Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Steve Taylor on U2 and Paul Kelly's cultural lament

Steve Taylor (I assume you're thinking this one; I mean the other one....(But around this bog, readers may well be familiar with both...see Beth's comment here) talks about a chapter he co-wrote in Spiritual Complaint, ed. Miriam J. Bier and Tim Bulkeley:

...The last chapter is mine, co-authored with my Old Testament colleague, Liz Boase, in which we explore the live performances of U2 after the Pike River Mining disaster and Paul
Kelly after the Black Saturday Bushfire tragedy. We use the Old Testament genre of lament to analyse these performances and argue that culturally lament still happens, just outside the church. Here’s our conclusion (227):
A consideration of both the history of the performers – U2’s past use of songs as memorial or lament works, and Kelly’s frequent use of biblical allusions within his music – alongside the production commentary of the U2 concert, suggests that there was some intentionality in the creation of these lament contexts. In both cases, the lyrical wording and allusions introduced a markedly “Christian” expression of eschatological hope which potentially provided the language through which new beginnings might be made. These public laments may not resemble the typical biblical lament forms, but they do form a vehicle for the communal expression of suffering and grief.  link

Amazon blurb:

Personal and communal tragedies provoke intense emotions. In Scripture such emotions were given expression in complaints or laments. Such laments are the most frequent genre of psalm and are also found in the prophets and elsewhere in the Bible. The book of Lamentations is even named for this human response to tragedy. Yet neither lament nor complaint seems to be widely practiced in churches today, except at times of extreme communal catastrophe. Bringing together biblical scholars, liturgists, and practical theologians, this book begins to provide bridges between these worlds in order to enrich our ability to respond appropriately to personal and communal tragedy and to understand those responses. "[This is] an intriguing and helpful exploration of the biblical traditions of lament and penitential prayer, and their relevance to contemporary church and society. The context of the Christchurch earthquakes gives the book a particular poignancy." --Iain Provan, Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College, Vancouver "In a world torn apart by discrimination, greed, and the ubiquitous presence of anti-Christian forces, those who live for the kingdom of God find it increasingly difficult to understand the times, much less how to feel in such a world. . . . The contributors to this book have provided the church a timely and eloquent reminder of this ancient spiritual practice for faith in dark times; and they have reminded us we need not be afraid of the dark, for God dwells there." --Myk Habets, Head of Carey Graduate School, Carey Baptist College "Suffering is part of life, and there are times when pain faces us with such gruesome fierceness we are rocked to the core. . . . Spiritual Complaint is a salve for those who are wounded in a broken world. It teaches us how to wrestle with God faithfully, in prayer and tears and worship. Far from being simplistic in its instruction, however, this provides nuance and depth on how to negotiate pain on the foundation of biblical exemplars. I highly recommend this much-needed resource." --Heath A. Thomas, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

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