Monthly review

Averyfineline’s new monthly feature skims the pages of the SN so you don’t have to … or better yet, skim along with me. Here we go:

  • No sign that anyone has yet to write a letter to the editor disagreeing with Jerry Kirksey’s Can of Worms (p8-10).
  • Andrew Ishee seems painfully oblivious to the reality that “Christian” means different things to, say, an evangelical Texan and a Catholic from Massachusetts (p16).
  • I just love the Greenes.
  • Note to Roy Pauley: Dove Brothers Quartet not the best example of “lesser known groups” (p24).
  • I just love the Hinsons.
  • So Gaither Music group feels comfortable making a flat out comparison between SSQ and the Cathedrals (p31), huh? Wow. Sure, both SSQ and L5 five have tried to live off the Cathedrals’ name to varying degrees (and I tallying up race for the Cats mantle in this review). In addition to L5’s name (LEGACY 5, as in the Cats’ legacy), the liner notes to L5’s London recording tried hard to make a pretty direct connection between L5 and the Cats, talking about how the Cathedrals broke new ground when they went overseas to London in 1988 to record with the London Philharmonic and how now, in 2003, Roger and Scott returned to do it again. But even that doesn’t strike me as bald as this assertion in the Gaither ad for SSQ on p31. Given that SSQ is on the most recent Homecoming Magazine cover, perhaps it’s safe to say SSQ has decided to work Haase’s “in” with Gaither for all it’s worth - and it may be worth a lot, especially to whatever cross-over appeal among those supposedly hip young CCM fans SSQ might have in mind. Danny Jones thinks the comparisons are unimportant because there will never literally be another Cathedral quartet, but it’s not that simple. The comparisons have nothing to do with recreating the Cats’ success per se and everything to do with shrouding one quartet of this generation in the aura of untouchability and supremacy that was all over the Cats in their time, especially the last 10 or 15 years of their existence. So one question comes to mind about this SSQ-Cats claim from Gaither: isn’t the whole hipster aesthetic SSQ is cultivating very unCatlike (the “dance” moves, the hair, the ties, and so on)? And please don’t dredge up the way Glen Payne would occasionally hop around dramatically or that little hop-step thing George Younce still does for laughs and gags (though perhaps George’s white boots were the 70s and 80s equivalent of short ties?). SSQ is in an entirely different aesthetic universe - maybe not better or worse but certainly different - than the Cats. And given how carefully the Cats managed their look and style, doesn’t SSQ’s equally well-managed aesthetic in the opposite direction seriously compromise their claim to the Cats’ legacy? Or was the contest over the moment Haase married George’s daughter?
  • Janet Paschal: love her voice, think she’s all class, grace, and elegance … but she needs to hire a graphic designer to produce some promotional material worthy of Paschal’s powerhouse, superstar aura. That Maplesong ad on p41 is pretty weak stuff.
  • Huh? This was “one of the best” NQCs ever? Was Danny Jones at the same place I was back in September? (p43)
  • Still have no idea what Matt Hagee thinks he’s doing trying to cover “You Raise Me Up.” (p77)
  • The Wilburns are legendary? Maybe, but for what? (p78)
  • Classy stuff from Ray Reese about the Kingmen’s devatsting flood (p78).
  • Note to Jerry Kirksey: The internet is a great, quick tool for research, especially before making outrageous and specious allusions to fake history. Kirksey claims on p80 that “one vote elected Adolph Hitler as head of the Nazi Party.” Nope. The gods of fact-checking,, get to the bottom of this urban legend with efficiency, as per usual:

    Adolph Hitler resigned from the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) in July 1921. He allowed himself to be coaxed into rejoining shortly afterwards with the demand that he be given “the post of chairman with dictatorial power.” The party membership soon voted 553 to 1 in favor of taking Hitler back on his terms. How anyone could claim this was a “one vote” election is mystifying.

    The larger problem, of course, is that Kirksey is so far wide of the mark in his argument about Christian Citizenship (as is Adrian Rogers, whose sermon is the basis for Kirksey’s column) that the Nazi nonsense hardly seems out of place. It’s irrelevant to claim, as Kirskey does in the conclusion to a wobbly syllogism, that “if the power of the state is in the people, then we must have Godly people in power.” The problem here is that Kirksey assumes “Godly” means something fairly specific, and once you’ve concluded that the nation must be run by a fairly narrow band of evangelical Protestant ideologues, you’ve tromped all over not just the establishment clause of the constitution but also on the very freedom of religion that gives Kirksey the right to spout off like he does. But why do evangelicals have the sole and primary right to political rule and not people of other faiths (Jews and Muslims, for instance) or of no faith at all (agnostics and atheists)? The answer of course (from the Kirskeys of the world) is that there is only black and white and no middle ground and no space for honest differences or pluralism or compromise and that infidels have no place in public life etc. And that puts us much closer to the Germanic history of creepy Christian nationalism than we might care to be.

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