I have just finished up leading a two-week intensive class on Theology and Popular Music. It was a bit intense, these classes are quite demanding--four hours a day for ten straight days, but they also yield some fruitful conversations, as the immersion deep into a topic seems to have a different dynamic than a class that is stretched out over a regular term. I was attempting some synthesis between understandings of the function of meaning(s) in popular music and the intersections, departures and challenges of theological responses to the world around us. We covered the developmental history of pop music, some of the key genres, artists, producers, managers etc., and of course, the 'business' side of the music industry, as well as the role of technology and culture---essentially, way too much stuff for a couple of weeks, but we did our best to touch on at least some of this in a meaningful way. On the final day I attempted to sketch out something of a beginning posture for the initiation of a conversation between these two elements. Posture, being the operative word, because for me, any act of theology requires a posture, an attitude, from which it springs, and for me, this is first and foremost, listening--to the other--if you don't listen, you can't hear and if you can't hear, you cannot know. All too often, in my experience, people begin with a pre-formed schema, which is then imposed over whatever it might be, and then, what fits is accepted and the bits around the edges are cut-off--negated etc. A bit of a broad dismissal of the theological enterprise I know, but I use that analogy simply to say that my approach is a bit different--I am interested in the surprising intersections that arise because of the rupture and disconnect as well as the congruity and synchronicity between various elements.
Now I taught this class whilst in the midst of what I can only describe as a major life-shift presently underway on my life. I can really fully express what I am going through--I am coming undone, in the best possible ways. This is of course, scary and exciting at the same time, but I want something else in my life and am now at a point, for a number of internal awarenesses to begin the process of making it happen, however challenging that may seem at times. All that to say, that much of what we talked about in class had resonances for me that went way beyond the topics we were discussing. Yesterday for instance, I utilized some of Brian Eno's thinking in an attempt to wrap some things up. I think Eno is insightful, he thinks tangentially and seems to possess remarkable curiosity and insight into many things. Here is a quote from him that I used,