Thought for the Week – 30th July 2023
The Complaint of Sinead O’Conner
I am largely a stranger to Pop music, but even I was aware of Sinead O’Conner. She led a rumbustious life, scared by abuse, mental illness and trauma. Through this she produced music that people wanted to listen to, music which spoke to them. Largely an outsider, she was also a leader of popular culture.
One of the more intriguing features of Sinead’s life was the way that faith was central to it. She rejected the traditional Roman Catholicism of her native Ireland; a religion that, at least in some quarters, had become complacent and which had become used to deference. After various adventures on its fringes, including becoming ordained in a breakaway Roman Catholic group, she eventually converted to Islam. I have some doubts whether she was any more comfortable with the certainties of the Imans than she was with the preaching of priests. However, I do not doubt her belief in God; she spoke of how “living with the Devil”, I think a comment on her troubled life, made her more aware of God. She instead complained “that real God and religion are two different things and that religion is trying to obscure what God really is.”
At its best, religious practice works to point us towards the real God, the God who, I as a Christian, would say is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. But I am aware that this is often far from the case; Sinead’s experience of religion is a common one. I have a feeling that her complaint is one that Jesus himself would agree with.
Rev David Poyner