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Report of meeting on 10th July 2014

Contemporary Spirituality & Popular Music

SAIF met on once-familiar territory for this summer event. Because of a change of day to Thursday for this meeting, the Friends Meeting House was unavailable to us, so we met in the newly-refurbished Stratford Methodist Church. This was the venue for all the early planning meetings before SAIF was truly launched in 2009.

For this meeting our speaker was the Revd Dr Vaughan Roberts, Rector of the Warwick Team Ministry and Rector of St Mary’s Church, Warwick. Vaughan has long had an interest in popular music of all sorts, and in particular its relationship to religion, so SAIF was happy for him to change from the advertised focus on Dr Who and popular culture. During a wide-ranging reflection he played three recorded pieces of music which helped us to think about the issues described in his handout, which is reproduced below.

Christopher Lamb

Contemporary Spirituality & Popular Music

Vaughan S Roberts

Music & Religion: Common Ground

  • embodied practice – music affects our bodies and embodiment acts as a rich cultural metaphor in pop music
  • ritual – habitual and ritualised behaviour is characteristic within individual and communal listening practices
  • connectedness – popular music often involves fandom and friendship, and its links with social media highlight and extend these aspects
  • transcendence – many fans of popular music speak of how it is ‘uplifting’ or it ‘takes you to another place’.

Questions for reflection

  1. Music and the public sphere - How have you noticed the place of religion and spirituality changing during your lifetime, and how do they correspond to    any changes that you’ve seen in the role of music?
  2. Music and the reflexive self - Where do you find your personal sense of security? What role do faith and spirituality play in that? What role does music    play? Are they similar?
  3. A spirituality of music - What words would you use to describe how music makes you feel? Do they have spiritual implications or associations?
  4. Into the future - How can faith communities better engage with the ways in which we use music in our contemporary world?
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