Practical theologian Christian Scharen has written compellingly of the theological significance of popular music in many books. His writing about U2 came to mind as I watched this recent video (below) of Bono singing “Every Breaking Wave” recently in Dublin to a (comparatively, for U2) modest crowd.
Scharen has argued that U2 is compelling in particular for those on the margins of the Christian church, and is therefore significant theologically, because “in U2 love does get a chance to speak.” (Scharen, One Step Closer, p. 189) Ordinary lessons in “divine” life, in other words, happen in everyday musical ways. This is part of what makes popular culture central for theological study, he argues. The practice of experiencing music is situated complexly, of course, by venue, by idioms of genre, and by the psychosocial background of listeners.
In this regard, what music comes to mind from your context? What music do you find it most compelling to talk with people about?
Tom Beaudoin, Fordham University
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