Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Theology and the Man in Black
I went to hear a paper at the University this evening entitled 'The Apocalypse according to Johnny Cash: Examining the 'Effect' of the book of Revelation on a contemporary apocalyptic writer'.
As well as some fine music and lots of humour from YouTube, the paper was examining how we detect the effect of the Bible on the world, and using Cash's The Man Comes Around as a means of doing this.
One of the papers themes was that because Cash doesn't name Jesus as the Man (who comes around) he has a weak Christology and leaves his work open to a range of interpretations of who 'The Man' could be - from Cash himself to George W. Bush!
Lots of food for thought about how what we say is then heard and repeated in our culture, which has little understanding of the Gospel.
But the thing that really stood out for me was the suggestion that it was possible to tell that Cash was really reading the Bible in this song (rather than just regurgitating what his tradition told him the passage said) because he acknowledges the limitations of his understanding of that portion of Scripture.
I find this really helpful. I try to read the scriptures, and make a stab at an interpretation, but cannot hide the fact that I don't understand them at all!