when treading through a raging sea”
Rarely do the secular and the spiritual so smoothly intertwine. In this collection inspired by radio favorites and cross-genre hits, readers discover a musical world where songs by some high-profile musical stars that many would not associate with the spiritual or the religious encourage an introspective narrator. The narrator looks inward, examines life in correlation with the Bible, and recites verses that reveal personal hardships and unexpected survival.
In this collection, readers discover a large playlist, one filled with artists ranging from Rihanna to Selena. The poems possess a psalm-like quality, one celebrating song and introspection by continually praising God for his blessings and guidance. In the poem “121, #4: ‘Diamonds’ by Rihanna,” readers find hope and renewal and the advice that turning to God during turmoil is foremost. The original song’s lyrics establish self-determination and the declaration to always seek the positive: “Find light in the beautiful sea / I choose to be happy.” Like Rihanna’s song, the poem utilizes the imagery of the sea: “Some of us can drown / when treading through a raging sea.” The poem juxtaposes the positive imagery conveyed in Rihanna’s song, but the piece continues with the line, “But we learn to float above / When finding hope in God, we discover we are free.”
Readers again find the assertion of finding hope in the darkest of times by relying on God in the poem “121, #3: ‘Something Just Like This’ by Chainsmokers and Coldplay.” The poem opens with the line “God doesn’t need us to be perfect,” which introduces readers to the concept that God is a being of acceptance, not of wrath. As the poem continues, readers discover another theme that permeates the collection: be humble, and realize God is the only way, the only true sustenance in times of need. The original song focuses on superhero qualities and “fairy tale bliss,” and the singer makes the continual plea, “I want something just like this.” Nonetheless, in the poem included, readers find a more affirming message: “He made us perfect as can be, / according to his will, / we were on his list.”
In “111, #1: ‘Stereo Hearts’ by Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine,” the poem’s speaker declares, “I can imagine God being my stereo.” Similarly, the song’s original lyrics state, “My heart’s a stereo / It beats for you, so listen close / Hear my thoughts in every note.” Readers can easily see the catalyst for the poem. Later in the poem, the speaker offers another anecdote about relying on God while discovering one’s individuality and self: “But if we finally find our notes, God can take us by the hand.” This line parallels Ephesians 5:19, which states, “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” The poem reminds readers that God reaches people in their own time, by whatever means necessary, and that after they find God, they should praise him in all things, by all means. For readers seeking a unique path to scriptures and an even more unique path to interpreting them, this collection offers a very different reading journey.
For those who appreciate a more visual experience, this collection houses artwork that both explains and celebrates not only the individual’s relationship with God but also an individual’s relationship with the world around them. Fearless yet respectful, humble yet bold, this collection takes faithful readers on a journey of wonder and awe while possessing the power to reach those new to the faith in a meaningful way.