Your Neighbor’s Hymnal – finishing first draft – looking for songs about faith, hope and love

This weekend I am rounding out my first rough (read: ROUGH) draft of my book project on theology and popular music entitled Your Neighbor’s Hymnal: What Pop Music can teach Christians about Faith, Hope and Love. The book is under contract with Cascade Books and I hope to have it ready for press by June 2010.  If you are familiar with Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs, then you will be familiar with the way the book will flow – I am tracing the themes of faith, hope and love through 52 pop songs (a song a week) and seeing the way the artists and the culture have framed these three Christian virtues.  If you have songs that you feel need to be in here, post your suggestion and what you feel this song/artist has to teach us about faith, hope and/or love.  You might get your song in the book and name checked!


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  1. Sounds like a great book! I’ll buy one. You’ve put me in a difficult spot, though – see, I WANT to tell you that you’d be remiss to not include an entry on Sigur Ros (not sure if a specific song would be any better than any other – but I could certainly help you narrow it down to one, though; at least 2 come immediately to mind) – I mean, they have an album where they sing in a made up language called “hopelandish” for pete’s sake! – but I haven’t published my “mystical theology in Icelandic music” paper yet, so I might be giving away too much – whaddya think? I should probably just send it, as-is, to JPRC or something…any suggestions? All the best with this project. One of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments for me!

    Okay, well, while I’m at it, here are a few freebies from the lecture on pop music I put together for Dr. DeLashmutt’s theology and pop culture class:
    “Jesus Walks” (Kanye)
    “From a Pirate Radio Sermon, 1989” (M. Ward)
    “Vito’s Ordination Song” (Sufjan Stevens – or any number of other Sufjan songs)
    I’m not going to make your job easier by telling you what I think these songs are saying to us though – that’s your task!

    Ooh, one more:
    “It’s Oh So Quiet” (Bjork) 🙂

    • As usual Brannon, your musical taste is incredible – love your suggestions. Brother, you seriously need to get off the stick and publish that Icelandic music article at some point… I want to read it! I will certainly be doing some riff on Sigur Ros – is there anything about the band you could point me to? I loved, LOVED their long form DVD that came out a couple of years ago… especially the scene with the guy who made music from rocks…

      have you read Nick Hornby’s 31 songs? This is modelled on that only as a 52 song (one song a week) meditation aligned with the lectionary on the vertical plane and the cultural influences on the horizontal plane. Been a lot of fun to work on – began through my work on the Kindlings Muse podcast –

  2. Thanks, man. Dissertation first – gotta have it in by 3/31 so I’m feverishly (like, to the point of nausea) working on it. Then that article is probably first in line to polish up and send out somewhere. Then other “back catalog” (ha!) stuff that never made it out through the whole “moving back to the US/having kids/entering full time ministry/etc” process! sheez man, time does fly.

    You know, I am totally a loser for NOT having read 31 Songs – I will put that to the top of my fiction list, which is slow going these days, but will pick up steam here in a month or two I hope! (again, post PhD submission).

    Re: Sigur Ros, yes, Heima is an outstanding piece of musical cinema, a perfect way of showcasing such cinematic music! Loved it – bought the deluxe edition DVD, actually – made my band guys from church watch parts of it last time we hung out over at our house, and specifically made them watch the “slate-marimba” performance – so stinkin’ cool. Any dude who makes music w/ 100-yr old rhubarb stalks and pieces of stone has the divine spark, if you ask me.

    Be in touch, my friend.

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