Prince died today. A lot of us are torn up about it. As am I.
Prince’s turn to faith became a bit of a punchline in the last few years; he was openly and unapologetically a Jehovah’s Witness. Side note: if you try googling “Prince and Faith” you’ll get many fan sites for Broadway star Faith Prince, which is not what I was looking for, but I welcomed nonetheless.
He was raised Seventh-Day Adventist, and converted to Jehovah’s Witness in 2001–apparently, he was spotted going door-to-door in 2003 in Minneapolis, distributing copies of The Watchtower. And there’s no shortage of commentary and criticism that has trouble reconciling the guy who wrote “Dirty Minds” with this part of his life.
Breaking the mold is sort of the point; there is no such thing as the archetypal follower of Jesus. And Prince put that out there.
I think the most fascinating exploration of Prince and his faith comes in Kevin Smith’s story of what happened in a week spent at Paisley Park filming a documentary. His fannish admiration of Dogma is pretty cool, as is the stuff he found in there that the director didn’t entirely intend to plant. There’s more to the story, but the interesting parts start there.
The way this story is told, and indeed, how Prince talks about God and Jesus, really speaks to how the Gospels are presented–four perspectives, some radically different from one another, to allow for discourse and shading and contrast. We live in the controversy of differing interpretations; that’s a big part of our story.
Give it a play; we love and will miss you, Prince.