Harvey Cox was a sociologist and he was famous for the participant-observer model. Down with the detached and antiseptic observer and up with the observer who threw him or herself wholeheartedly into the experience and then came apart to reflect and analyze. As part of the class Harvey brought in a musician who was an expert in the Gospel music of Appalachia. The young man was an ethnomusicologist and this genre was his specialty. Harvey wanted us to sing the songs and have some of the experience. The musician was himself skeptical. He introduced the songs by saying, ” There is the religion of the earth and the religion of the sky and we are more earth people now but we are going to sing some songs of the sky god tonight.”
Go here and read the rest of Dr. Harding's short, penetrating reflection on music and things spiritual.