Rock and Theology:

An Interview with Tom Beaudoin

September 9th, 2012


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Despite often being characterized as "the Devil's music," Rock'n'Roll and religion have a long and storied history.  Our guest this week, Tom Beaudoin, has always felt the pull of that pulse and rhythm.

"Immediately after the defense of my doctoral dissertation, I went to get my ear re-pierced and found a rock show that night, as a way of reminding myself what I thought my life should be about," Beaudoin writes, " And as I have gotten deeper into academic life, staying in the rock world and playing in rock bands has only become more important for me."

In 2007, Beaudoin helped found the Rock and Theology Project.  For the past several years, the Project's central focus has been the Rock and Theology Blog.  The blog and project are underwritten by The Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, and they now feature regular contributions by over twenty musician-scholars from across the spectrum of academic specialty, instrumentation, and musical genre.

As you will hear in the interview, Beaudoin quickly discovered that neither the terms "rock" or "theology" benefited from narrow definitions.  These days, the project moves forward as an experiement in "public theology," and as a laboratory for exploring the possibile combinations of musical perfoemrance and theological reflection.

Beaudoin is Professor of Theology at Fordham University in New York City, and is the author of several books, including, most recently, Witness to Dispossession: The Vocation of a Postmodern Theologian.

Beaudoin also mentioned Rock-a My Soul: An Invitation to Rock your Religion, by David Nantais, as an example of a Rock and Theology-style publication.


Also on the show:

Katy Scrogin reflects on the Gnossienne Suites by Erik Satie, as interpreted for the steel guitar by B.J. Cole