From traditional sacred music to the wailing cries of the blues guitar, this series of Theology on Tap explores the spiritual side of music and its relationship to religion and theology. So, as Bono of U2 says, if you “still haven’t found what you’re looking for,” look no further.
In Defense of the Blues
October 6, 2003
Speaker: Mr. Dick Keyes & Mr. Ben Keyes
The relationship between God and the blues has been a rocky road. Blues has been marketed as “the devil’s music” and is said to celebrate sin, evil and immorality. Christians have often completely repudiated it. We will be questioning this picture and looking at a wider view both of the early blues and the ideas of God that were part of its background. In fact much of the blues is an honest response to the brokenness of life, in which there is something to be respected and learned.
Mr. Dick Keyes is the director of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, Massachusetts, where he has worked with his wife and family for 24 years. He holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University, and an M. Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He has worked for L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and in England, where he served also as a pastor in the International Presbyterian Church in London. He has been an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of Beyond Identity, True Heroism, Chameleon Christianity and several chapters in anthologies such as No God But God, ed. Os Guinness and Finding God at Harvard, ed. Kelly Monroe. He is currently writing a book on cynicism.
Mr. Ben Keys has played in various blues, roots rock and bluegrass bands since high school. He graduated from Brown University in Ethnomusicology in 2000. He now plays piano and four-string banjo in a traditional Irish music group in Boston and Providence, and accompanies four choirs with piano, guitar or bass at an African American church in Framingham.
The Faith of a Composer
October 13, 2003
Speaker: Dr. Delvyn Case
Dr. Case will discuss the interaction of faith, the creative process, and vocation from the perspective of an avant-garde classical music tradition.
Dr. Delvyn Case (b. 1974) holds degrees from Yale (B.A. summa cum laude) and the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his Ph.D. in composition at the age of 26. His teachers have included Mario Davidovsky, Ezra Laderman, Steven Mackey, David Rakowski, Sebastian Currier, Elliott Schwartz, James Primosch, and Jay Reise.
He has received honors and fellowships from numerous organizations, including BMI, The Society of Composers, The MacDowell Colony, The Composers Conference at Wellesley, The Chicago Ensemble, The College Music Society, among others. In 1999, the extensive second movement of his sacred vocal work No Secret Hidden was a finalist for the Orvis International Prize in Vocal Composition. This piece will be released on a CD by Lawrence Indik and Charles Abramovic in 2004. He currently teaches at Boston College and Lexington (Mass.) Christian Academy.
The Goal is Soul: Pursuing God with U2
October 20, 2003
Speaker: Rev. Beth Maynard
Theologians have always interacted with the arts in forming and expounding faith; more and more the popular mind is doing so through the medium of pop culture. Out of many contemporary examples of spiritual-minded mainstream rock, U2 is perhaps the band with the most significant fluency in the Christian tradition. Working mostly with U2’s art, not their personal biographies, we will examine a few of the band’s most characteristic spiritual insights, stopping along the way to consider questions of vocation and the role of honest doubt.
The Rev. Beth Maynard, aka Mother Beth, is Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fairhaven, M.A., and co-editor of the forthcoming book Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog. You can read her blog tracking preparation of the book. She has previously published two books, Meditations for Lay Eucharistic Ministers, and The Bread of Life: A Cookbook for Body and Soul, as well as Forward Movement pamphlets, sermons, and several articles. Raised a landlocked atheist in the Bible Belt city of Nashville Tennessee, since her Baptism she tries to stay as close to the ocean as possible.
O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness: The Music of The Church of the Advent
October 27, 2003
Speaker: Dr. Sterling Lambert
The Church of the Advent has always had a strong musical tradition, and this talk seeks to introduce this music, and to explain its special place in the worship and liturgy of the Chruch. Some members of the church choir will be present to demonstrate some of the music being performed in the church in the forthcoming weeks.
Originally from the UK, Dr. Sterling Lambert moved to the United States shortly after graduating from college. After completing a PhD in music history at Yale University, he moved to Boston, where he has been teaching at Tufts and Harvard Universities in addition to singing with the choir of the Church of the Advent.
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