The Gospel Blues a tradition, like the Psalms finds it roots in an exodus story, slaves in a foreign land, injustice, oppression...songs a about a deliverer, a redeemer, of forgiveness, mercy, grace, a promised land...and hope. Music and lyrics foreign, irrelevant to the white middle class church.
James Cone says this, he likens the blues spirituals’ treatment of the problem of suffering to that of the Old Testament books of Job and Habbakuk. Christian hope, he says, “is a vision and promise for the poor, the sick and the weak.” In this regard he excoriates those white theologians who have promulgated a theology of hope based on “theological abstractions” rather than on the sufferings of the oppressed.
A shift from a theology of hope based on theological abstractions...rather than the sufferings of injustice, and oppression.
When we started this band, we knew there would be a disconnect from the church, because for the most part the church is disconnected from injustice, and oppression. Especially, if your a white middle class church in homogeneous suburbia. We, and our music are kept at a distance. They like to hear our stories, and they do encourage us, but, ...do not bring it inside our house.
And that's fine, we envisioned that form the outset. We, the church have a pretty narrow perspective of what worship music is. Most contemporary worship music is about me and God, how much I love him, and how much he loves me, with the love pendulum swinging more towards me. There is a disconnect in our worship music from the cry of the Psalmist, the laments...the struggle against oppression, injustice and suffering.
I think we need that in worship...it connects us to the struggles that are so foreign to most of us. It keeps the love pendulum in balance, not all God, not all me...but the neighbor living in an existence of struggle.
Sadly, I don't think you'll see the Blues in church. But you'll see it down at The Seed during Saturday night supper, or in the soup Kitchen down at Union Gospel Mission. The folks on the street, the homeless, the addicted, the working poor, single moms and kids, seniors living in poverty...they get the gospel blues.
Maybe your not acquainted with the gospel blues, not many are. I love this from Tom Oshiro listening to us last week, " who would have thought, the blues and the gospel, together. It's the good news, the word...and the blues. Who would have thought!"
Anyways, if you haven't heard the gospel blues, below are some rough cuts of new songs we were working on in the studio last Thursday. There yours to listen to, to download...enjoy. Remember, a as prescribed by the Doctor...a daily dose of the blues, for whatever ails you.