Monday, December 20, 2010

Sufjan Eschatology

I am amazed by Sufjan Steven's latest, "The Age of Adz." I'm still taking in all of the complexities and intricacies of this incredibly rich work. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to part from my usual ways on this blog and offer a theological response to this cd.

I'll start with the title. Given the "end times" motif of the record, I'm pretty sure "Adz" means "in the year of our Lord Z." A.D., of course, comes from the Latin phrase, "anno domini," which means, "in the year of our Lord." Since we don't know the last number (they are infinite, after all), I think Stevens used the last letter of our alphabet to signal the last day. Where infinity seems to run forever, the end is still in sight: thus, we "rot" and experience "eternal living" (two themes Stevens mashes together in the title track). Like most of his work, Stevens loves to explore the paradox of our faith.

Gloria and Victoria.

More theological ramblings (mine and his?) to come.


Lauren Cawein said...

dr. reeves,
i saw sufjan live in kansas city right after this album came out. he began the show with the song 'seven swans.' he began the show with this declaration, and ended with john wayne gacy.
i've been thinking a lot about this album and its correlation to the end times and its imagery of the cosmos. sufjan's personal paradoxes seem to relate well with the eschatalogical paradoxes.
all to say, so glad you're taking a stab at unpacking this album from your theological perspective. i've been reading so much on it and am excited to see what you have to say.

Maureen said...

I too saw the show in Kansas City, it was brilliant and I did find the storying of the album pretty powerful in person, and now even so when I'm listening. It's a fantastic album musically and conceptually! Great post, keep the music posts comin'. ;)

StLphotogirl said...

I have to admit that I have never heard of Sufjan before reading your posts. Now I am curious. I need to do a little research and listen to some of his music. Then maybe I will have a better understanding of his musical style.