In 1945, Lee Richardson, Gus Treadwell, Creedell Copeland, Marvin Jones, and Charles “Jake” Richardson formed The Teenage Highway QC’s, named after Quincy College High School of Chicago.
John Lardas Modern is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College. His research interests broadly encompass American religious history, literature, technology, and aesthetics. Modern is the author of two books, Secularism in Antebellum America (University of Chicago Press 2011) and The Bop Apocalypse: The Religious Visions of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs (University of Illinois Press 2001). Modern has written across many venues and owns an impressive collection of evangelical vinyl. He is contributing editor for The Immanent Frame and co-curator of Frequencies: A Collaborative Genealogy of Spirituality. He tweets at @JohnModern.
Posts by John Modern
Harlan Matthews was born in Mount Airy, NC in 1927. He recorded this album at Alexander’s Studio in Dry Run, Pennsylvania.
Prisoners at Prayer (Nu-Sound Records) was arranged and produced under the auspices of Chaplain Earl-Clayton Grandstaff.
In what amounts to mnemonic therapy, the brain is strengthened and the will is chastened in Prayer—The Christian’s Chief Business (Sacred Records).
A self-conscious addition to the postwar surge in self-help discourse, Psycho-Cybernetics was published in 1960.
Born of privilege (a Rothschild pedigree and a father who was a vice president of Levi Strauss manufacturing), Samuel L. Lewis was one of the more colorful American mystics, who, at the end of his life, shifted from preparing himself for enlightenment to ushering in a new age of enlightenment.
“The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore” promised nothing less than to generate the “best possible self” by way of concentration and relaxation.
The Gospel Ambassadors hail from Wilmington, Delaware and their Oh, I Can’t Wait to See Him was released on the Executive Records label.
In this cover version of Norman Greenbaum’s 1969 original, salvation becomes a social occasion, perhaps even a bureaucratic process. “Spirit in the Sky” is performed, here, by the hastily assembled Sisters and Brothers, who sing it as part of a “rock mass”—a concept made popular by the Australian nun Sister Janet Mead, in the early 1970s.
“Power Flower” was performed in 1969 at the Westinghouse Sixth Future Power Forum.
“Crying Holy Unto the Lord” became a staple of the bluegrass circuit and was sung by the likes of Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs.
Written and composed by Bill Gaither, “He Touched Me” is a standard in the repertoire of contemporary evangelicalism.
The Addicts were assembled by the Pentecostal evangelist John Gimenez, whose ministry revolved around “dope addiction.” Gimenez, a former addict, conceived of the idea of a play about the lives of “junkies,” and their redemption, in 1963.
Words are a pale substitute for the live feed. But here we have a culmination of sorts. Here we have the power and expanse of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
Malcolm Boyd is, perhaps, best known for being an early supporter of gay rights within the Episcopal Church (publicizing his homosexuality in 1977). Boyd had become an Episcopal priest some twenty-five years earlier, having had a successful career in advertising and television.
As stereophonic sound achieved a mass audience at mid-century, so, too, did Norman Vincent Peale.
Irma Glen heralds from a Divine Science background and the teachings of Ernest Holmes (The Creative Mind  and The Science of Mind ).
A local favorite from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Marlene Hershey and the Hershey-ettes were masters of disharmony, perhaps the logic of prayer.
Jimmy Mamou once jammed with Jimi Hendrix and Big Mama Thornton before being washed in the blood of the lamb in the early 1970s.
Written by Albert E. Brumley, “Turn Your Radio On” is performed here by The Lewis Family, from Lincolnton, Georgia.
Re-Creation is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 by Hugh Brooks in State College, Pennsylvania. As Re-Creation’s website exclaims, its “main service is to America’s Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and State Veterans Homes.
Prayer may be an act of gratitude after the fact. It may be a weapon, a request to heal the body or boost the brain, an epistemic cry, a meditation, a mediation, a quip, a plea, a means of passive resistance, a wonderful gift from God. Or any manner of combination.
Whatever prayer is or has been it seems, often, to be bound up in the play of transgression and transcendence. Within the move across there are the moves against and the moves beyond. Against and beyond simultaneously, continuously, even as a prayer is conceived and uttered, even after it is ignored or answered.
And we pick up where the conversation about cognition and culture has seemingly reached an impasse . . .
Mr. Romantic Poet: This is madness, I say! Apples and oranges! Science is not a singular thing. A science of life should be neither instrumental nor disembodied. Whatever prayer is it is much more than cognitive mechanics. And it is much more than a cultural conceit. And science worth its name accounts for what lies between the observer and the prayers under observation.
Within the frame of secular modernity, religion has become something in need of measured explanation, something that is either at odds or consistent with the natural state of humanity. Prayer, as a fortifier of belief, has come to mark the religiosity of a shared human experience, for better or for worse.
My project examines the profound effect that technological forms (material, conceptual, linguistic, epistemic) have had, and continue to have, on the practice and study of prayer. My project addresses: 1) social and technological contexts in and through which prayer has been represented, 2) the relationship between these contexts, these representations, and the dynamics of the secular age, and 3) the use of machines to measure one’s prayers and the prayers of others.