- From the Vault
- Guest Entries
- Is This The New Face of Religion?
- Is This The New Face of Rock?
- Music and the Brain
- Musical Performance
- News Items
- Recommended Reading
- Rock and Theology Project
- Secular Liturgies
- Somatica Divina
- Theological Production
- Andy Edwards (12)
- Christian Scharen (15)
- Daniel White Hodge (12)
- David Dault (19)
- David Nantais (90)
- Gina Messina-Dysert (10)
- Henry Lowell Carrigan (2)
- Ian Fowles (1)
- Jeffrey Keuss (15)
- Jennifer Otter (9)
- Loye Ashton (2)
- Maeve Heaney (11)
- Mary McDonough (112)
- Michael Iafrate (78)
- Myles Werntz (1)
- Natalie Weaver (12)
- Rachel Bundang (4)
- Tom Beaudoin (868)
- New Blog
- Thank you very much! Good night!
- Post-R&T: What Other Resources Do You Recommend?
- Stories, Transcendence, and My Morning Jacket
- Retiring Rock and Theology
- Wilbrand Rakhorst on Marc Ford, Former Black Crowes Guitarist, Gives a Testimony
- Michael on Geddy Lee, Jewish Atheist
- Karl Withakay on Geddy Lee, Jewish Atheist
- Diane manger on Geddy Lee, Jewish Atheist
- holy heteroclite on Retiring Rock and Theology
- Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" Faith vs. Evangelical Certainty
- Geddy Lee, Jewish Atheist
- Hungry like the Wolf: What This Blog Is Doing Here
- Is it Weird to Pray for Rock Stars?
- My Sweet Lord: George Harrison, the Spiritual Beatle
- Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, and... Songwriting?
- The Ark
- April 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
Posted in: Christianity,General,Practices by Tom Beaudoin on December 9, 2013
Tonight in my “Foundations of Pastoral and Practical Theology” class at Fordham, I related the legacy of Nelson Mandela to the attempts of Christian theologians to make practices of liberation central to church life and theological tradition. Mandela, while (of course) far from a “perfect” human being, found it within himself to attempt to creatively heal and even outwit color- and culture-based forms of discrimination in South Africa. Here is Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu talking about Mandela:
In class, I suggested that theologians committed to liberation can be understood to be intervening in restrictions on reality, trying to change situations that are too small for humans, attempting to facilitate new ways of being alive in scenarios in which freedom is circumscribed by material-spiritual want. In that vein, the funeral of Nelson Mandela affords an occasion to ask whether and how people and institutions that identify as religious/spiritual/etc are perpetuating inherited social stratifications.
In the realm of liberating practices must surely come the enjoyment of music that changes one’s life. In that vein, some politically aware anthems rise (more…)
Posted in: Christianity,General,Judaism by Tom Beaudoin on December 8, 2013
Inside this lighthearted yet thoughtful take on the fact that Paul McCartney (who as far as I know was baptized Catholic, but never particularly active in it) was recently married to Nancy Shevell, who is Jewish, and had been married early in his life to another Jewish woman, Linda Eastman, is an interesting question.
McCartney has taken up the causes of his wives over the years, and David Yaffe of Tablet magazine wonders whether a new engagement with Judaism has influenced McCartney’s well-received new record, New.
Here is the video from McCartney’s single “Queenie Eye”:
The question floating around the article that grabbed me was how we account for religious/spiritual/etc influences from relationships with significant others in music.
Yaffe half-jokingly hears a mitzvah in McCartney’s new music. What are we listening for when we listen for religious/spiritual/theological/etc influences? I don’t have any simple answers to this, but if McCartney is finding a new maturity in his music and life that is somehow related to Jewish influences, for sake of argument, then what are we to call the fruit of that interaction?
On the one hand, you might say it sounds like mitzvot, but on the other hand it’s something not quite that because it’s been channeled “outside” of (more…)
Posted in: General by David Nantais on December 6, 2013
Tommy Beaudoin recently wrote an interesting post about the generation of young adults known as “Millennials”. In it he wonders what songs symbolize the spiritual quest of this generation. Beaudoin writes, “What are those songs? Middle-aged professors like me want to know, but I bet many parents of ‘Millennials’ would like to know, too, as well as religious leaders and not least, maybe ‘Millennials’ themselves.”
