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Into the Mystic: Secular Music as a Quest for More

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For those of us for whom music is a way of life as musicians or fans, what does this interesting time for the relationship between music, religion and spirituality mean for how we think about our own lives? And how can musicians find not only common interests, but maybe even new opportunities for collaboration and employment, with those who value the spiritual dimension of music? Focusing on rock and hip hop, this session will feature practicing musicians and scholars who will explore how musicians and audiences use popular music to work out their personal and communal spiritual quests.



MODERATOR Greg Garrett Writer/Professor Baylor University

Greg Garrett is the author of over a dozen books of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, and is best known as a writer on culture, religion, and politics for Huffington Post, Patheos, the Washington Post, and other print and web publications. BBC Scotland calls Greg "one of America's leading voices on religion and culture," and his books on U2, Hollywood film, and Harry Potter, among others, have been widely read and used in classrooms. Greg is a native of Austin, and teaches at Baylor University. At SxSW Music, he is part of a panel talking about the spiritual in secular music.

Monica Miller Visiting Asst Professor Lewis & Clark College

Monica R. Miller received her Ph.D. in 2010 from Chicago Theological Seminary. She holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Fordham University (2004) and a Masters of Theological Studies from Drew University (2006). She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Lewis & Clark College, where her research and teaching focus on African American religion, religion in culture and humanistic approaches to the social sciences. Before coming to Lewis & Clark College, Miller was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Assistant Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. Among other publications, Miller is the author of Religion and Hip Hop (Routledge, 2012), co-editor and contributor of a 2009 Special Issue of Culture & Religion (Routledge) on “Hip Hop & Religion” and co-author of an article entitled “Habits of the Heart: Youth Religious Participation as Progress, Peril, or Change?” in a special issue of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences on “Race, Religion, and Late Democracy” (2011). Miller currently serves as a Senior Research Fellow with The Institute for Humanist Studies (Washington, DC), is Co-Chair of Critical Approaches to the Study of Hip Hop and Religion at the American Academy of Religion and Principal Investigator of a survey project entitled "Remaking Religion" which examines the grammar of religion in youth culture in Portland, Oregon and is a blogger for the religion section of The Huffington Post

Merrill Wade Rector St Matthew's Episcopal Church

Merrill Wade has been an Episcopal priest for 23 years. His love for music of all types and for musicians themselves has led to his participation on this second panel presentation in the last four years. In 2010 he moderated Spirituality for Nomads, which offered ideas for spiritual and mental grounding and health while touring. Merrill occasionally appears on local sports talk radio to discuss music and regularly connects musicians who make so-called "secular music" to communities of faith. Check the link below - Soul of a Musician Series as an example!

Tom Beaudoin Assoc Professor of Theology Fordham University

Tom Beaudoin teaches theology at Fordham University in New York City, focusing on the relationship between spirituality/religion/theology and popular music. He has written several books on religion and popular culture. He recently edited the book Secular Music and Sacred Theology, which will be published in May.

David Nantais Dir/Adjunct Professor University of Detroit Mercy

Dave Nantais is director of University Ministry at the University of Detroit Mercy, where he also teaches as an adjunct instructor in the Philosophy Department. His first book, "Rock-A My Soul: An Invitation to Rock Your Religion," was published in 2011 by Liturgical Press. He is also a regular contributor to America, Publishers Weekly, and Give Us This Day. Dave lives in Detroit, MI with his wife, Carrie, and son, Liam. He has played drums in numerous rock bands over the past 25 years.