Coldplay & Pastoral Care

Coldplay & Pastoral Care
By David Ramos

I recently bought Coldplay’s new album, “X&Y.” Coldplay once again delivers an outstanding musical and lyrical score. Their lead song, “Square One” raises some pastoral care issues for me. The song almost has an apocalyptic quality when they sing, “From the top of the first page, to the end of the last days.” What is most interesting is the chorus that says:

“Just want someone listening to what you say,
It doesn’t matter who you are.”

This underscores the existential loneliness that many experience in our post-modern society. Regardless of one’s status in society or even the accoutrements of success that we accumulate, one luxury that money cannot buy is authentic presence. What ever happened to the lost art of listening? Most people, including many ministers do not know how to listen. We speak past one another or merely impatiently wait to share whatever we want to say. This lack of authentic presence has a devastating effect upon the quality of our relationships. Parents and children speaking past each other, husbands and wives speaking past each other, co-workers and leaders speaking past each other. It is crucial that individuals become validated by the presence of another human being who would listen, value, and yes even love that person. This need is so essential, I guess it prompts Coldplay to suggest that, “It doesn’t matter who you are.” Studies have shown that the meaningful presence of just one caring adult in the life of a child, regardless of who they are, has great lasting impact upon the positive development of that child. There is a great need for people who will take the necessary time and love to deliberately and actively listen to the concerns and issues of others. Coldplay suggests that this pain can turn into a form of being stuck. Towards the end of the song it says:

Is there anybody out there who is
Lost and hurt and lonely too
And you’re bleeding all your colors into one
And if you come undone…

You wonder if your chance will ever come
If you’re stuck in Square One

As pastoral care professionals we are to create a safe affirming environment of care that can lead to liberation and healing. We do this through our ministry of presence. In the absence of this authentic caring presence people are turning to anyone or anywhere people will listen—barbers, bartenders, chat rooms or clubs of every stripe. This is an indictment upon us as spiritual leaders who ought to be in the fray of life helping others cope with the challenges they face. Perhaps we should ask God to grant us a listening heart so that it can once again matter who is doing the listening.


  1. coldplay is in my ear too. it’s awesome. i’ve been running it over and over again…
    i like the song, “message”.
    listening is one of the most unselfish acts that a person can do…it is also a gift to give…

  2. Jose,
    I bought it on your recommendation. I like “White Shadows” and “Talk” as well. Jose I think part of the power at the Latino Leadership Circle is that we have created a sacred space where listening and affirmation truly occur. Thanks for gifting us all your presence.

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