Craig, a friend of the blog, has sent me word of a write-up on the work that he’s doing in Birmingham (UK) with the goth/emo community. It involves a combination of a real life and Second Life initiative to do reach out to some people who need it. Here’s the write-up. I’m not on Second Life yet, but those who are should check it out…
We were on the way to my IV treatment when I received a flash of insight. And started laughing. System of a Down was playing on the radio and the next song that came on–by Linkin Park–completely validated the comment I made to M.
“Anyone who believes that youth and folks our age don’t understand traditional Christian vocabulary like sin, redemption, forgiveness, atonement, etc. doesn’t listen to modern metal…”
I’ve got to say that most of the music I listen to: Zeppelin, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, VNV Nation, Metallica, Apoptygma Bezerk, Audioslave, etc. is religious music. It’s not necessarily *Christian* music, but it engages the fundamental issues of faith, doubt, meaning, and existence. And it often borrows traditional Christian language to talk about these issues.
Just thinking about my musical tastes, most of the music I like has two fundamental characteristics: it’s dark, and it has at least a touch of the psychedelic. It’s dark because it’s searching for answers and meaning and has come up short; it’s doubt moving to despair. In a similar way, I see modern psychedelica as mysticism searching for its source. It knows that there’s something true and real beyond the purely material but is still in search of what exactly its true center is.
In a sense, this is what Eusebius understood as preparatio evangelica. He used the phrase in connection with the Old Testament and with certain forms of Classical philosophy and poetry—they set up the culture to be receptive to the Christian message. I see in the music I hear the same searching for which the Church has the answer.
The main missional difficulty is that more often than not both the musicians and those who listen to their music have heard a Christian message and rejected it—or at least the version they were exposed to as adolescents (which is when I’m guessing most decided the Church had nothing to offer…). And to be perfectly honest, the version I was exposed to as an adolescent was pretty shallow and didn’t answer my big questions. What I do find significant though, is the pervasive presence of the traditional Christian vocabulary to discuss and address the big questions.
An invitation to a more adult version of the faith that doesn’t pretend to be able to give all the answers, that takes seriously mystery and the mystical, and that utilizes the traditional language embedded in the traditional liturgies really does have something to offer…
I haven’t had a chance to check out the video yet, but this Episcopal Cafe article links to a three-minute CNN segment on the English Goth Eucharist mentioned below.
I didn’t have to work at my usual night job tonight…
So what are we up to? M+ and I are sitting in the office. I’m doing some PHP programming, she’s listening to some German industrial [Massiv in Mensch] which she’s periodically pausing while we stop and compare plainchant mass settings… (I think she’s working on a goth mass setting for those wondering…)
Ah, a normal night at the house.
M and I have often had conversations about feeling that we weren’t born at quite the right time in history, almost as if we really should have been born at some other time but ended up now by mistake… Well, here’s the theme song for that particular feeling.
Check out the Sanctorum Mass at Church of the Apostles in Seattle if you haven’t already done so. Church of the Apostles is an Emergent experiment staffed by both ELCA Lutheran and Episcopal clergy.
I linked to this a while back and noted that I had a friend in the Seattle area who had a Skinny Puppy collection rivaling LutherPunk’s and that I’d ask him if he’d heard of it. No need to—he’s the priest who leads it… :-D
(…and yes, I’ve received several click-throughs on various days for ‘goth liturgy’ Google searches…)
I’m sorting the grown-ups clothes right now.
There’s a tiny load of white, a small load of colored clothes (mostly grey), and two loads of black…
It was awesome. It was so cool to see Bauhaus live. For those unfamiliar, they are widely regarded as the fathers of the goth rock movement. Think the Psychedelic Furs, but louder and darker. The only problem with their set was that the lead was using moves that were–with good reason–banned a decade or so ago. Bela Lugosi may be dead but cheesy camp clearly isn’t. He spent much of his time prancing around with a stick. Bad. People older than their mid-forties just shouldn’t prance around a stage… Embrace your gravitas, man!
NIN was just amazing. Trent has cut his hair off which bummed us out a bit but the music was tremendous. Lots of old favorites. No encore, but they finished with ‘Head like a Hole’; no encore could possibly top that. My personal favorite moment was when they did ‘Dead Souls’–an old Joy Division tune. M reminded me that it was off The Crow soundtrack; I’d totally forgotten about that…