Call Me the Seeker: Listening to Religion in Popular Music

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Healy becomes the challenger, daring Jesus to respond.

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In the same way Healy has manipulated the gospel elements and ideas of Pascal, he expects to have some measure of power over Jesus. Moving into the second verse, Healy becomes annoyed and cynical about Jesus being an escape from pain, and begins to speak about him in terms of drug use. This analogy resonates further with his use of Gospel elements; he uses them to manipulate and evoke feelings to induce the listener to a trance-like state.

I do not, however, think the song is an outright rejection of Jesus. This is reflected in the conclusion of the song, which is less a rejection than a frustration of faith. The song ends with the repeated nine times! It is as though, in light of his resolve to be self-actualised, he is lost in the woods, trying to find his way with a compass that only points at himself.

In this state, he returns to the original reason for invoking negative transcendence: he needs an object outside himself to rescue him from the turmoil within. Firstly, even within the profoundly secular industry of popular music, there is an openness to spirituality, religion, and Jesus. Secondly, songs written not only about Jesus, but to Him, create a unique discursive space.


Finally, an invocation of negative transcendence may create an openness to a true spiritual experience. I find it interesting that with whatever agenda Healy begins his song— be it to contrive a spiritual experience through gospel music, or playfully mock a silent Jesus— he ends it in an attitude of openness, uncertainty, and searching. Through invoking the imaginative presence of Jesus, the artist—and the listener—encounter a silence marked by expectation, that reshapes the very desires of those who invoke it.

Perhaps in the silence of negative transcendence, the artists truly may encounter the divine.

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Philip Culbertson and Elaine M. Gilmour is one of the most knowledgeable religionwriters in the country Obviously, the text is quite bold and it covers much ground, with a throughanalysis of many of the religious themes that are found in popular music. Recommended because: Of its uniqueness and depth, and because it attempts tounmask a component of the art form that often goes unrecognized by scholars andcritics Michael Gilmour's book, then, is meant to shine a direct light on thefact that religion is found everywhere in the history of popular song. In theend,. Toon meer Toon minder.

Gilmour Uitgever Bloomsbury. Reviews Schrijf een review. Bindwijze: Paperback. Niet leverbaar. Wil je eenmalig een e-mail ontvangen zodra het weer leverbaar is? Breng me op de hoogte Op verlanglijstje.

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Houd er rekening mee dat het artikel niet altijd weer terug op voorraad komt. Anderen bekeken ook. And did you take in some of that chant, some of that singing of the psalms? What does that do for the world? And it gave me a very keen understanding of exactly what it does for the world and for spiritual communities. And then it was just exotic. It was Minnesota.

It was cold as hell. And we were at an ecumenical community.

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And I like ecumenical environments because we never had Christianity shoved down our throats. In fact, my Dad had so many Jewish colleagues, and we had just a real Judeo-Christian upbringing as much as a purely Christian upbringing. Ray: It was a little bit different from Emily, I think, in that it was a more conservative upbringing. Many of my relatives were Methodist ministers, and my aunt married an Episcopalian minister, priest. So I grew up with religion all around me, and we spent Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and Friday night youth group.

So I spent a lot of time at church and went to church camp for about five years when I was becoming a teenager. And there was music all around.

About Call Me the Seeker

We were supposed to learn piano when we were young. And I was really into church, actually. And so it was a place of a lot of challenging questions all the time. But I went on to be a religion major in college, and I thought for one moment that I might actually go to seminary and explore that path. But I was raised in a strongly Christian environment.

So I probably relate the most to that culturally. But music was just more of a tug, and I felt like it was what I was compelled to do. But our traditions really know about the power of music, right? And I remember reading in the book that you wrote with your father — music that goes all the way through your body. You still know those songs today. I mean, I think it just goes back to control, especially controlling women. And the truth is that men have been controlling women for a long time, especially when they get organized. Tippett: Do you feel that there was a controlling aspect to church music, too?

