Now in its fourth year, the ongoing musical series titled, “The Spirituality of…” began when I suddenly realized that while some people may look to houses of faith for spiritual insight and guidance, many others look to their favorite songs as sources of comfort, guidance and inspiration.
Many of our favorite songs are spiritual anthems that flow from one generation to another. And while many songs seem to be written to a particular person, others are more like prayers for “peace, love and understanding” as Elvis Costello once wrote.
Rolling Stone Magazine, for example, once referred to the songs on one of Paul Simon’s albums as, “hymns.”
This Sunday, March 13th at 7p.m., “The Spirituality of David Bowie” will be presented at the Congregational Church of Patchogue, 95 East Main Street, with performances by Miles to Dayton; Jellyband; Chris Connolly; Bryan Gallo and Rorie Kelly.
Also presented will be Bowie-inspired art by Dave Rogers (whose work appears above); Frank P. Micari; Michael Smith and Via Anjipan.
I believe that the core of a spiritual experience, a religious discipline or a musical encounter, is transformation.
Through spirituality, we see hell transformed into hope; loneliness transformed into companionship; self-destruction transformed into self-respect; addiction transformed into recovery; and through spirituality we see hope rise like a weightless angel from the crypt of hopelessness.
I am firmly convinced that all music is inherently spiritual: from the Monkees singing “I’m a Believer” to Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” to Johnny Cash’s “O Lonesome Me” to Kanye West’s, “Jesus Walks” — all deeply spiritual.
I am equally convinced that most musicians do not embrace, or even understand, their role as spiritual guides for their audiences. They often end up, therefore, writing about silly things for silly reasons and they get silly results and wonder why.
Musicians are not only the punks, paupers and peons of society; they are also the poets, priests, pied pipers and prophets and I wish more musicians would find it within themselves to bear fruit — not only to entertain — but to feed their followers with the spiritual transformation that I believe our spirits crave.
This series exploring the “spirituality” of the lives and songs of various musicians and bands sometimes, but not always, mentions religion. The intent is not to favor, ignore, or discredit any faith tradition or the lack of one: George Harrison was a Hare Krishna. Paul Simon is Jewish. Johnny Cash was unequivocally Christian. Etc.
No matter where people are on their life journey — whether you follow Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, booze, women, men, sports, shopping, L. Ron Hubbard, Sigmund Freud, the Big Bang; or if you follow your Higher Power, G.O.D. (Good Orderly Direction), or even if you prefer to follow yourself — you are still truly welcome at “The Spirituality of David Bowie” this Sunday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at the Congregational Church of Patchogue, 95 East Main St.
We ask for a $10 donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of money.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the pastor of The Congregational Church of Patchogue at 95 East Main Street in Patchogue, N.Y. Read more of his work at dwightleewolter.com.
David Bowie painting by Dave Rogers