An excellent interview with Sufjan Stevens about his new album and his Christianity. Love it when artists can reconcile their musical gifts and their faith. He’s honest, articulate, and gives the slightly jaded interviewer loads of grace when it comes to spiritual questions:
Being an artist of some repute do you find the calling to spread the Good News sits awkwardly with your profile? Is it difficult?
SS: Not necessarily, you know, I think the Good News is about grace and hope and love and a relinquishing of self to God. And I think the Good News of salvation is kind of relevant to everyone and everything.
I find as I get older due to a sequence of events spirituality becomes more intriguing, though having been indoctrinated with the hard line dogma that I’d go to hell if I didn’t follow certain practices and believe very specific things, I was quite angry about Christianity for a while.
SS: Oh dear.
I suppose you could call it Protestant guilt.
SS: The church is an institution and it’s incredibly corrupt obviously, but that’s because it’s full of dysfunctional people and people who are hurt and battered and abused. It’s very normal in any institution to have that kind of level of dysfunction. That’s unfortunate. I find it very difficult, I find church culture very difficult you know; I think a lot of churches now are just fundamentally flawed. But that’s true for any institution you know, that’s true for education, universities and it’s definitely true for corporations because of greed, and I think part of faith is having to be reconciled with a flawed community. But the principles, I don’t think the principles have changed. They can get skewed and they can get abused and dogma can reign supreme, but I think the fundamentals, it’s really just about love. Loving God and loving your neighbour and giving up everything for God. The principles of that, the basis of that is very pure and life changing.