Monday, July 9, 2007

Theology with Sinead O' Connor

Christian Music Today (an affiliate of Christianity Today) published an interview with Sinead O’Connor regarding her newest album. When I first saw the article, I had to take a second look, primarily because the only reason I really recognize her name is that I wasn’t allowed to listen to her when I was younger, so it seemed rather strange that a mainstream Christian music magazine was even giving her time. Before you think that Sinead O’Connor will be joining us in the local evangelical church next Sunday, think again. Her new album is called Theology, and is “loosely” based on the writings of the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms and the Prophets. And though it sounds intriguing at first, the interview reveals that her “theology” is at best sadly confused.

What’s troubling about this new album is her very reasoning for creating an album only from the Prophets and the Psalms:

“But the only time God actually speaks for himself is in the books of the prophets. That’s what kind of interests me. I’m interested in the idea of separating God from religion...I don’t believe God supports war or violence. I wanted to dig out Scriptures to show the opposite to be true”

It’s not surprising that she is coming out with an album of this nature. Religious rhetoric is all around us these days, especially regarding what God thinks about war, violence, and social justice. It’s also not surprising that a woman who has made her living glorifying base sexuality, crass behavior, and rebellion, would now be “settling down” to make an album about her view of God. She has always made a statement, and this time she is trying her hand at religion. Faith and spirituality are the new trend. Our society has so deconstructed the language of Christianity, and our Creator, for that matter, that any glimmer of the word Christian gains our loyalties and trust. Marketing God is a booming business these days, and we must not give in so easily.

Ms. O’Connor’s understanding of the Old Testament is sadly mistaken. Our God is extremely violent, regardless of her admission of that fact. But He is not violent in the abusive Catholic Priest way, or even in the violence of her home country of Northern Ireland. There has been a lot of talk about the discontinuity between the supposed violent God of the Old Testament, and the peaceful God of the New. There isn’t. The warfare of the Old Testament was fulfilled when Jesus Christ said “my Kingdom is not of this world.” So now we rage not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities that seek to destroy the Kingdom of King Jesus. Our weapons are of the Ephesians 6 kind, not AK-47’s and machetes. And we wage war against the powers of darkness that hold people in bondage to sin, so that they may see Christ. But we also recognize the power of the state to take us to war as necessary, all the while acknowledging that one day all will be made right by our glorious King.

We know the truth about the Word of God because it has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and if He had not opened our eyes, we, too, would be as lost as Ms. O’Connor. We also know that it never comes back void, even the Psalms and the Prophets. I pray that God would reveal to Ms. O’Connor the whole counsel of God, and point her to the most violent event in human history—the Cross of our Christ.

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