Walk the Line

Blue and orange guitar

Walk the Line

Rock Music and the Christian Imagination
Page Count
260 pages
Publication date
Blue and orange guitar
    About the book

    Walk the Line is a resource for music fans to engage their favorite artists and songs with theological sophistication. Intended for theology students at the undergraduate level and up, Walk the Line is different from the many books which try to use rock music to get people into religion. Instead, it uses religious insights to help readers think critically and creatively about rock music. “A compelling and fascinating study.” Jeannie Gaffigan, television and comedy writer, co-host of U.S. Catholic’s Field Hospital Podcast. “[A] needed and refreshing gift…”  Elizabeth Scalia, Culture Editor at Our Sunday Visitor (from the Foreword)

    Walk the Line, a compilation of essays written by a diverse assembly of today's most insightful theologians, is a compelling and fascinating study of the sometimes hidden and other times hit-you-over-the-head spiritual and theological themes of some of the most captivating and inspired rock music of the past 50 + years. Traditional as well as contemporary rock music and Christianity are often seen as at direct odds with each other, but in this fascinating study of a number of the most prolific and brilliant musical artists in our lifetimes, these riveting essays examine the intertwined relationship between the lives and lyrics of secular musicians and the inspirations of the saints and the beauty and truth of the Gospels. Walk the Line is not meant as an evangelization tool for rock lovers, but rather a luminescent and genius unearthing of the orthodoxy of our faith that cannot be separated from the yearnings and desires of the secular heart that magnetically draws humanity to rock and roll. This book will be a must-read for all educators of the faith and theologians who desire to touch the hearts of the people. Rock music may not be designed to “save your soul” but the insights into the journeys and longings of secular society can unquestionably provide a map to illuminating a path to God by shining a light in the world.

    Jeannie Gaffigan
    Television and Comedy Writer, Co-Host of U.S. Catholic’s Field Hospital Podcast

    Walk the Line explores an ambitious and underexplored highway leading us often to astonishing routes in the journey to God. These top-notch theologians lend their vast experience by interrogating the wonderful bridge that joins rock music and its spiritual undercurrents.  Fr. Christian has gathered an eclectic collection which maps connections as fascinating as Dylan and the Donatists one the one hand and Leonard Cohen and pneumatology on the other.  These essays would make a fine textbook and deserve a wide readership for anyone interested in the cultural space which inhabits theological inquiry

    Fr. Guerric DeBona
    Professor of Homiletics at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, Co-Author of Savior on the Silver Screen

    To interpret art is always a vulnerable and risky business. To do so theologically can be a wild and wonderful ride, as this collection powerfully demonstrates. Walk the Line gives us a significant, at times daring, contribution to the burgeoning study of art at the boundaries of faith. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

    Christopher Pramuk
    University Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination at Regis University, Author of The Artist Alive: Explorations in Music, Art, and Theology

    About the author

    Christian Raab, OSB, is an associate professor of theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology and an associate pastor at Saint Joseph Parish in Jasper, Indiana. His writing has appeared in Logos, American Benedictine ReviewCommonwealThe Priest, and Review for Religious. He is co-editor of The Tradition of Catholic Prayer (Liturgical Press, 2007), and author of Understanding the Religious Priesthood: History, Controversy, Theology (CUA, 2021).