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For episode 100 of Reconnect, Andy interviews Joe Bongiorno, about his illustrated rock lyric book, Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics, Vo1. 2: Songs of Protest and Apocalypse. Bongiorno’s book explains the lyrics of Black Sabbaths’ 2nd album, Paranoid. Some listeners might be shocked to hear about a Black Sabbath themed episode of a podcast dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and if that is the case, please go back to episode 68 where Andy interviewed Joe about Volume 1.
Bongiorno explains how Paranoid is a collection of songs that are “ultimately polemics infused in the discourse of apocalyptic literature (with implications both ancient and modern), there is the every-present reminder that there is hope and a greater purpose at work.”
In their album Paranoid, Black Sabbath challenges us to consider the nature of war, evil, depression, addiction, and the failures of transhumanism. They warns us against aligning ourselves with Satan, and instead point us to hope in the supernatural king that will take earth under his wings. As Bongiorno demonstrates that the imagery of Geezer Butler’s lyrics is knowingly derived from the Bible, it becomes clear that Black Sabbath’s album Paranoid is calling us to repentance, a turning from a sin and a turning to God and the salvation that he alone can bring.
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Joe Bongiorno is the owner and operator of The Royal Publisher of Oz. He serves as the guest for the 2016 Reconnect Halloween Special to discuss Supernatural Horror in Music, the subtitle for his book, Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics Volume 1.
For many Reconnect listeners, it might come as a shock that a podcast dedicated to sharing and defending the Good News of Jesus Christ has an entire episode devoted to the lyrics of Black Sabbath, much less a Halloween special episode, however, Bongiorno took a surprising approach on how to start his eight volume anthology. Even before the inside title page, publisher information, copyright listings, ISBN numbers, and table of contents, the first words are from the Bible. Bongiorno chose to start Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics by quoting, Acts 26:17-18: “I am sending you to them to open their eyes so that they may turn away from darkness to the light, away from the power of Satan and to God.” This is not what most people would think about to describe a rock n roll band, and certainly not what they would first think of for Black Sabbath.
Bongiorno shares the distinctions between supernatural horror and natural horror and explains examples of supernatural horror within Black Sabbath’s first album. The horrors and consequences of the occult are revealed, a Christ-like figure emerges as a wizard that demons fear, the devil woos a woman he loves (or is it all deception?), while the wicked world spins on a man receive omens in the sky that he ignores to his and our peril, while all along at the center of the album, the “wall of sleep is lying broken” as the “sun shines in, you have awoken.” There is hope. There is light.
The centerpiece message of “Behind the Wall of Sleep” contains what Bongiorno thinks is the underlying philosophy of Black Sabbath’s full body of work: “Now from darkness, there springs light.” Over, and over, and over again, light triumphs over darkness in the metanarative of Black Sabbath’s lyrics. Paul echoes this sentiment pointing us back to creation and the renewal of man that comes through Jesus Christ: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
First Reconnect July Fourth Special! Andy discusses the concept of “Christian Freedom” with Pastor Samwise Praetorius (Samuel Schuldheisz) by addressing the eucatastrophes of fairy stories and the Gospel connections that can be made with rock songs. They both share their top three favorite rock songs to use for sharing the Gospel. If you don’t know how that’s possible, you need to give this episode a listen.
Videos of Andy and Pastor Sam’s favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll Evangelism Songs:
Please listen to episode before watching these videos of our favorite rock songs to use when sharing the Gospel. I’m keeping the song titles and bands a secret on this page to not spoil the fun when listening to the episode. We’d love to hear your feedback on our approach and song selections. If the linked videos are ever removed, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to notify me.
Andy’s third favorite rock song for evangelism
Andy’s second favorite rock song for evangelism (the studio version is better but here you can see the drummer in action)
Andy’s top favorite rock song for evangelism
Other Episode links: