Chances are, unless you’re a devoted fan or are an aficionado of Paste or NPR, you may not even know about the fact that the rock duo The White Stripes is now defunct.
Paste was my original source for this revelatory information. I am admittedly only a casual fan of the band, although I always thought they pulled off the husband-wife shtick as well as anyone. They are one cool couple. I mean, just look at ‘em. [Yeah I know they’re divorced, but they still look awesome. ] And I dig Jack’s voice.
Both above links highlight a quote from Meg and Jack White that caught my attention:
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to….”
Naturally enough, I was inclined to relate this quote to this ongoing conversation about faith, and specifically, the church. And not only because I like comparing faith to music.
It might be a bit of a stretch [it’s definitely a stretch], but hear me out: The beauty of the quote has to do with how something that is created, something meaningful, takes on a life of its own, and that in order for that creation to continue living, it must live on in others. So, just as TWS have ceased creating, the music already created continues to take on new life in the fans… what’s more, the meaning of music (as any of you who have had a song that you have known and loved since you were a child) can continue to evolve and deepen.
In the same way, the Great Story of God/Song of God— expressed in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures— is not a story that ended simply with the resurrection of Jesus or with the vision of John on the island of Patmos. It’s a story that, like a song, a work of art, continue to live on… and must live on, in the lives of those who claim this story to be theirs (i.e., the Church).
And like a song, the story takes on new character and definition with every passing generation: although we do not presume that we can claim the music as our own without need of those who have heard the song before us, and we continue to rely upon their interpretations, we can continue to develop their work, and take it in creative directions. We can even return to the source of the music itself and uncover things that have either never been noticed/emphasized before, or (more commonly) were once noticed but have since been long forgotten.
This Great Story has a finite number of pages as expressed in Scripture, but in the hands of the church, it becomes a story without limits. It no longer belongs to our ancient forerunners. It doesn’t even belong (in a sense) to God! — Because the Story has been entrusted to us..so that we might be the living Story in the world.
So, if we lose our sense of the beauty of the Story, and continue to allow it to create anew among us… (in other words, we are fearful of and automatically reject considering new, deeper ways of thinking about the God and the Bible, simply because they sound “new” to us and do not neatly fit with what you’ve always known)… then the possibility arises of that Story losing its ability to surprise and inspire.
(And if the world continues to rapidly change, then there is also the possibility for the Story to become utterly irrelevant.)
Maybe now, when you hear “Seven Nation Army” for the gazillionth time, you’ll think of this [completely unrelated] image. [You’re welcome.]
For kicks: Enjoy! The White Stripes’ 10 Best Songs (acc. to Paste)
their best songs acc. to another person