procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Monday, June 01, 2009

music and moving

a long time ago (my first post) i wrote about time, where we think it's heading and how that affects how we live today (i may not have mentioned all that but it's there implicitly).

so what does music say about time? Russell Rook writes
"Eschatologically speaking, music seems capable of conveying our greatest hopes and most terrible fears. It can transport us from the heights of heaven to the gates of hell."139*
reflecting on the type of music i like depending on my mood, this chapter has been really helpful.

because repetitive music (i like repetitive music, i like repetitive music) is about escapism - that time is cyclical, that there is no eschaton, that we all just keep going around and around with no consequences, as eagle eye cherry so well put it:
Go on and close the curtains
cause all we need is candle light
You and me and a bottle of wine
going to hold you tonight
Well we know I'm going away
and how I wish, I wish it weren't so
So take this wine and drink with me
let's delay our misery

Save tonight
and fight the break of dawn
Come tomorrow
tomorrow I'll be gone
there is a deep need in us for escapism, for forgetting that tomorrow will come with all its consequences. and it makes sense then that repetitive music is escapist, in popular music, and in Christian music also. anyone who has heard a group singing the chorus to 'How Great is our God' for an hour (as i heard a couple of years ago) has to question whether they are actually looking forward to Jesus' return.

but the Christian's hope is not escapist - it is towards a renewal of this earth, a restoration of justice and peace and true kingship under God's anointed king. platonic escapism that is so ingrained in so much Christian music is nothing more than a gnostic mysticism. we want to praise God with our songs, but that doesn't mean ceasing to exist as we lose ourself in the brahmanistic pantheism repetitive music encourages.

*Russell Rook, 'In God's Good Time', 138-148 in Stephen Holmes and Russell Rook, What are we waiting for? Christian Hope and Contemporary Culture. Bucks, UK: Paternoster, 2008.

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