Religions In Regular Life (Via Maggie Rogers At Harvard)

Maggie Rogers was reflecting on the near-religious aspects of making and performing music when she wondered if she could study it. 

She could. 

Harvard Divinity offers a Masters of Religion and Public Life degree, which she earned in 2022. 

To her, practicing the arts is a spiritual practice. Studying how religion layers intention into everything is a pretty amazing (and, let’s be honest, well-proven) template to use. 

For my Joseph Campbell people, this is really fascinating in how they’re studying the systems around the stories. Here’s a snip from a Harvard article about her pursuing the degree (emphasis added):

“I wanted to create a structure that could last me a lifetime in a moment where I was dealing with an immense amount of burnout and friction between what I actually wanted to do and the box I felt my career had put me in,” said Rogers. “I found that in my career, even though my training in life is as a musician, I was constantly put in this sort of nontraditional ministerial position where I was being asked for moral and spiritual guidance even though that wasn’t the job I signed up to do.”

During her time at HDS, Rogers focused her work on the spirituality of public gatherings and the ethics of power in pop culture. She was curious, she said, about the relationship between artist and audience, and what that power structure and dynamic look like.

“I was thinking about this world in which people are moving further and further away from traditional religion, but yet are seeking to be connected to both something bigger than oneself and to each other,” said Rogers. A December 2021 report by the Pew Research Center found that 29 percent of U.S. adults identify as religiously unaffiliated, compared to 16 percent in 2007.

“A really palpable and obvious and potent way that we connect to each other is through culture, through social media, but it puts a lot of emphasis and power in the hands of people who are artists,” she said. “A lot of what I studied was how we come together, looking at religion and theology, and thinking largely about what are the ways in which we connect to each other, how is that done in a way that can be an agent for peace, what does it mean to hold that power, and what is the responsibility one has.”

See Kanye? There’s another way. 

Ps. I don’t know who said it, but I wrote it in my notes and I think this is the funniest thing I’ve read in a minute: “I’m not spiritual, I’m religious.” I’m stealing it.

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