I just finished teaching a course at University of Detroit Mercy called “Rock, Hip-Hop and Religion.” It was probably the most enjoyable and challenging course I have ever taught. As part of this course I asked the students to present three songs that were spiritually significant to them. They were required to play the song in its entirety and then explain in 3-5 minutes why the song was particularly meaningful to them. I placed few restrictions on what they could choose–only that the songs needed to be considered (as much as this can possibly be discerned) “Popular” music (no jazz, no classical). Of the twelve students in my class, ten of them would be considered “Millennials”–[two students were "non-traditional"--Academia's euphemism for "older"!]. I was very impressed by these presentations. They improved over the course of the semester as the students learned about new ways to mine songs for meaning. What impressed me most, however, was the depth of personal sharing from these students. These songs, some contemporary, some older, are helping the millennials in my class to ease their suffering, celebrate their life victories and mourn their deep losses.
Posted in: Eschatology,General by Tom Beaudoin on December 4, 2013
I am thinking about the song “Angel from Montgomery.” Here is John Prine singing his original version:
I am drawn to the ordinary imagery that makes up what the narrator of the song, a woman unsettled by her situation, reaches for as she tries to make sense of her world. “Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery,” she pleads. “Make me a poster of an old rodeo.” And then: ”Just give me one thing I can hold on to / Believing in this living is a hard way to go.”
Here is the Tedeschi Trucks band with their cover of “Angel from Montgomery” with a taste of Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia’s “Sugaree” following…
The “angel” of the song wants much more from her life than she can have. In her reach back to the “cowboy” of her youth, and her chagrin at the years that have passed, you can sense the sadness of her desire running out like water onto the pavement. She is not done with life, but all around her it (more…)
In 2008, Gnarls Barkley released the hauntingly beautiful “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul.”
The song begins with the lyrics:
I got some bad news this morning
Which in turn made my day
When this someone spoke I listened
All of a sudden, has less and less to say
Oh how could this be?
All this time, I’ve lived vicariously
Who’s gonna save my soul now?
Who’s gonna save my soul now?
How will my story ever be told now?
How will my story be told now? (more…)
Posted in: General,News Items by Tom Beaudoin on December 1, 2013
In the New York Times print edition today, there is an editorial titled “Millennial Searchers” by Emily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer L. Aaker, arguing that young adults today, often known as “Millennials,” are more committed to finding meaningful lives than is commonly realized. Their search, it is argued, has been urged on them by the collapse of the dream/myth of material prosperity in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008. Though the authors do not discuss spirituality/religion/faith/theology/etc, I wonder how this constellation relates to the search for meaning among young adults today, especially as so many identify spirituality as important in their lives. Moreover, given the massive surround that music represents in the lives of many young adults, I wonder further what tunes will be recognized as essential to the soundtrack of this cohort? It’s always tricky, and perhaps impossible, to find songs that symbolize a cohort’s spiritual quest, but I wonder what the basic candidates would be for today’s young adults.
What are those songs? Middle-aged professors like me want to know, but I bet many parents of “Millennials” would like to know, too, as well as religious leaders and not least, maybe “Millennials” themselves.
Tommy Beaudoin, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
You know, “the” new book? It’s been a while since I reminded R&T readers about Secular Music and Sacred Theology, the book featuring various R&T contributors. Check it out at the publisher’s website here or Amazon here.
Take a break from shopping and enjoy a little music!
Dave Nantais, Detroit, MI
Posted in: General,Theological Production by Tom Beaudoin on November 28, 2013
Randy Kennedy wrote a story for Thursday’s print edition of the New York Times on the intense and widespread appreciation of seventeenth century Dutch painting. In it, he quotes Tracy Chevalier, author of the bestselling novel Girl With a Pearl Earring, to this effect: “I think one of the reasons people are drawn to Dutch painting now is because it’s not religious, by and large. It’s people sitting around playing cards or a woman mopping the floor, or it’s a fish market or an interior of a home. I think we like to see that window onto a middle-class world that is not all that different from our own. There’s something like us in there.”
Her comment situates art appreciation in the complexities of class identity in which it almost always resides, and in so doing it also says something suggestive for R&T readers about why art continues to attract, fascinate and compel. Her emphasis (I imagine) on the “now” (“people are drawn to Dutch painting now“) suggests to me that she is speaking specifically about the present post/secular moments in global culture, in which one acceptable place for religion is as a secondary pursuit, an option, or a pragmatic handle on navigating life.
Perhaps religion has “always” been this way (so long as we have had “religion” as we understand it in the West, which according to recent research we have not always had), but it should make us curious, we who care about people’s continued devotion to music, as we try to make theological sense of it.
Are theologians to shepherd “secular” people back to “religion”? By no means! Instead, theologians can model a way of being with reality that lets through the insistence of its “more”. In that way, we honor the contemporary instinct for release and liberation through art and music while being the agents of life’s deepening.
Tommy Beaudoin, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York« Previous Page — Next Page »