In our recent interview with Sinead O'Connor, she shared her spiritual beliefs—some of them in line with traditional Christianity (the Trinity, the nature of prayer) and some far out of step with it (God isn't perfect, all people go to heaven). The article drew a broad range of reader responses, many of them upset over her "pagan" and "pantheist" views.
But the responses that surprised me most were those that said there's nothing remotely "Christian" about O'Connor's music. I wondered if those readers had bothered to listen to her new album, Theology, or if they had simply focused on O'Connor's statements in the interview. After all, most of Theology's lyrics come straight out of the Psalms and prophetic books in Bible, with few revisions and never out of context.
Question O'Connor's personal beliefs if you want, but if the lyrics are straight from Scripture, how can they be un-Christian? Is the singer more important than the words being sung?
It reminds me of the debate over U2's place in Christian culture. The Irish band, born out of a small group Bible study, became one of the world's biggest pop/rock acts while making regular, clear-cut references to their Christian beliefs in their songs.
Still, many conclude that U2 is "not really Christian," either because the band doesn't take an evangelical approach with their artistry, or perhaps because certain band members enjoy an occasional glass of whisky or drop a curse word from time to time. Why then were U2's clear-cut songs about faith—like "Gloria," "40," "Grace," and "Where the Streets Have No Name"—more acceptable when performed by Audio Adrenaline, Starfield, Nichole Nordeman, and Chris Tomlin for the In the Name of Love project? Because they're "acceptable" ...1
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