Meeting Metalheads

Encountering the Stranger as a Hermeneutical and Spiritual Exercise

in Journal of Youth and Theology
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This article explores the world view, social position and psychological make-up of people who listen to metal music (metalheads) and the cultural reactions to this genre in order to prepare for an encounter with metalheads in religious education and youth ministry. Only when teachers and youth ministers can connect with the world view of young people can they fulfil their hermeneutical-didactical task of fostering religious identity. Using the spiritual model of Waaijman, the concept of ‘meeting a stranger’ is introduced as a spiritual exercise for teachers to open themselves to the questions of life these students are meditating. Religious motives regarding hospitality to strangers stimulate an open attitude for a fruitful dialogue. A short theory of pain, based on content analysis of 81 songs, demonstrates not only the serious character of the lyrics of metal music but also their role in sustaining metalheads in their struggles.

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