A Church of England vicar has told the Anglican community that it could do worse than learning to relax and taking a few cues from heavy metal.
The Reverend Rachel Mann writes in the Church Times that the outpourings of Black Sabbath and their musical descendants demonstrated a "liberative theology of darkness" enabling acolytes to be "relaxed and fun".
This is in contrast to your average Anglicans, the Daily Telegraph quotes her as saying, who are over sincere and take themselves too seriously.
Mann goes on to prove exactly what she means by managing to sound over sincere and too serious: “As both priest and metal musician and fan, it strikes me that the Church, especially at this agonized time, has a serious gospel lesson to learn from this darkest and heaviest music.”
Still, she makes a game effort to convince those who look to Canterbury rather than Donnington for guidance, extolling metal's intense beats, muscular vocals and unflinching engagement with death, violence and destruction.
“The music’s willingness to deal with nihilistic and, on occasion, extremely unpleasant subjects seems to offer its fans a space to accept others in a way that shames many Christians," she says.
She adds that parish councils across the land may want to emulate the ways of the headbanger, who she describes as generally “graceful, welcoming and gentle”.
Sadly while Mann talks addresses the music and the fans, she doesn't elaborate on what Christians can learn from heavy metal's own practitioners.
It would interesting how some of the more extreme exploits of metallers over the years can be shoehorned into Anglican theology.
Certainly Ozzy Osbourne has been hovering between life and eternal damnation for years, in some kind of Hollywood-style purgatory. Similarly, AC/DC's Angus Young reminds us of St Paul's injunction to put away childish things.
However, we think it would be beyond the powers of Mann to put a biblical twist on Led Zeppelin's infamous red snapper episode. ®