April 8 2009
We have looked at inclusion in the context of education. What about inclusion in the context of faith? I want to look at the word ‘spirituality’ in the context of music and faith given that they have been bedfellows since the dawn of civilisation. This is a sub plot in my book. I ask a number of questions. Mustn’t we allow God some discretion as to whom He admits into his presence, not just one faith? Why do people come together in prayer only when they mourn their dead in war – and not always even then? Need religion be quite so divisive? Can we afford it to be today? Do we not now have to move on?
The question starts in our schools. Emma Kirk, the music teacher in the play is simply happy in her faith. Why can’t everyone else be happy in theirs? Can she talk about it in the classroom? As one teacher put it to me when I asked her how she dealt with the very many faiths that are represented in her school in Leeds, she said “We celebrate everything”. Many other teachers probably do the same. That must be much better than not celebrating anything, and much more likely to lead to social cohesion. And why not some healthy scepticism too? All of this should not worry those who have true faith or real doubt.
Can we find an answer in Music?
It’s where all people can come together. I call it the spiritual side of music. The spirit of God is in this music, or the human spirit. Call it either. It’s the music itself, or it’s the people who perform it, like you do. It’s the music that some people sing to God. It’s also the music they play for each other. As Emma, the music teacher says “ It’s the music of joy and the music of sadness. You will sense triumph over adversity and discord as well as harmony. It’s the music that carries the beat of life itself. We are going to start with harmony. You see the great thing about music is that it has no boundaries.”
NB; A sign of the times. Just published in 2011 a new book entitled FOOD and FAITH. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh children explain the food they enjoy as they celebrate their own faiths. Same idea.