Lutherans get down and not-so-dirty with the Rolling Stones
While some Christians have been working themselves into a lather about Madonnaís onstage antics with a crucifix on her latest world tour, a Lutheran singer and author has been developing a more positive relationship with the wacky world of rockíníroll ñ by collaborating with her brother-in-law, Keith Richards.
Marsha Hansen from El Paso, Texas, recently released a book and accompanying live recording entitled ëMy Soul Is a Witness,í which features the legendary wild-man rhythm guitarist of the Rolling Stones ñ and also her daughter, Jordan Hansen.
The book, which will attract few protests from the pious, is published by Augsburg Fortress, the globally respected Minneapolis-based theological publishing company established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA).
Katherine R. Hinck of the ELCA News Service writes that it ìexplores messages of faith in African American folk music and includes a 14-song CD. Hansen is accompanied by Richards, Babi Floyd, Blondie Chaplin, George Receli and other performers.î
Each chapter of the book offers song lyrics and related biblical texts from African American spirituals, which have had a world-wide impact on believers and non-believers alike.
Christianity has enjoyed a bumpy ride with rock music since its genesis in the 1950s. Cliff Richard, who recently ruffled evangelical feathers by telling the churches to go easy on gay people, was among the high profile converts.
Others who have mixed faith and music include Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, Bono of U2 (who has played an international role in Make Poverty History) and Ekklesia  co-director Jonathan Bartley, who drums with up-and-coming crunchy blues outfit The Mustangs .
Bartley and his band have recently signed a five-year, three-album deal with Britainís leading blues label. Rumours of a surprise Bono appearance at one of their upcoming gigs  were described as ìtentativeî by a music industry insider.
In a much-publicized but unrelated development, Keith Richards recently fell out of a tree.
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