RSS

Tag Archives: religion

Music Is My Religion

Whenever I am getting to know anyone I always have to know what music they are into. It comes as no surprise then that most of my friendships are deeply rooted in shared musical tastes and memories. I’m automatically drawn to people that have the same music taste as me. It’s likely if your music taste is better than mine that I’m probably going to become a bit of a groupie. For real. For me, music is more than just a set of notes put together. Music is soul, passion, feeling, melody, harmony, and beauty. It is complexity. It is simplicity. It is its own. If you have a great taste in music I’ll probably fall in love with you a little bit.

One of my favourite songs from 2012 is ‘Bad Religion’ by Frank Ocean off his Grammy award winning Channel Orange album. Not only is it sonically perfect but it’s one of the rawest, most sincere, honest and well written songs that I listened to last year. ‘Bad Religion’ is a song about unrequited love.  As Frank Ocean sings:

It’s a bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you. Only a bad religion could have me feeling the way I do about you.’

When I’m not singing obnoxiously and horribly out of key into my clenched fist to it ’Bad religion’ tugs gently at my heart strings. I feel it. When I listen closely to it, trigger’s all sorts of emotional impulses. Listening to music is a uniquely personal experience. As listeners we relate to musicians in a way we rarely do with other types of artists. Hearing it in a car or while rocking headphones is even more intimate.

While I don’t consider myself to be particularly homophobic, if you had asked me before if I would ‘feel’ a song about a man falling in love with a man I probably would have said no. I would have argued that the song wouldn’t resonate because I’ve never fallen in love with a man. But even though I can’t relate to that aspect I love the song because I can feel Frank Ocean’s heart and soul pouring out in that song. The theme of unrequited love also resonates. We have all been there. The song, as all great art is supposed to do moves, inspires, resonates, and reverberates. Feeling it isn’t a political statement or an expression of my level of personal progression. I like it because I like it. Simple as that.

I hadn’t listened to ‘Bad Religion’ in a long time but my iTunes wasn’t having any of that and it shuffled it right back into my ears. Whilst listening to it I was again I found myself focusing on the use of ‘bad religion’ as a metaphor for unrequited love. As is the case with metaphors the religion being referred to here is obviously not the traditional religion i.e.  Your Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim, Hinduism etc. Furthermore Frank Ocean calls unrequited love a bad religion. In the case of traditional religion, adherence to a specific religion often means other religions are regarded bad religions. Religion subsequently becomes a breeding ground for superiority complexes and snob conversations. This has more to do with differences dogma, principles, rules and regulations. What all religion has in common is that that is not the religion the person abides to is a bad religion. As I pondered this I found myself asking myself what is my ‘religion’?

Well for me, it’s music. Music is my religion. How does this work?  I’m the kind of person who appreciates and loves a broad spectrum of music.My taste in music is eclectic. MGMT’s ‘Electric Feel’ is just as dope as any of the 1000’s of Hip Hop songs that make up most of my music library. Same with Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ or James Blake ‘The Wilhelm Scream’. I try not to discriminate because I’ll miss out on too much.

 

This doesn’t always translate into respecting other people’s views and means for listening. In situations where other people’s musical tastes are different to my own I tend to judge their tastes. I am not proud of it. I try not to judge but I can’t help it. It’s hard not to. For example I just don’t get people who are into heavy metal rock. You can’t tell me screaming and making a guitar screech incoherently is good music. Just because you have a bunch of tone deaf ignoramus’s listening and buying it doesn’t make it music … Ya Bish! It probably makes it trash. OK. That was harsh. I apologise. See what music made me do? Two people with vastly different tastes in the same thing can get along. Clearly.

So music is my religion. Clearly. It’s uplifting and encouraging. It can also can be as divisive as regular religion to me.

Anyway. May the record state that I never said anybody was wrong or right. Its religion, we will all find out when we’re dead.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Me, Myself and Faith

Why am I writing this? People sometimes ask me if I am religious and when I say “No, but I am a believer and I am big on faith.” They sometimes look confused. This is my attempt at an explanation.

I grew up in the church and my whole life I have been around a lot of church folks. This means I am intimately familiar with places where dogma supersedes reason. Religion displaces faith. Authority cripples freedom. Oppressive rules bend characters into worrisome places. Intellectual shifts in thinking are abandoned in favour of hyper-emotional encounters. Where people get lost in doctrine because they hope to find themselves.

I can spot inauthenticity easily because I have met so many who have adopted it as their modus operandi. I have been that person. It’s not that you intentionally set out to be inauthentic. It’s just that somewhere along your journey you start believing that, inauthenticity is the gateway to paradise. Except it’s not. Dwelling in inauthenticity is the quickest way to ensure you will experience hell on earth.

As I’ve grown older, my relationship with spirituality has become simpler. Conversely my feelings about institutionalised religion have become increasingly complex so much so that in my early twenties I became so disillusioned that for the better part of five years I did not see the inside of any house of worship. Consequently I’m big on Faith and not particularly interested in Religion. Much of this is because I look at the inertia and lack of dynamism that religion embodies and don’t believe that’s what God intended for man to establish. Then I remember my frailty and fallacies. Who am I to say or even speculate what God intends?

I have come to discover that true faith is freedom. It grants you the audacity to be who you are. It gradually disempowers everything within you that’s contrary to who you are destined to be. This faith teaches you that when you err, your mistakes don’t have to be fatal. That every failure is an opportunity for God to build you up, rather than a ceremony for God to break you down.

We all have faith in something – whether it’s God, science, institutions, ideologies, and/or our own conceptions of the world. We all have faith.  The thing about faith though is that it’s not concrete and secure and straightforward. This is because faith is about being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Faith is hard work. Faith, is a practice and a habit like many things one can embody. Faith is also having to place your trust in the knowledge that something much bigger than you plays a role in your destiny. Faith is an admittance that neither you nor any other human being or entity is completely in control of all the things that go on around you.

Faith can be disappointing, at least in the heart of difficulties and uncertainties. If you believe nothing else about faith, believe that it is the hardest thing to hold onto when you need it the most. Paradoxically, as it’s been said, faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding onto. And sometimes, you’ll even think all is lost. You’ll think that you have failed and whatever battle you were fighting has come to an end; you’ll think that you have been defeated. You’ll think that your faith has failed you.

Faith is a personal journey and in it, you are given choices about what you believe. Even when I have lost something I worked hard for, and suffered through, and believed in my heart of hearts that I would get, I have found that what was prepared for me was something much greater than I could have imagined. Consequently I have always felt like a winner when challenges have come to pass. Faith has taught me that everything that happens in our lives is part of a grander design.

But my faith, though personal, has made me realise that no one is meant to suffer alone and face challenges alone. Indeed, no matter what I have faced or what those close to me have faced; in my imperfect understanding and fragile faith, I have found that somehow, someway, God has managed to be exactly and perfectly on time. That is my story of faith thus far. The struggle is to remember this the next time I face another struggle, and to never lose faith.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,