What do these two have in common?

The Beastles

Apostle Paul

Andy Crouch in Christianity Today Magazine, online, has this fascinating article from September/October 2005, called Let’s Do The Mash: The Who Boys, the Beastles, and the Bible

In this article, Crouch looks at the genre of mash-up music, and it’s comparison to the Biblical text. Crouch asserts that the same way that mash-up music draws from different genres, styles and songs, to compose a new song, so does the Biblical text, drawing on different texts within the Bible, to compose a new passage.

The term mash-up refers to a new breed of Web-based applications created by hackers and programmers (typically on a volunteer basis) to mix at least two different services from disparate, and even competing, Web sites. A mash-up, for example, could overlay traffic data from one source on the Internet over maps from Yahoo, Microsoft, Google or any content provider. The term mash-up comes from the hip-hop music practice of mixing two or more songs.

This capability to mix and match data and applications from multiple sources into one dynamic entity is considered by many to represent the promise of the Web service standard (also referred to as on-demand computing).

Also see Understanding “Web Services” in the “Did You Know…?” section of Webopedia.

This article is absolutely fascinating. Crouch says at the end of the article,

Remixed or unmixed, the Scriptures have been on my mind as I listen to the Beastles, the Who Boys, and DJ Dangermouse. Snatching sources from the grasp of powerful interests that seek to limit their use, mixing genres with abandon, taking apart and putting together a long history, correlating the most familiar with the most surprising, redeeming chaos by remixing it with harmony—this is not just what happens in a DJ’s basement studio. It’s the story of the Bible, especially the dramatic reinterpretation of the Old Testament that takes place in the books of the New. Matthew does it, with his astonishing claims that events in the life of Jesus “fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet”—cutting, pasting, and sampling from prophetic passages about young virgins, weeping in Ramah, donkeys and colts. Paul does it, remixing audaciously in Ephesians 4:7. In that mashup of a verse, Psalm 68:18’s “You ascended the high mount, leading captives in your train and receiving gifts from people” becomes “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people,” leading into a poetic riff on Christ’s ascension and the nature of spiritual gifts. In Colossians, Paul does it with pagan sources too, taking the songs of the Empire, the language of supremacy and pax Romana and even the word “gospel” itself (the gospel, or euangelion, being the message of imperial success in battle), and deconstructing them to the beat of Christ crucified and risen. The writer to the Hebrews does it, with his catena of scriptures in Hebrews 1 and his mashup about faith in Hebrews 11. John the Revelator does it, sampling the weirdest tracks from Isaiah and Ezekiel and Daniel and more, punctuated over and over by the one word that sums up the Psalms: “Hallelujah!”

The mashed up quality of Scripture, so easy for us to miss after twenty centuries of reverence for its inspiration, was obvious to the Jewish authorities, custodians of the texts being appropriated by the Jesus movement, who cast that movement’s members out of the synagogue. It was obvious to the Roman authorities who saw just how subversive it would be—so subversive they labeled it “atheism.” It became obvious to me as a third-year student of classical Greek when I first read the gospel of Mark in the original language. Written by an author who had not had the benefit of an Athenian education, it sounded as ugly in comparison to Homer or Herodotus as the Beastie Boys do in comparison to the Beatles—and yet it overwhelmed me with its power in a way that lovely Homer never did.

And the genius of the Christian movement is that thanks to writers like Walsh and Keesmaat, the mashups continue, drawing the myths of our time into the groove of the ancient text, pitilessly and mercifully revealing their folly and their beauty, inviting our age to sing along. It is possible to pray along with the Beastie Boys—maybe even with Celine Dion. You just have to mash it up with the gospel, mash it up good.

This is the good news of the mashup:

It will all be taken apart. It will all be put together. Even the trash will tell a story.

I would be interested to hear from some musicians, or those who study and know a lot about music, as well as theology.

Maybe Brent has some thoughts on this since I know he has some insights, and strong opinions on music.

Or maybe Zach Lind has some thoughts on this since he is a musician and comments a lot on theology.

Or maybe our college worship leader, Kevin Carey has some thoughts on this. I’m sure you have some great thoughts on this Kevin.