CANCELED: Pop music lecture: Roberts—Contemporary Christian Music


Apr. 27, 2020, 7pm to 9pm

Campus Location

Office/Remote Location

Room 147
Jason Roberts


Cancelled due to COVID-19 closures.

The Arnold Shaw Popular Music Center at UNLV is pleased to announce its 2020 lecture series. From February through April, six scholars will visit Las Vegas to discuss the history and future of pop, rock, punk, jazz, blues, and contemporary Christian music.

In the early 1980s, the music executive, composer/arranger, and writer/historian Arnold Shaw founded UNLV’s Popular Music Center. Shaw believed that Las Vegas rested its fame—and indeed its very existence—upon two main pillars: gaming and popular entertainment. He envisioned the Popular Music Center as a foundation that would stand alongside the UNLV Center for Gaming Research as uniquely opportune sites for study, archival work, and exchange in the cultural milieu of our city.

It is in this spirit that we now invite an exciting mixture of junior and senior scholars from diverse disciplines (English, Philosophy, Musicology, and Religious Studies) to share their expertise with the university and the Las Vegas public about the varied traditions of popular music making throughout history. These scholars will raise questions about the definition of popular music, the methods for understanding popular music and culture, and the political ramifications of this activity.

All of these events are free and open to the public.

Lecture 6:

Jason Roberts (University of Texas at Austin) – April 27, 2020
A Blemished Offering: Popular Music as “The Unclean” in Evangelical “Worship War” Polemics

[Contemporary Christian Music]

Scores of books and pamphlets with titles like Can We Rock the Gospel?, The Paganization of Worship, Contemporary Christian Music: Questions and Warnings, and Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Movement comprise the written record of the “Worship Wars.” The outbreak of these wars can be traced to the time just after the advent of Rock and Roll in the U.S. The tendency of Rock to blur conventional lines of social, racial, political, and religious division presented Conservative Evangelicals, who had been “practicing separation” from the world as a matter of doctrine since the first part of the twentieth century, with a theological dilemma as young people began introducing Christian Rock to worship services: Is it possible to legislate and regulate norms of ritual praxis without adopting an overt ritual theology and thus contradicting a defining doctrine against “works righteousness"? How does one argue with a fellow believer over embodied religious identity on the basis of "faith alone"? Roberts’s research focuses on theology as intellectual history and its impact on historical metanarratives and the social sciences. His April talk focuses on the arguments surrounding Contemporary Christian Music among conservative evangelical Protestant social philosophers since the 1970s.



Admission Information

Free and open to the public

Contact Information

Arnold Shaw Popular Music Center / School of Music
Jonathan Lee

More info on this event

External Sponsor

Arnold Shaw Popular Music Center (Jonathan Rhodes Lee, director), School of Music