17 November 2013

Sinéad O'Connor's Theology

Sinéad O'Connor's album, 'Theology', is challenging if you listen to the words carefully. It's easy to overlook the lyrics, but they are the whole point of the album. Sometimes the words are straight from Isaiah or Jeremiah, sometimes they are her own, but always they hit home without compromise.

Theology
Theology
I wonder how many of you have listened to Sinéad O'Connor's album 'Theology'?

Like all of her music it's a little edgy. It needs to be listened to carefully and understood. Sinéad's life, her music, and her faith are all a little unconventional, but that's what makes her and her music so interesting.

It's relatively easy to be bland, perform bland music, and blandly follow where others have gone before. But to succeed in charting a new course, that's a little harder.

Above all, I'd say Sinéad O'Connor does things her own way without trying to please other people [Tweet it!]. And I admire that in anyone. Much of the music and words are her own (some with Tomlinson), but she also sings pieces by Mayfield, Dowe/McNaughton, Lloyd-Webber/Rice, and a traditional piece too.

Uncompromising words - If you want to hear the music you'll need to buy the album or use Spotify or similar; but here are some of the words (partly biblical) from the track 'Something beautiful'.

I couldn't thank you in ten thousand years
If I cried ten thousand rivers of tears
Ah but - you know the soul and you know what makes it gold
You who give life through blood. Blood, blood, blood...

Oh I wanna make something so lovely for you
'Cos I promised that's what I'd do for you
With the Bible I stole, I know you forgave my soul
Because such was my need on a chronic Christmas eve
And I think we're agreed that it should have been free

And you sang to me

They dresssed the wounds of my poor people as though they're nothing
Saying peace, peace when there's no peace.
They dresssed the wounds of my poor people as though they're nothing
Saying peace when there's no peace.
Days without number, days without number
Now can a bride forget her jewels
Or a maid her ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me days without number...

Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch mention Sinéad's album in their book 'ReJesus', and that's what got me listening. They point out that although it was part of a protest about Catholicism, there's a powerful message here for all who claim to follow Christ. They are right.

Questions:

  • Read Jeremiah 6:13-15 and Jeremiah 2:31-33. How does Yahweh feel about injustice and neglect?
  • Why is Sinéad quoting these verses in her song?
  • Now read Isaiah 61:1-3 and Isaiah 61:10-11. How often do we live up to these expectations?

See also:

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