Friday, February 04, 2005

the incompatibility of religion and rock?

'athelete' have just released their album. their single - 'wires' - has got right under my skin. they did a free gig in Oxford the other night that i was supposed to be going to until there was a ticket mix up at the last minute. they are christians too. christians making good music. whatever next. the fact that they are christians has led the guardian to publish an article about people of faith in rock (Cliff Richard, Yusuf Islam etc.) and the relationship between their faith and their music. i was quite intrigued to read this quote by the editor of the NME, Conor McNicholas:
"The problem with religion is it’s never cool. At the heart of all religions, there’s a notion of control, and that’s the opposite of rock’n’roll’.
Is McNicholas right? My experience is that rock and roll tends to squeeze a lot of people into the same mould. i'm talking about the rock and roll cliche. sex, drugs and rock and roll. it's not very imaginative. kicking out the jams and not being told what to do normally just means being told what to do by somebody else - namely the guardians of the great tradition of rock and roll. so, rock and roll purports to be all about freedom but it just replaces one form of control for another.
at the heart of the christian gospel there lies a profound mystery - that freedom comes as we lay down our right to freedom and 'submit to the father of our spirits and live'. As Leonardo Boff put it: 'obedience is the greatest free decision one can make for God'. Christ models for us the paradox that freedom comes only through laying down our lives to the will of God. rock and roll : faux freedom.

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