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Freedom Song: Faith, Abuse, Music and Spirituality

A Lived Experience of Celebration


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 20: For Ever and Ever: To the End of My Days


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For Ever and Ever: To the End of My Days


My life has been so varied and I have never found just one area to focus on. Now I am getting older, people tell me I should slow down, give things up; but how do I decide? Teaching has been a lifelong vocation and yet, despite the fact that I have only been recently ordained, I feel I have actually been ordained all my life. I am a priest/teacher by nature. In this chapter, I am setting out what I will carry on doing for as long as I can. Although it starts with church things, I now sit very lightly to church structures, and have deliberately decided no longer to engage with them. My experience is that they are, in general, cruel and hurtful. They are sometimes redeemed by kind and insightful people in key positions; but the hierarchical structures that men have created are institutionally violent. Just recently I heard the story of a man who was told by an Archdeacon that he was too stupid to be ordained. His response was to do a history degree!

My House

I am so comfortable in my London house. In Winchester I rent a room in a country house; when my friends, Sue and Doug Bailey, are at home it is lovely but when they are away it seems very lonely. There are few...

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