And it involved movement of the body. And the body takes you out of your head and connects you. So once I heard African-American gospel music and was blown away — and the first time I heard it, I was scared. Because a woman had a spiritual, ecstatic experience, although she was crying and jumping up and down, and I was terrified.

But that was the body and real-life pain experience connected to spirituality, and music brought her to that place. So those are just some of my musings on that. Ray: When I think about the music that I was learning in youth group or spiritual songs, it was interesting because I actually went through a couple of years of being really conservative and going to see Christian rock bands that were not radical left Christian rock bands.

They were talking about pro-life, and it was so powerful. And I think that just taught me that music is powerful either way and that you still have to hang onto yourself in that moment and know where your spirit is, because it can really influence you. Because it does take you out of your context to a certain degree. But I think I needed to go through it, and I needed to find my own self within all the different things being thrown at me.

Tippett: How do you think about the line now for you between sacred and secular music? Is there a line in music or in life? You know what I mean? I spoke with them at the Wild Goose Festival. Saliers: I think that music is a spiritual gift, and then artists or writers use it how they see fit. Amy actually helped me with this coming — an evolution of recognizing how sacred what is deemed secular is.

I have a deep objection to misogyny in lyrics and in musical posturing. So I guess I draw the line there. But when we played in Little Five Points Pub in Atlanta, it was a motley crew of people from all walks of life. Saliers: Yeah, for real. But in those days, when we were playing in bars, I mean — and my dad and I talked about this a lot — that is a spiritual experience.

Tippett: When you said a minute ago that Amy helped you think differently about that relationship — can you say some more about that? Amy opened my — she was more alternative than I was, you know? She liked music that was more alternative; she liked music that was more raw. I think she had an understanding of real pain than I did.

She was just more evolved about all that stuff and just kind of was who she was. And I learned a lot from her about that. I honestly did and I still do. Because we were classically trained, and we listened to a lot of classical music and jazz and stuff like that, I had an early snobbery about …. So it was Amy who really helped me with that, and I appreciate that. Do you think of yourself as religious now?

And I think I took what I think are good things from the church and the gospel and applied them to my life in a way that has worked for me. I like having that. I go sometimes. I really actually wish I went more, to be honest with you because I really enjoy it. But I get so carried away. I love church. Any kind of church. Ray: Yeah.

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Ray: I have this feeling of openness that lets the hate just go off, and I just feel love in the building. So I do consider myself religious. Yeah, I want, like, the queer Easter Bunny as the mascot for that, I think. Queer fertility. And I feel like the language is always limiting. It was kind of thoughtful. The sermon was related to the readings, and there was a season that was based on the Jewish calendar that was recognized as based on the Jewish calendar, which I always appreciated. And with my Dad and the people that I grew up with, the theologians — they thoughtfully organized liturgy.

They put thought into constructing it so that people might get the most out of it. So I appreciate that like writing a good paper or something, I guess. So I grew up with that. I like that part of thought and organization and structure in religion. Ray: I was thinking about what you said about language and stuff being such an obstacle, and what Emily said. I was exposed — like my great-uncle was a Methodist minister, and part of his sermon was to do magic tricks.

It was a very different exposure, and I loved that and it actually was good for me to see that. And I think as queer people we also have this built-in translator sometimes. And the same goes for music. And we had to change all the lyrics in our heads, and the imagery, and believe that it was OK to be a woman and play music.

Maybe it would be better to be exposed to this incredible intellectual, spiritual sermon that felt so accepting of who I was as a woman and a gay woman at a very early age. And really I was just totally turned on by that. You can find this show again in four of the libraries at onbeing. Find this and an abundance of more at onbeing. Tippett: The two of you started — got to know each other; you started playing music together when you were still in high school.

And also, as I read it, still before either of you had come out as lesbian to yourselves, much less to anyone else. And then I think you were two of the first real celebrities to be very open about your sexual orientation.