Friday, June 15, 2007

Late Night Thoughts on Arcade Fire and Prayer

Briefly: there is a fine line between desperate, honest, yet reverent prayer to God, and the overt disbelief and God-condemning renuncation of God, to his face. In a way, one might say "fine line? what could be more disparate than a hurting soul crying out to God for relief versus a soul that renunces God?" Ah, but Psalm 88 proves the line really is fine - this psalm would be almost unsingable in churches today, even though it was once sung by the ancient faithful without sense of contradiction. If you haven't read Psalm 88, you might have an overly pretty-ified view of prayer. Now, Arcade Fire is a band that a lot of Christians are excited about (as well as a lot of non-Christians -- seriously, U2 and David Bowie both have taken the stage with these guys - the latter whose recent album is entitled "Heathen" while the former's lead singer has declared his Christian faith in increasingly overt ways lately). My question: is Arcade Fire singing Ps. 88's or are they shrugging off Christianity itself in their lyrics? Which side of the line are they on? Maybe others have settled this question, and I see no evidence that Arcade Fire's talented artists make any public Christian claims (which is fine in itself, even if any of them are Christians). Maybe the answer doesn't matter -- speaking as a true believer, these songs make sense, even if I'm wrongly interpreting them from my side of the line. Their album "Funeral" is jaw-dropping, and, as one post-er said, "if you dont' cry at this, you are dead inside." Overstated? A little, but not by much (though if you're over the age of fifty, I'll let you off the hook for reasons of changing generational aesthetics).