Jesus Is Just Alright: website and series

Delvyn Case, the composer, conductor, scholar, performer, concert producer, and educator who will lead our 'Jesus Is Just Alright' series on Jesus in pop music, has created a new website as a public resource through which he can share his research and invite conversation and collaboration.

He has been studying this fascinating collection of songs for over 10 years. His goal has been to use them as a lens through which to examine the ways in which our modern secular society views and understands Jesus: his character, identity, message, and meaning. Along the way he's learned some fascinating things that have deeply affected not only his understanding of American Christian history but also his own faith.

The website includes:

  • An introduction to the various ways he's categorized the songs he's analyzed for the project.
  • Spotify playlists for each collection of songs.
  • A constantly-updated, searchable database of all 500+ songs, which allows you to explore the collection in whatever ways you would like.
  • An online form that allows you to submit additions to this list.
  • Links to more info about the project, including academic and non-academic articles.

For over fifty years, pop musicians in all genres have explored the meaning and significance of Jesus in their music. The result is a rich collection of songs that consider important spiritual questions like faith, doubt, and prayer in unique and often provocative ways. Through a combination of listening and discussion, our four-part series 'Jesus Is Just Alright' invites participants to explore a different spiritual topic each week. Join us to listen to great music that asks tough questions about our faith and our lives as Christians.

Fridays in June 2021, 16:30 BST. Register for a Zoom invite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jesus-is-just-alright-tickets-145857685263.  

SESSION 1: Beer With Jesus

Cowboy, soldier, friend, mother, gangsta: Jesus has appeared in all these guises – and many more – in pop songs over the past 50 years. By exploring what these different incarnations say about the ways modern Christians have imagined Jesus, this session will challenge us to consider how our own assumptions affect the way we relate to him. Do they help us to follow him – or are they a hindrance? And do we fall into the trap of recreating Jesus in our own image?

SESSION 2: Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?

What would Jesus think if he came back today? That’s a question posed by artists working in genres as diverse as folk, hip-hop, punk, country, and heavy metal. Though written by non-Christians, most of these songs have no problem with Jesus, but instead with his followers, accusing them of sins including hypocrisy, judgmentalism, intolerance, and greed. Listening to these “prophetic” songs will challenge participants to consider how they can better follow Christ in their own lives and as representatives of the Church.

SESSION 3: Jesus, Forgive Me for the Things I’m About to Do

Pop songs are full of prayers. But rather than relying on familiar words, musicians lift their voices to Jesus in ways that are often highly personal and heartbreakingly honest. This session explores what we can learn about prayer – and faith – from the pleas and tears of a wide variety of artists. What to do they pray for? Why and how? How do we see ourselves in these songs, and how might it affect the way we think about prayer?

SESSION 4: If I Believe You

Pop songs include some of the most honest and powerful examples of spiritual searching that you can find. Whether they are doubting believers, faithful doubters, unwilling atheists, or simple humans hungering for meaning, pop musicians bring to life approaches to faith that rival the psalms in their depth and nuance. This session will use these songs to help us understand and articulate the various ways we consider “belief”, and how that relates to our identities as modern Christians.