music | Bruce Springsteen | Civil Religion

Springsteen’s Promised Land (It’s Not What You Think)

Bruce Springsteen, a self-professed “lapsed” Roman Catholic whose spirituality draws heavily upon his upbringing, has crafted a career-long message: we, as individuals and as a nation, can transcend trauma.  Netflix gave us an enormous gift recent...

March 28, 2019

atheists | music

Sing, Choirs of... Atheists?

Since Sightings sights theisms, it must also pay attention to alternatives to them in our pluralistic culture. These include non-, a-, anti-, counter-, para-, et cetera. One thing we’ve never written about is “sung” atheism. That changes today, becau...

June 4, 2018

music | pop culture

“It Is Music That Lifts Us Up from the Earth at the Very Moment of Death”: On the Transcendence of the Popular

Editor's Note: This essay is the final installment in our six-part series on religion and popular music. The previous issues were "The Broken Grace of Leonard Cohen" by Paul DeCamp (April 13); "Being Hip-Hop, Being Job, and Being" by Julian DeShazier...

September 14, 2017

Bruce Springsteen | music | pop culture | Roman Catholicism

Finding Evidence: Bruce Springsteen's Procession from Religion to Faith

Editor's Note: This is the fifth issue in our continuing series of essays on religion and popular music. For the previous installments, see "The Broken Grace of Leonard Cohen" by Paul DeCamp; "Being Hip-Hop, Being Job, and Being" by Julian "J.Kwest" ...

July 20, 2017

James Cone | Moral Mondays | music | preaching | William Barber

Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Sound of Transcendence

In his address to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, then president of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays Movement, proclaimed, “like our forefathers and foremothers, we...

June 15, 2017

The Beatles | music | pop culture

“No One Was Saved”: The Beatles and Organized Religion

Editor's Note: It was 50 years ago today... the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of their most important and influential albums. This issue of Sightings—the third part in our continuing series on religion and popular music—...

June 1, 2017

#blacklivesmatter | Chance the Rapper | Chicago | hip-hop | J.Kwest | music | neferu | pop culture | rap | Southside

Being Hip-Hop, Being Job, and Being

Editor's Note: Today's issue is the second in a series of Sightings (perhaps we should say "Hearings," or "Listenings") on the manifold ways in which popular music intersects with religion. Be sure to check out the first installment, Paul DeCamp's "T...

May 4, 2017

music | polls | preaching | sermons | worship

"Shocking" News on Worship and the Public

The focus of Sightings is on the “public,” as in “public religion,” a concept which often leads to discussion of “church and state” affairs or “religion and public life.” The “private religion” of the sanctuary and temple does not often make news. Ye...

May 1, 2017

Leonard Cohen | music | pop culture

The Broken Grace of Leonard Cohen

Editor's Note: The deaths of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen; the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Bob Dylan; the public feud between then-President-elect Trump and the cast and creators of Hamilton; and other recent events have all served to un...

April 13, 2017