Friday, November 11, 2016

Ann Althouse and "lightweight religion"

I happened to look at Ann Althouse's blog today, just because she usually posts things about newly-deceased musicians and Leonard Cohen passed away yesterday.

True to form, Althouse had embedded a video clip from a Leonard Cohen press conference, one held last month to promote the release of his last LP, You Want It Darker.

In the clip, Cohen explains how Biblical language and imagery was part of his "vocabulary" and that, while he tries to avoid being too obscure for general audiences, he leans on the Biblical landscape in his lyrics.

Cohen then goes on to explain that he's experienced "grace from elsewhere," but that there's no "structure" to his religious impulses and that there was certainly nothing along religious lines that he dared to share with anyone.

It sounded like mush, the kind of pablum, unoffensive and unexceptionable fluff, that some people try to palm off as thoughtful spirituality--along the lines of the oft-repeated refrain, "I'm spiritual, not religious," whatever that means. (Hint: It means nothing. People who say it may as well be talking like the adults in a Charlie Brown TV special.)

I laughed out loud when I saw one of the labels Althouse gave to the post with the Cohen embed: lightweight religion. Althouse demonstrated here that you can even use labels to say something. I was sure that this must be the only post in the Althouse archives that bore the label lightweight religion.

Actually, no. Althouse has applied the title to quite a few of her posts. They make for somewhat interesting light reading. I haven't looked to see if she's got a heavyweight religion label.

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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