Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Pop is prayer - or more essays I will probably never write

As mentioned in the last post I had a brilliant day today learning more about prayer.  One of the very last questions that came up was about the 'modern world' and how the language of prayer which the early church was steeped in is a world away from our secular culture which has no prayer language.  I was impressed (as we always are when people say stuff we were thinking ourselves) when the speaker said that there is modern prayer language, it's just often not knowingly directed at God. She mentioned specifically the love song as the vehicle for God language.

This is such a fascinating area for study, conversation and exploration.  Just think about it for a bit - how many songs have you heard, loved, sung long to, songs of love fulfilled and love twarted - that say things like 'I would die without you' 'I am incomplete without you' 'there is a hole inside me because I am not with you' 'I would change everything I am for you'. Now, I'm not being funny, but on what date with a partner are these pearls dropped in? I say this because as the lecturer today suggested, much of this language is the kind of thing you would in reality run a mile if someone said to you. It is too big, it is too much, it is too far. Much of the love song language does not speak of healthy mutual loving relationships between two equals.  I don't underestimate the depth of human loving here, but I think if you're reading this you may already have a song in your head that you think "yes, that makes much more sense if you think about it as a cry to God."

I'd also take this into other areas of popular music - I could go on about this at great length but for now I just suggest you have a look at a this as a very simple example - it's a psalm isn't it???? Gleekerama.


Robb said...

I suspect that my thoughts on this may have been well documented in my academic work and on my blog (and when we sit in the pub over a gin) but I offer two questions:

A) isn't this sort of "love song theology" what the charismatic movement normally stands accused of? I believe the phrase is "Jesus is my boyfriend".

B) the most theologically stimulating kind of music is The Metal (TM) and you know it. Get your bassplayer to play Master of Reality for you and join us. Be one with us. \m/ \m/

Rachel F said...

I'm not suggesting it's an adequate, complete or in any way holistic theology - but it still seems to me that the love song, and other pop song formats (don't get me started on the 'anthem') are clearly expressing the yearning for God that we don't know we have and don't know how to name. I shall go now before I say something bad about the metal. (non-confrontational communication style)

Brokenleggedlamb said...

I was going to say its a bit of a stretch to associate modern love songs with yearning for an unknown God, but then I was reminded of at least a couple of artists who made it big in the mainstream with what were originally worship songs which came to be interpreted as love songs - Mary Mary and Candi Staton.

I guess if 'spirituality' is an intrinsic part of being human, then I could warm to the idea that modern music lyrics may be an expression of that.