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Parables and Concerts: An Invitation

By September 15, 2017 No Comments

Last Friday I took my kids to see U2 on their Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour. My kids have grown up listening to U2 because my wife and I make them listen to the music we like. We’re sort of music dictators. My son, who is 13, was wearing a Nirvana t-shirt—one guy stopped and asked if he could take his picture. U2 is one of the last of the iconic bands. They came on the scene before Napster, before music streaming, before youtube—and their songs inspired a generation. (Who are now in the 35-55 age range judging by the crowd.) They’re getting older, obviously, but the music and the message were familiar. My kids loved it.

Music plays an important role in the immanent frame of secularity. Concerts are the place where many people go to experience transcendence. The poetics of music opens up a different way of seeing the world—a different way of framing our lives. Sure, there’s more crappy music than good stuff, but the good stuff still matters. They function as secular parables revealing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world in need of faith, hope, and love.

This October Perspectives Journal will once again be holding an “event”—second annual if you’re keeping track. My good friend Luke Hawley, the creative impetus for The Ruralists and Perspectives board member, will be giving a concert at the Western Theological Seminary chapel on October 12. The show will begin at 7:30 pm. Luke will sing some of his original songs, and he’ll talk about the intersection of music and faith. Spread the word – we hope to see you there!


Jason Lief

Jason Lief teaches Practical Theology at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He served as editor of Reformed Journal for many years and was one of the original bloggers on the RJ blog. You can find more of his writing at

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