Relig-ish: From Scripture to Song Lyrics, a New Kind of Sacred Text

Sacred Texts are traditionally defined as writings which are either written by God, or inspired by the Divine.  But what if your understanding of “divine inspiration” goes beyond the Torah, Koran, or the Bible? Or what if it includes one of those traditional sacred texts plus other things? This video post is about embracing your sacred texts — even if they aren’t leather-bound with gilt-edge pages. :-)

What about you? What inspired works serve as your sacred text? Is there a quote that you know by heart that guides you on a regular basis? Is there a story from scripture that directs your steps on a regular basis? Does a certain song lyric play in your head and shape your way of being in the world? Tell us! We need your wisdom to help us along.


Relig-ish is a new series at Magpie Girl dedicated to exploring a new kind of faith. Come along with us as we help each other find a spirituality that fits. Click here to read all the Relig-ish posts, and join the mailing list for additional musings on this (re)construction project. Thanks for being here today. Much Warmth, Rachelle


Spiritual but not religious? Recovering Evangelical? Jill of all faiths? You might be relig-ish. Browse the posts to learn more, or click here to watch a video about our relig-ish community.

Tess Giles Marshall May 6, 2011 at 1:15 am

The very first word of the Rule of Benedict is “Listen…” That’s my sacred word. I also often reflect on Meister Eckhart’s saying “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’ that will be enough.”
And so much poetry and song. Practically everything Leonard Cohen’s ever written. Marge Piercy’s poetry.
And yesterday I was listening to Gillian Welch’s gorgeous song I Want To Sing That Rock ‘n Roll (
But I always come back to “Listen…”

Abby May 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm


On Becoming An Alchemist, A Guide For The Modern Magician: The description of the processes of The Great Work are absolutely inspired. I have yet to see a better description of the soul cycles I go through than they are written in this book. (Written by Catherine MacCoun)

Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn – My emotional bible, and the book that helped me identify the connection between my emotions and my spirituality and how every single emotion I feel deserves respect and acknowledgment because of the power inherent in each one. A beautiful wake up call for me on how what I feel IS a crucial part of spiritual experience. If not THE barometer for where I am spiritually, and what to do about it if I’m not happy about it.

Einstein’s words are frequently inspiring to me – this one today:

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. -Albert Einstein

Open my eyes. over and over, open them! (:

Music – oddly enough, a misunderstood lyric from a Breaking Benjamin song, Breath, is a bit of my spiritual text. It is actually, to my understanding, “Start hiding’ but I heard it as “Start HIGHER.” If you are going to fall down eventually, start higher each time, so you don’t fall lower than you have to. Never stop reaching. Never, ever. <3

Jessica May 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Loved this! As a poet and a lover of words, I have a ton of snippets from poems and songs that form the central body of my sacred texts like:

“whom should I turn to,
if not the one whose darkness
is darker than night, the only one
who keeps vigil with no candle,
and is not afraid. . . ” (Rilke)


“If there were no grace and no kindness,
conversation would be useless, and
nothing we do would matter.” (Rumi)


“I wish I could show you
when you are lonely or in darkness
the astonishing light
of your own being.” (Hafiz)


“I need your grace,
to remind me
to find my own.” (Snow Patrol)


“. . . hold your own
know your name,
and go your own way.” (Jason Mraz)


“Let’s break the walls down
and find how to live
’cause you and I
have so much to give.” (Eisley)

Lynn / Power Chicks May 8, 2011 at 9:16 am

Rachelle, I love this direction you’re headed in and eagerly await to hear more from you! Lynn

Cynthia May 9, 2011 at 7:33 am

My sacred text … I think I am creating my own sacred text at my tumbler as I post the beautiful things and the wise words I find:

But also last night I heard this song by jewel:

The Absence of Fear

“Absence Of Fear”

Inside my skin there is this space
It twists and turns
It bleeds and aches
Inside my heart there’s an empty room
It’s waiting for lightning
It’s waiting for you
And I am wanting
And I am needing you here
Inside the absence of fear
Muscle and sinew
Velvet and stone
This vessel is haunted
It creaks and moans
My bones call to you
In their separate skin
I make myself translucent
To let you in, for
I am wanting
And I am needing of you here
Inside the absence of fear
there is this hunger
This restlessness inside of me
and it knows that you’re no stranger
you’re my gravity
My hands will adore you through all darkness aim
They will lay you out in moonlight
And reinvent your name
For I am wanting you
And I am needing you here
I need you near
Inside the absence of fear

As I have finally been able to expunge my life of the fear that my former religious life instilled in me, I am ready to invite Godde back into this space, this space that is the absence of fear. This is my new worship song.

Leah May 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

This is wonderful. I believe we can find sacred texts almost everywhere. God and the universe are always speaking, and we so rarely listen. For the past several years my sacred texts have been the poets, like Jessica – Rumi, Rilke – Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, and new ones all the time, like Suheir Hammad. I always have a book of poetry on the go, and even if I take just one moment, read just one line, with an open heart – I am filled with wonder and truth for the day. It seems to me like the poets devote more time in their lives to being still and observing and recording beauty – and I so desperately need that in my life.

I haven’t read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dissident Daughter (I will have to find it), but I have read her When the Heart Waits – a pivotal book for me.

Heather May 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

First I am new to your site.. Can I tell you I love the name Relig-ish! Love it! I love quotes, music books etc.. The quote I am loving a lot lately is

Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible!

God does not call those who are qualified he qualifies those who are called.

and many others!

Michelle May 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

For me, I hear the Divine in music or poetry, and almost none is as strong as Alanis Morissette. A person may think she is singing about a relationship with another human being, but not me. I would like to believe her words are the Divine, speaking to me.

You Owe Me Nothing In Return by A. Morissette
I’ll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance if you want it
I will give you encouragement to choose the path that you want if you need it
You can speak of anger and doubts your fears and freak outs and I’ll hold it
You can share your so-called shame filled accounts of times in your life and I won’t judge it (and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

You can ask for space for yourself and only yourself and I’ll grant it
You can ask for freedom as well or time to travel and you’ll have it
You can ask to live by yourself or love someone else and I’ll support it
You can ask for anything you want anything at all and I’ll understand it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

I bet you’re wondering when the next payback shoe will eventually drop
I bet you’re wondering when my conditional police will force you to cough up
I bet you wonder how far you have now danced you way back into debt
This is the only kind of love as I understand it that there really is

You can express your deepest of truths even if it means I’ll lose you and I’ll hear it
You can fall into the abyss on your way to your bliss I’ll empathize with
You can say that you have to skip town to chase your passion and I’ll hear it
You can even hit rock bottom have a mid-life crisis and I’ll hold it
(and there are no strings attached)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it’s my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

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