The Liturgical Archipelago: Jonathan Meiburg

The Liturgical Archipelago: Jonathan Meiburg

Jonathan Meiburg is a musician who writes and records with the band Shearwater. He also has traveled to the remote ends of the earth to explore wildlife and landscapes few humans have seen. In this wide ranging conversation, we talk about the human moment - a mere blink in geologic history - and why we work so hard to create meaning in the midst of the wilderness we live in.

Meiburg was raised as an Episcopalian, and is candid about the moment he felt himself fall away from his childhood faith. But that does not mean he has turned his back on miracle and mystery, as our conversation unfolds.

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Shearwater's recent album is Jet Plane and Oxbow, a collection of songs inspired by the angular viewpoints and sawtooth waves of 80s music like David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Peter Gabriel. 

Meiburg's music career has spanned the past fifteen years. Parallel to that period, he has pursued a second passion - exploring the most remote locations on the planet, to interact with wildlife that few humans have ever seen.

This passion for nature and geography flows back into his music. His band is named for a type of bird, and he is currently at work on a book that will chronicle the history of yet another bird, the striated cara cara.

In the program, Meiburg is candid about his complex approach to both science and spituality. "I don't see them as so much an either/or," he says. 

Meiburg's openness to dwell in the mysteries of both the visible and the invisible worlds has garnered a growing fan base for his music. However, the creative process is not always straightforward. For the most recent album, it is reported that Meiburg wrote at the top of the lyrics pages, "remember to write like a human."

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