Until last week, Gary Garrels was senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). He resigned his position after museum employees circulated a petition that accused him of racism and demanded his immediate ouster.
So why is this noted here? Two of my favourite albums in my music offerings are those of Sister Juliana Garza. It wasn’t easy to get information on her for a long time; one of the first places that it turned up was on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s website. Unfortunately I’ve lost the link to it, but it helped in reconstructing her life and the origins of her music.
Although I’m not sure Garrels had anything to do with this, it should not be held to his charge by anyone, because Sister Juliana was delightfully Hispanic.
Received this comment on my YouTube posting of the Word of God’s New Life album:
I am so grateful that you put this up. I honestly wept when I listened to it. I was all of 10 years old when I first heard this. I make no comments about the excellence of the music (it’s not) nor of the style of worship, but it is very evocative of a time in many lives when this sort of thing represented a hope for great things from God. I only wish that all of these could be found still.
In spite of some of my reservations about the Word of God’s music style, there is no doubt this worship style was moving and spiritual, and there was a hope of great things from God. The whole movement, however, and indeed the whole “Jesus Music” era of the 1960’s and 1970’s got derailed by two things: the effects of authoritarianism through the Shepherding Movement and covenant communities, and the commercialization of Christian music in general in the 1980’s and beyond.
It’s hard to describe to any side in the “music wars” these days what this style of worship meant to those of us who experienced it; we find ourselves alone on the sides. Fortunately we are not alone, as this comment shows. And with God we are never alone.
I have always been entranced by this work, as you can tell here. But tbh I never thought this would be one of the more popular albums I posted there. I was wrong, but not for the best reason: Daniel Fernandez, who was one of the writers and performers for the group, passed away recently, which sparked the interest.
I’m glad I made it readily available for all those who appreciate (and even those who were part of) the group. It’s a fabulous example of Continental folk music, Christian or secular, and shows that Christians can certainly do “artsy” type of music when they really want to do so.
There are actually two of their productions featured here: the other (sort of a composite) can be found here.
Although this Detroit-based production has been described as “Christo-funk,” it’s really very eclectic, with a wide variety of styles that reflect the makeup of the group. There’s both jazz and soul elements in it, some hard driving stuff and some very light stuff too. One thing that’s missing is any churchy or even any CCM sound to it. A real delight that is sure to brighten your day.