Monday, July 27, 2009


On the way to work this morning I was listening to Sigur Rós, a song from their album "( )". Much like the name of the album, the songs have no distinguishable titles - the one I was listening to simply called "Untitled 1". Parts of the song are sung in what I assumed to be Icelandic so I attempted to Google a translation. After 15 minutes spent with the steady click, click, click of my mouse, finding nothing, I happened upon an explanation from their website:
what language does jónsi sing in?
...jónsi sang most songs in icelandic but a few of the songs were sung in 'hopelandic'. all of the vocals ( ) are however in hopelandic. hopelandic (vonlenska in icelandic) is the 'invented language' in which jónsi sings before lyrics are written to the vocals. it's of course not an actual language by definition (no vocabulary, grammar, etc.), it's rather a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument. jónsi likens it with what singers sometimes do when they've decided on the melody but haven't written the lyrics yet...
So Jónsi is singing in...gibberish? What caught me off guard was that I felt moved by the "words" - or, I suppose, the music - and figured something sung so beautifully and fervently would have to have literal meaning behind it (hence the search for a translation).

I've noticed that some things - delicate, rare, eternal, mysterious - are either hidden from view or require an indirect glance to be seen. A faint star appearing only when spotted peripherally. A solar eclipse requiring a long box or filtered glasses for safe observation. A fetus hidden for nine months. The wind. Hopelandic.

Some of the most influential and acclaimed Christian writers (writers who happen to be Christian, as opposed to those who pen Christian non-fiction), such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and George Macdonald chose myth and allegory to simultaneously veil and unlock profound truths. It's as if they hoped their audience would be intrigued enough to read on, to press on, to take on the complexities of life, eternity, identity, destiny, the Trinity, salvation, faith, hope, and love since it was presumed we were intelligent enough to do so. Myth is just the vehicle to spark our interest.

John Eldredge ("Wild at Heart") speaks often on myth. He quotes:
"The truth is, we have not taken them [myths] seriously enough. Myths are stories which confront us with something transcendent and eternal."
And since Jesus himself used parables to decode the secrets of the kingdom to his followers, how much more should we embrace them?
The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?"

He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it."

- Matthew 13:10-12 (The Message)
Until we face eternity for ourselves I don't expect we'll fully understand everything there is to understand, although that doesn't look like it'll prevent us from trying. And sounding important about it. That must have been why Jesus speculated that kids were closer to comprehending what faith meant, since they haven't the sophistication to miss it.


Jared. said...

Awesome post. I love you're response to Sigur Ros.

Sarah's Blog: bookmarked.

Sarah Aubrey said...

Hey, Jared. Thanks for the add! Your website is scrumptious - I had some fun poking around. :)

Mie said...

so very true.

our culture is way too fast food that makes people lazy and always waiting for everything to come quick, easy and readily chewed.

we were made for more.

great post Sarah!