Cohen is appropriating biblical figures—David, Samson, the Holy Spirit—to express his own spiritual doubts and evoke the same in the listener. When much Christian discourse is geared toward providing “answers,” this use of Scripture to underscore questions is undeniably transgressive. Olasky is probably concerned that it will undermine Scripture’s integrity and authority. But I would defend Cohen’s transgressive use of Scripture insofar as it is a corrective against another kind of abuse. There is a sense in which insistence on “answers” and a narrow definition of orthodoxy can squeeze the complexity out of the biblical narrative. Doubt and frustration are native to Scripture, and Cohen’s lyrics reassert its interrogative dimension, reminding us that God poses a challenge to our understanding.
It does matter, after all, which you heard
There is no direct U2 content in this post from Fare Forward, other than that Bono has done a cover of the song in question, but it may be of interest to readers alert to arts that work with spiritual themes but do not have the goal of making a theological superstructure explicit. The article looks at a truly ham-handed rewrite of lyrics to Leonard Cohen's over-played "Hallelujah" to make it conform to a particular Protestant vision of what David should have thought and done. While graciously appreciating some aspects of the "revised" text, the piece also asks great questions about the merits of reflecting complexity, sexuality, and brokenness in art that has an eye open to God. Excerpt: