Archive for the ‘Bob Dylan’ tag
I woke up two days ago to a light skiff of snow coating the grass, cars and bushes. It is the first snow of the season. From the kitchen window as I looked out at this scene, there was a sense of the numinous, a sense of more than the content of the objective reality caught by the camera and my eyes.
That numinous quality points me towards something that defies being objectified, something that transcends as well as going under and into all that I know. It is at moments like this that I get a sense of what god could be. I know that a god has to be more than me, but it also must include me. I sense that it has to include everything, not just a select group of initiated members. The air, the water, the minerals, all animate and inanimate life must be encompassed by this god if that god is to fill my sense of god-ness.
“What can be said of the gods which has not been said? Who are they? Why does a relatively rational person even refer to the gods today? What can we say, if anything, about them? Are thy naught but our projections? Are they in fact the old parent figures in the sky which we inherited from tribal history, from when the heavens were “up there”" somewhere? Are they watching us with some large book, some doomsday accounting, the purpose of which is to frighten us into right conduct? Or, can a person who believes in the metaphysical reality of God A, his god, but not God B, his neighbor’s god, still find a way to listen rationally to all this palaver?” (Hollis, Mythologems, pp 82-83)
Yes, these are questions that don’t want to penned into a corner with answers that can be put into some text somewhere to serve as a new “bible” for “modern man.” As I read this in Hollis’ book, I thought of a song I have recently played as I practice with my new guitar, an old song from Bob Dylan called “With God on Our Side.”
“Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.”
I know that, even though I didn’t come from the mid-west, I came from the same belief system. I was a Catholic that had God on his side; and the Protestant kids were left out in the cold while I became a “soldier of Christ.” It didn’t matter if they called themselves Christians. It didn’t matter about the other religions lived by other kids on the street. Only I had a chance of going to heaven. As long as I believed and stayed true to the Church. That was a long time ago. In the sixties when I took up folk music and first played Dylan’s song, I was repulsed with the sense of exclusion that seemed to pervade religions. I had tried so many different versions of Christianity and had made some friendships with others who were Jewish, agnostics, or another as of that time unknown to me religion. Like Dylan, I said to myself:
“So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war.”
Today, I can’t lay the responsibility on God to stop wars, to stop global warming, to stop all of the geological and political and economic upheavals now headed our way. God is found in all of it, not outside of it.