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Freedom Song: Faith, Abuse, Music and Spirituality

A Lived Experience of Celebration

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June Boyce-Tillman

This book is an autobiographical account of the development of an authentic interiority. It charts the way in which the Christian faith in which the author was enculturated was refined by her lived experience of music, abuse, forgiveness, interfaith dialogue, gender and vocation (into teaching and priesthood). The author describes how music and spirituality can create a route into forgiveness by creatively transforming («mulching») childhood abuse into celebration. Her work challenges established therapeutic models and suggests a variety of alternative tools, including created ritual.

The volume is set out as a series of meditations on the themes contained in the Lord’s Prayer; it can be read in separate sections, as well as in its totality. The author’s life is perceived as a crystal that can be viewed through various lenses, illustrated by different styles of writing. These include narrative accounts written in a personal style; hymns, songs and poems that condense her thinking around a theme; and more academic reflection, using other people’s writing and experiences to understand her own.

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Chapter 19: And the Glory: Affirmation

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CHAPTER 19

And The Glory: Affirmation

Introduction

I have been in so many worlds, but I have not risen to the top in any of them. I started in music education and got my PhD in this area; but a dispute over the use of my work drove me away from that area into studying Hildegard of Bingen (Boyce-Tillman 2000b), and spirituality in general. It was the top of the spiral that had been developed in my thesis, an area which had been deleted as being too speculative for an academic thesis. I have spent much of my life in research based on these two pages that were taken out of that thesis. In the end I came back to music education and did a part of a keynote lecture for the International Society for Music Education conference in Thessaloniki.

The Journey

As part of a Greek music education conference in Athens, I developed an interest in Greek mythology. This was at the invitation of my Greek research student, Styliani. I had met a wonderfully welcoming Greek music educator in Helsinki and talked about the story of Psyche and Eros and its implications for music education. She had been inspired by this conversation and had recruited me immediately for the International Society for Music Education international conference in Thessaloniki. Then I heard nothing for a long time. My insecurities fuelled my thinking. Why did I think I...

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