I just can't get over the music of Sufjan Stevens. I've been trying to think of adjectives that arent' hokey, yet capture the . . . holiness, the earnestness. When I use the word holy, I'm thinking of how we might think to alter our speech or our carriage when in a place we feel to be holy. In most of his songs this quality of holding in your breath, not talking loud or carelessly, comes through. In the song "Casimir Pulaski Day", the juxtaposition of holy, mundane, profane, and profound are all brought together - - the terrible news of bone cancer, almost "going too far" with your girlfriend, praying for healing at a Bible Study - - all heart-breakingly real and all areas in need of grace. This song is a wrestling song which ends with the Joban admission that it feels like God takes "and he takes and he takes and he takes." In other songs like "Sister", the beauty comes through, a celebration of a person and their particularity, which is their beauty - - she has "small hands."
And I haven't even mentioned the tremendous service Sufjan has done to geography teachers and students everywhere with his paeans to Illinois and Michigan with stunningly beautiful and factual interactive maps. Be impressed and enriched at http://www.sufjan.com