Mason Mennenga


From Sufi to Simple Way: mewithoutYou's Theopoetic Faith Journey


In this seventh section of my paper, “Metaphoring Manifold: The Plurality of Theopoetics,” I discuss the faith journey of core mewithoutYou members, Aaron and Michael Weiss. Their faith journey exemplifies the plurality of theopoetics. 

The theopoetic plurality of mewithoutYou begins many years prior to the band actually forming. The band is fronted by Aaron Weiss, and his brother Michael plays guitar. Both grew up in a religiously fluid home. Despite the Weiss brothers’ parents’ beliefs being similar, their mother is Muslim, and their father is Jewish. Yet, this is only where their religious plurality arises. Both parents converted to a mystical form of Islam called Sufi Islam, although their father still identifies as Jewish. Their mother was raised Episcopalian, which muddles their religious plurality more. Despite not being immediately raised Christian, the Weiss brothers, because of their mother’s Episcopalian background, were sent to an Episcopalian summer camp for several years as children. However, their Christian camp experience was met with apathy. It was not until high school that the Weiss brothers had a more transformative Christian experience through a parachurch ministry organization, YoungLife. There, they became entranced by evangelical Christianity. Yet, Aaron, in particular, did not last long in the confines of conservative evangelical Christianity. Several years later, after his entrance into conservative evangelical Christianity, he befriended fellow Philadelphian, Shane Claiborne, and lived and served at Claiborne’s neo-monastic community, The Simple Way, for several months. While less is known now about Michael Weiss’s faith, Aaron’s is still wildly pluralistic. Nonetheless, mewithoutYou’s theopoetic plurality is solely due to the Weiss brothers’ religious plurality in their upbringing. Their religiously plural background not only incites the possibility for a theopoetic plurality in lyric but also in sound.

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