What Hath Jerusalem to do with Johnny Cash?


By Russell Moore

Excerpt: What’s attracted me to country music throughout the years is its rootedness and distinctiveness. There’s a Nashville sound to county and western that has been lost in much of American life. The intimate connections between the music and the places it comes from are part of the DNA of country music.

More than this, though, country music is a narrative music. It tells a story, and in many ways, that story is a gospel story.

Country music recognizes sin and redemption even from people who are lost. Whereas in some other genres of music you can have sin consistently glorified with no consequences, country music rarely does that. Of course, there is much singing about sin–but it is almost always sin that has some hope of redemption or some recognition of judgment, the sowing and reaping and consequences. Country music tends to bypass self-justification by recognizing that something is wrong with the heart.

I remember being asked one day, “How can you listen to people singing who you know use drugs and participate in drunkenness?” And my answer is that real people use drugs and get drunk, and country music, with some exceptions, is recognizing the full reality and complicatedness of sin. Think of Johnny Cash’s song “Ring of Fire,” for instance, a song about adultery that was written on the front end of real life adultery. But “Ring of Fire” isn’t a celebration or a reveling. It’s an honest recognition that adultery feels a certain way – “bound by wild desire, love is a burning thing.” That’s an authentic account.

To read the rest of Russell Moore’s article, click HERE.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *