In older church traditions, Easter is a season. This year it goes until the end of May. Intentionally living in seasons allow us to be more in tune with the flow of the earth, the stars, and the moon.
One of my seminary colleagues shared this. The Way of Jesus is about liberation. Christianity has a lot of problems ever since Constantine legalized it. Ever since, those who colonize use “Christianity” as a tool of suppression, not liberation.
In our country, Christian Nationalism emerges to show a “Jesus” that looks nothing like Jesus in the New Testament. Their morality is skewed toward maintaining power instead of giving away power to the “least of these”.
And so, we who occupy places of power and claim to follow Jesus must decide which Jesus to follow.
I’ll follow the brown skinned Mediterranean Jew who would like be seen as a communist today.
Holy Saturday isn’t observed much in any of the churches I’ve belonged to, and I don’t know many of my Methodist tribe who do. Holy Saturday is a day in which “nothing” happens, though Jesus is still dead
Earlier today, the D.J. Awfully Sinister shared some songs under the title: “Goth songs for wandering through a cemetery”. How appropriate. People who love goth music find beauty and wonder in places of the dead. Many of us are very familiar with “deep, complicated and messy” as Blaedel mentions. Our music, and for some the goth aesthetic, allows space to be authentic and acknowledge the dark things. In this space, we are encouraged to commiserate, create, even dance and laugh. After all, cemeteries are places of beauty and dignity.
One of the songs on the list is from the band “Dead can Dance”. They are one of the classic ’80s goth bands, known for being haunting, lovely and ethereal. Here is “I am stretched out on your grave”. https://youtu.be/PflchjMxLoo
In the Christian tradition, Holy Week is an intentional journey into the multiple dark facets of the execution of Jesus by the state. It includes many players allowing to either let the oppression of Empire to have it’s way, or the few to choose humanity. Jesus is the Divine in solidarity with humanity enfleshed; incarnate. Jesus experiences first hand deep betrayal by his best friends. Tough soldiers bully Jesus to the point of being mocked and demeaned. Officials use Jesus as a political pawn to try to keep people satiated enough to ignore that they, too, are pawns in a system. It culminates in the physical: how much can one human body take?
This space allows us to face darkness. In a culture rife with toxic positivity, obsessed with preventing the life cycles of aging, and varied ways of maintaining oppressive systems, I find this space refreshing. We are allowed to feel the hard feelings. We are encouraged to pay attention to our own pain and the collective pain of marginalized peoples.
Music and art gives opportunity for contemplation. It takes the viewer, the listener, or the participant on pilgrimage of contextualizing, making it “real”, and move towards this thing called “feeling”. It moves from head to heart to body.
Goth (and goth adjacent) subculture know this. The music becomes a communal space to commiserate on pain, depression, grief, and sadness.
It is through that process that Beauty emerges. It may not look like conventional beauty, but it’s there. Humour can be found; even purpose.
As the Crow said, “It can’t rain all the time”. Resurrection will come. It might not look like what you expect. Yet there can be no resurrection without death. Growth is stunted if death and darkness are ignored. “Beauty” becomes something shallow and manipulated without this process.
There’s more than one classical piece on the seven last words of Christ. Also from the early 1990s, composer James MacMillan released “Seven Last Words from the Cross”. It’s highly discordant. It’s both aurally beautiful and disturbing. It’s haunting, and seems to reach into the subconscious.
I remember one of my seminary professors expressing some of her personal distaste for discordant music; she’s a musician. I, on the other hand, find it liberating.
If you have the space within yourself to hear, this would be a great time to give it a listen.
Perhaps it will be helpful or of interest to some. Frankly (Mr. Shankly) I need a space of creativity and exploration of the unusual intersections of my identity. I’m on a journey to embrace more of who I am.
Maybe that surprises you, considering I’m a United Methodist Pastor.
I don’t always present aesthetically as goth. I struggle with eye makeup, especially eyeliner.
Goth is a music based subculture. Post-Punk is a broad category associated with goth, synthpop, dark wave, and other subgenres.
This is the music that carried me and comforted me since my youth.
This music allows people to have sad, depressing, and mournful emotions. It also finds beauty in unusual and dark places. (However, there are some downright celebratory, joyful songs. Even the Cure has some rather upbeat pop songs!)
This blog will be an exploration of music, art, fashion and intersections of my vein of spirituality in the realm of goth, postpunk, punk, and some grunge. (I was a teenager in the ’90s in Western Washington State…it comes with the territory).