Leaving Church

An oddly involving little book called Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor.

Ms. Taylor is an Episcopal priest who has left active priesthood to become an academic.

Not exactly a thrilling premise for a narrative, I hear you say, but it is little tales like this which interest me most. Taylor's prose is well-crafted and, for the most part, unpretentious (there is some rather irritating nature writing, but some people like that kind of thing).

For the most part it is an honest and engaging account of one person's faith journey, and I loved reading about her encounters with Native American Shamanism, and her struggle to come to terms with the uglier associations of contemporary Christianity. This is really quite a gem, and perfect reading for anyone interested in contemporary spirituality.

Thoroughly recommended.

Prefab Sprout

Now if ever there was an cultish, intellectual and listener-friendly 80s pop group, it was surely Prefab Sprout.

The utterly adorable Paddy was an ex-priest with a whimsical line in lyric writing, and created some of the most sublime pop tunes, not just of the 80s, but EVER. They weren't very big in Australia, having only a minor hit with the exquisite Appetite, a paean to physical longing and failed vows.

I urge readers to rush out and get their hands on a copy of Prefab Sprout's greatest hits collection - you'll need never listen to anything else.

The Sprout reached the very pinnacle of Pop perfection with their timely song Cars and Girls, a sort of pop-cultural analysis of Bruce Springsteen and American easy-listening rock. The analysis continued with their witty send-up of American music in general, The King of Rock and Roll, which contained that perfect song lyric "Hot dogs, jumping frogs, Albuquerque..." Way back in the day, I had my own radio show on a college radio station, and would host a star-studded hour or so of truly catholic muscial exploration. I'd play, back-to-back, Kylie Minogue, The Hard-Ons, Doris Day and Malcom McLaren. Ah, those were the days....But my show opener was always the ethereal Prefab Sprout slow song When Love Breaks Down.

And songs don't get any sadder, or any more beautiful than that.
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