Pop goes the sermon

Michael Paulson in The Boston Globe:

The first sign that this is not an ordinary worship service is the pair of toasters on the chancel of the oak-paneled chapel.

Teenagers are seated in pews, eating bowls of corn flakes and raisin bran.

And, at the base of the pulpit, there is a small black iPod – not a choir member or a hymnal in sight.

It’s iSermon Sunday at Cochran Chapel, and the Rev. Anne E. Gardner, the new director of spiritual and religious life here at Phillips Academy, is fiddling with her laptop.

In one example of how clergy are attempting to use technology and popular culture to reach out to the young, Gardner is constructing a monthly sermon using songs from the iPods of her students, rather than biblical excerpts from a lectionary, as her texts. In her first three efforts, she has attempted to extract moral lessons from the lyrics of Kanye West, Nickelback, and India.Arie – three artists she had never heard of until her students brought them to her attention.

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