Sufjan Stevens is a singer-songwriter from brooklyn who is an enormously popular artist in the ever evolving landspace of indie rock (who is a self professed Christian). He is known for, amongst other things his musical originality and penetrating story-telling.
below are a few excerpts from an interview at The Quietus on October 12th.
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.
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 neighbor and giving up everything for God. The principles of that, the basis of that is very pure and life changing.
Church originally was a body of people and it had nothing to do with a building.
SS: I mean it’s weird. What’s the basis of Christianity? It’s really a meal, it’s communion right? It’s the Eucharist. That’s it, it’s the sharing a meal with your neighbors and what is that meal? It’s the body and blood of Christ. Basically God offering himself up to you as nutrition. Haha, that’s pretty weird. It’s pretty weird if you think about that, that’s the basis of your faith. You know, God is supplying a kind of refreshment and food for a meal. Everything else is just accessories and it’s vital of course, baptism and marriage, and there’s always the sacraments and praying and the Holy Spirit and all this stuff but really fundamentally it’s just about a meal.
And there’s the cross of course. It’s an extremely powerful symbol and it has permeated into some of the greatest art and literature of the last couple of thousand years, but it’s peculiar that people wear an object that represents the putting to death of their Lord.
SS: It’s really morbid. It’s a really morbid symbol you know. It is very grotesque when you start thinking about it. But it’s also beautiful you know, it’s the ultimate sacrifice. And I think it relates to the meal as well because it’s Christ giving up his blood and flesh as food and that then itself is the giving up of his body for eternal life, therefore salvation.