting ways than any particular doctrine, denomination, culture war, or legislative agenda had before.

Join us on Thursday, May 9 at 12PM CT for a book talk with Dr. Leah Payne on her book, God Gave Rock and Roll to You (OUP, 2024). This conversation will be moderated by Dr. Joey Cochran, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Wheaton College.

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