Volume 9, Issue 5

Spirituality of Music

Cover Stories

A Song To Sing, A Life To Live: An Interview with Indigo Girl Emily Saliers and Her Dad Don Saliers
By Rev. Candace Chellew
I fidgeted while I waited for the phone to ring. Had other lesbians known that I was waiting for Emily Saliers, one half of the lesbian icon musical duo the Indigo Girls, to call me I’d be the object of great envy. My excitement began when the publicist for Emily’s new book “A Song to Sing, A Life to Live,” written with her dad Don, a professor at my alma mater the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, dropped me a line to say “Emily will call you Tuesday.”

Language of the Spirit: Gay and Lesbian Christian Musicians on the Mystery of Music
By Rev. Candace Chellew
Music is often an essential part of our journeys, which may be especially true for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Music has the power to speak to us in our oppression, to give us hope, or sometimes simply an escape, from our feelings of loneliness or despair.

Jerusalem, My Destiny
By Lori Heine
One song, however, never fails to rouse me from my stupor. During Lent, in the weeks leading up to Easter, our parish choir treats us to an anthem-like hymn about our journey toward the Cross and Resurrection.

In Perfect Harmony
By John H. Campbell
Just as the corporate music scene seems to choose to “play it safe” and opt to give attention to what will be accepted in the mainstream rather than uniqueness or individuality, so do many churches or religious organizations, and so does (to a large extent) society in general. Those who are too “out there” or “inaccessible” are often “left out” in order to appeal to a wider range of people. However, the Christianity I know, and the Jesus I know, do not make these distinctions. There is room enough for everyone, a place for all the players in the grand Orchestra of life.

Music and Spirituality
By Raymont L. Anderson
Music is a powerful tool that can transform the human condition. It can lift someone from the pits of depression and hopelessness to a place of peace, joy, and optimism. It can also be a dangerous tool that can lower the human condition.


Spiritual Romance: An Adam and Steve Love Story
By Herndon L. Davis
Spiritual Romance is the “how to” of how Adam and Steve and Ruth and Naomi, meet, greet, date, and commit to one another within a covenant relationship under the spiritual auspices of God.

Talk About Jesus
By Rembert Truluck
Look within yourself and ask yourself who Jesus is to you right now. Pray. Let God help you through the Spirit to understand and accept yourself. You cannot accept Jesus until you accept yourself.

The Black Insult
By Tuan N’Gai
I think it’s high time that we begin to embrace the beautiful uniqueness that IS the Black Same Gender Loving Man. It’s time for us to start refusing to be the bane of the black community’s existence. I mean, come on! WE are the cream of the crop here. Think about it …


When Religion Is an Addiction
By Dr. Robert N. Minor
You can’t argue with an addict. Arguing religion to one so addicted plays into the addictive game. Arguing about the Bible or tradition is like arguing with the alcoholic about whether whiskey or tequila is better for them. It’s useless and affirms the addiction.

Pharisee Nation
By John Dear
I used to think these all-American Christians never read the Gospel, that they simply chose not to be authentic disciples of the nonviolent Jesus. Now, alas, I think they have indeed chosen discipleship, but not to the hero of the Gospels, Jesus. Instead, through their actions, they have become disciples of the devout, religious, all-powerful, murderous Pharisees who killed him.

The Gay Community Has To Blame Itself Too
By Archbishop Bruce J. Simpson, OSJB
As I sit here at my desk day after day reading the news stories that streak across the news pages of various web sites and newspapers that I read, I become more and more angry each day.

The Political Future of Black Churches
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell
Empirical evidence shows that African Americans who believe that Christ is black are more likely to vote, contact public officials, attend protest demonstrations, and sign political petitions. Those who see Christ through the lens of the prosperity gospel are less likely to engage in all of these political activities.

When the Spirit Moves You
By Rev. Dr. Troy D. Perry
And here is the secret of God’s Spirit: When the Spirit moves you, you should first listen. And then you must act. In my faith tradition, we call it “taking a step of faith.”

Religion Should Unify, Not Divide, Says Albright
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
The people of the world can longer afford to allow religion and religious leaders to divide them, former Secretary of State and U.N. Representative Madeleine Korbel Albright told the annual gathering of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes February 25.

Converting a Christian Music-Phobe
By Rev. Candace Chellew
The band is called “Farewell June” and their debut album, 1939, has made me a converted Christian music-phobe. From the opening acoustic guitar chords of “Shine On” to the soulful sounds of profound joy in “Welcome Home” this CD enraptured me with its crisp, tight melodies, the solid, smooth voice of lead singer Jonas Woods, and its excellent, intelligent and awe-filled lyrics.

Help Get SpongeBob Out of Hot Water!
By Rev. Peggy R. Gaylord
While I was boycotting the inauguration, some self-proclaimed guardian of family values had the audacity to cast aspersions on SpongeBob’s sexuality (later on I discovered it was James Dobson of Focus on the Family). Most of us thought SpongeBob was just a sponge, and who remembers from biology how sponges reproduce anyway?

Letters to the Editor

Same-Gender Marriage

Gay Rights and the Religious Right (and Left?)
By Shannon Gilreath
The argument of President Bush and others is that the status of “marriage” should be kept intact as a union of a man and a woman because of the traditional religious connotations the term evokes. This is problematic because this type of action sees government passing judgment on the religious appropriateness of various forms of “marriage” purely out of a desire to protect a prevailing sectarian ideology. If the non-establishment norm of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution means anything, it should mean that government is prohibited from passing just this kind of “moral” judgment.

Gay Marriage Website Goes Beyond Politics to the Heart of the Matter
By Robert Murch
In answer to the controversy swirling around the issue of Gay marriage, Robert Murch and Gary Halteman have launched Civil Marriage | Civil Right, a Website dedicated to protecting and preserving the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage in the state of Massachusetts by offering a more heartfelt and traditional perspective on the issue.


A Christian’s Journey Through Cross-Dressing
By Rachel Miller
The desire of most Christians who cross-dress is simply to be accepted as members of a congregation. We are hesitant to confide in our clergy for fear of being labeled sinners, excluded from the church and separated from God. As a result, most of us say nothing and continue to hide the truth, thus re-enforcing our guilt and shame.

From the Pulpit

I Surrender All
By Sheila K. Smith
Well, here I am some 24 years later, an Interfaith seminary student, about to be ordained, and I’m having trouble writing my first sermon. I have prayed and meditated. I have read scriptures. I prayed and meditated some more. I listened to all sorts of inspiring songs. I asked for divine inspiration. I read as many articles about writing sermons that Google could find. I talked to my partner about it. I talked to my mentor about it. Then, this morning, it dawned on me, just surrender.

The Journey of Acceptance
By Rev. Eric Folkerth
Acceptance is about taking a hard look at ourselves, and not flinching from who and where we really are right now. Perhaps the most powerful prayer of acceptance is a prayer that many of us know from Alcoholics Anonymous. We know it as the “Serenity Prayer.”

Bible Study and Inspiration

Lepers, Loons and Losers, Part 9: The Good Thief
By Tom Yeshua
The good thief went beyond the horrid pain of his situation and turned his eyes to Jesus — and was set free.

An Easter People: A Meditation on the Eucharist
By Jonathan Chapman
When I was growing up, I always thought Communion was fun. It was the one Sunday a month where it was perfectly acceptable to eat in Church, not to mention the fact that my fruit juice of choice was always served. I knew that it was special, but for different reasons than I recognize now.

Holy Humor

Hymns for All Professions

Religion as Baseball