February 2, 2016

CHANGES:

David Bowie: how the man who sold the world never stopped searching for God (Gianfranco Ravasi, 1/13/16, the Tablet)

He prayed, in the depths of his addictions and lacerating questions: "Lord, I kneel and offer you my word on a wing / And I'm trying hard to fit among your scheme of things."

But Bowie's quest was unfinished and it did not cease to torment him, while always enriching his art. In those days - he himself told us - he wore for many years a small silver crucifix. His was a search, a questioning, that went to a greater height and plumbed a deeper mystery than any answers or responses were able to reach.

So, for example, Bowie sought to understand the meaning of prayer in "Loving the Alien", a track from the album Tonight, released in 1984. He asks if our invocations to God hid truth within them, if religion was not believing - once again - only in an alien: "And your prayers they break the sky in two / You pray 'til the break of dawn."

The references in Bowie's art and music to spirituality, often in anguish and torment, are more than can be counted, and were never excluded from his life. "I'm a young man at odds / With the bible / But I don't pretend faith never works / When we're down on our knees / Prayin' at the bus stop," he wrote in "Bus Stop", one of the tracks on the album Tin Machine (1989).

The arrival of Jesus on earth left Bowie with a mix of hope and incredulity. Yet he never abandoned that part of his soul, he never ceased asking for a sign from God: "Open up your heart to me / Show me who you are / And I would be your slave ... Give me peace of mind at last / Show me all you are / Open up your heart to me ("I Would Be Your Slave" from the album Heathen, 2002).

Posted by at February 2, 2016 3:34 PM

  

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