Is rock ‘n’ roll—Christian rock ‘n’ roll—a worthy subject for a CT cover story? To those on our staff born after 1946, and who grew up thinking Rolling Stone magazine was “groovy,” the answer was obvious. Of course, to those born before 1946 the answer was not so clear.

Facts and figures settled the issue: Contemporary Christian music sells $500 million worth of CDS and cassettes each year—and that amount of dough is rising. For many fans, CCM artists are the main representatives of, and primary link to, evangelical Christianity. An additional point of interest: the recent acquisition of several Christian labels by various media conglomerates. Add it all together and you have a volatile (and loud) mix of motives and pressures.

To sort it out, we sent senior writer Tim Stafford. Both halves of the age spectrum liked the choice since Tim (1) is a baby boomer who is a veteran of rock concerts but who (2) has not been to a rock concert in many a year, owns no CCM music (though his 12-year-old daughter plays her two Amy Grant tapes “constantly”), and would much rather talk for hours about the decline of The New Yorker than anything having to do with popular music.

Tim s cross-cultural exploration of CCM-land took him to the muddy fields outside Portland where he witnessed Jesus Northwest, an annual music festival attended by thousands of the teenage faithful. (For fun: Try to find our middle-aged reporter in the youthful mob pictured on the cover. Hint: He’s near the purple fog.) His wry and wise observations can be found in “Has Christian Rock Lost Its Soul?” beginning on page 14.

MICHAEL G. MAUDLIN, Managing Editor

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