Elijah Wade Smith
Los Angeles, California, USA
BA, Theology & Biblical Studies, Biola University
(Coursework for MLitt, Theology, Imagination & the Arts, University of St Andrews)
'"Let anyone with ears to hear listen!" Pop music as parables of the kingdom of God', under the supervision of David Brown.
Elijah's thesis aims to first approach three major objections to the claim that popular and independent music can mediate authentic religious experience. His thesis then seeks to demonstrate how Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (Church Dogmatics IV.3.1) can broaden a Christian approach to cultural engagement in contrast to conventional approaches within Barthian theological studies. Barth’s concept of ‘parables of the kingdom of God’ gives a more robust sense of Barthian revelation, and while it is unwaveringly christological, it can be used to service Christian theology from outside of Christendom. This proposal will be developed through worked examples found in a realm often ignored by theologians and academics alike: popular and independent music. In this way, Elijah hopes to make a case for popular and independent music as valuable pieces of culture and as ‘parables of the kingdom of God’, thus revealing God in a unique way, adding to the theological conversation.
In addition to his academic studies, Elijah is a Candidate for Ministry of Word & Sacrament in the Church of Scotland and serves in the Presbytery of Glasgow. He is a visual artist, musician and a contributor to the blog Lost in the Cloud. Elijah's other interests include life in active community, writing, performing and partaking of music, collecting vinyl records, hiking, urban exploration, Celtic (football) and the Detroit Tigers (baseball).