A singer once described by David Cameron as unsuitable for his six-year-old daughter is among suggested listening for churchgoers preparing for Easter.
The radio version of the song The Fear – without expletives – by Lily Allen is recommended as a possible scene-setter before Bible study for church groups on a new Lenten course entitled Exploring God’s Mercy.
The five-week course book uses music, DVDs and podcasts as aids to preparation for Easter and has been drawn up by the Bishop of Sheffield Dr Steven Croft.
Dr Croft said he believed The Fear, with a theme of materialism and starting “I want to be rich and I want lots of money” captured a “certain spirit” of contemporary culture.
“It is not to play in public worship, it is suggested for groups to listen to if they want, there is a pretty clear instruction in the book to group leaders to check out the lyrics first and to make sure that they use the version that is played on the radio, not the unexpurgated version,” the bishop said.
He added that he thought The Fear was a “clever” song which used interesting puns.
“I think it captures a certain spirit of contemporary culture. I am not commending it as a way to think, but the song sums up a particular way of seeing the world which is very common, which is confused and afraid but also confident. I think she has captured something of the spirit of the age there. There is the kind of mindset expressed to which I think the Christian Gospel has a great deal to say.”
Allen attracted headlines last year after David Cameron revealed he had told his then six-year-old daughter Nancy to stop listening to her songs because some of the sexual references in the singer’s lyrics were inappropriate for a child of that age.
Dr Croft, a father of four now grown-up children, said he would not have let one of his children at primary school age listen to an unexpurgated version of Lily Allen.
Other additional material recommended for the course includes the Neil Diamond song Pretty Amazing Grace and clips from Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King and the movie 2012.