It doesn’t really matter. Theology is a work of beautiful, inspirational music. It is art. It is a stand-out musical masterpiece buried in a world filled with pompous, plastic, and predictable pop. Christian retail stores are not exempt from slinging this same pompous, plastic, and predictable pop. Christian retail stores are, after all, filled with cheap knock-offs of the world’s thinnest pop offerings (radio pop garbage is at least original garbage). It is no secret: there is not much real creativity organically growing in Christian retail stores.
This Irish singer-songwriter is a woman who thinks very deeply, obviously. Yes, she splits for headlong dives into controversy on occasion. Yes, images of her symbolic shredding of a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live are still fresh on minds. Yes, she once declared herself to be a lesbian, but quickly recanted the hasty declaration. Yes, she has had a string of bad marriages and divorces and she has a bunch of children fathered by a bunch of different men. Yes, she wandered off into the bizarre world of new age spirituality for a moment. Yes, it’s all true; it’s her life. Her life is what makes Theology so raw, rich and real. This album is a work of scandalous, grace-filled art. It is beautiful and honest. Theology captures and sets to music the thoughts and voice of a woman working out life and God. She is searching and crying out for the “God Who Embraces.” God embraces her too. God knows the heart. So, it doesn’t really matter if self-righteous Christians and their silly retail markets reject this album and the past life of the artist who created it. It doesn’t really matter at all.
Sinead O’Connor has a limp … that’s all that matters. She has wrestled with God. She still wrestles with God. We all would do well to wrestle and limp.
Theology track-listing: 01. Something Beautiful 02. We People Who Are Darker Than Blue (Curtis Mayfield) 03. Out Of The Depths (O’Connor) 04. Dark I Am Yet Lovely (O’Connor) 05. If You Had A Vineyard (O’Connor) 06. Psalm 33 (O’Connor/Tomlinson) 07. Watcher Of Men (O’Connor/Tomlinson) 08. The Glory Of Jah (O’Connor/Tomlinson) 09. Whomsoever Dwells (O’Connor/Tomlinson) 10. The Rivers Of Babylon (Trad. Arr Sinead O’Connor, extra lyrics by Sinead O’Connor) 11. I Don’t Know How To Love Him (Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice)
The opening track titled “Something Beautiful” is really, really beautiful. Sinead writes and sings about an experience that sounds like conversion. The fantastic part of this specific verse is the Bible she stole in her Christmas Eve desperation to find God. No one should ever have to steal a Bible. Yes, Sinead, the Bible should have been free.
Oh I wanna make something
So lovely for U
‘Cos I promised that’s what I’d do for U
With the bible I stole
I know U forgave my soul
Because such was my need on a chronic Christmas Eve
And I think we’re agreed that it should have been free
And U sang to me
A track titled “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” is absolutely amazing. It is incredibly moving. Sinead is really sharing something really special with the rest of us in her singing of this song. A lyrical sample follows:
And I don’t know how to take this
I don’t see why he moves me
He’s a man
He’s just a man
And I’ve had so many men before
In very many ways
He’s just one more
Yet if he said he loved me
I’d be lost I’d be frightened
I couldn’t cope
Just couldn’t cope
I’d turn my head
I’d back away
I wouldn’t want to know
He scares me so.
You can read the lyrics to all of the songs on Theology online. Seriously, go grab this album. It’s a great soundtrack for the study.