Where is the love?

Thinking about popular music and theology at yesterday’s “Music Theology” day (popular music notable as being largely absent) got me thinking about music as a means of teaching RE. I realised that Where is the love? by the Black Eyed Peas is the song I’ve used most in my teaching, on a whole range of topics.

Having taught about love, it is obviously relevant, but it is also pertinent to teaching about evil, suffering, equal rights or prejudice and discrimination, community cohesion, peace and conflict, charity, poverty, forgiveness, and many more. You can go through the lyrics and map these topics onto them. To make it even better, it has a thought-provoking video.

What is interesting about the song is that it poses a question, and doesn’t answer it. Not only is the song catchy (or ‘engaging’ in teacher talk), but it also has an icon, the question mark in the video. And that’s before we even think about the lyrics.

It poses a genuine challenge to students (and teacher’s alike – I don’t think I can answer the question!) and provides an opening for discussion.

Personally, I particularly like the lines:

The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love

having an interest in where music can help us to reach the truth, whether that is a truth that is expressible in words or not.

The whole song expresses an unease with today’s world, and is an anthem of change. It calls for a better world, where people show love.

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