Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door: Jesus and Boy Dylan

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This discussion originated on a message board right after I saw the following movie.

On saturday night I watched the Martin Scorsese film No Direction HomeAmerican Master's documentary on PBS For some reason it made me think about what the Hippies thought of Jesus. Why? I didn't know at first, Dylan doesn't often make me think of Jesus. I realize now it was because they played a bit of the Woody Guthrie song z"Jesus Christ"

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor."
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.

I began to think, even though I was really a teen in the early 70s, I identified with the 60s. The 60s bled over into the early 70s and I was more aware than most children my age of hippies and protests and issues like Vietnam. I remember distinctly when I was in 6th grade telling my mother when she picked me up form School "we have to get home so I can see the news, I have to root for SDS today, find out how they did at the siege of Columbia."

and I did root for them too. I would chant "Hey hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today" along with the news, and my father, a die-hard LBJ fan would get upset (we are from Texas).

We hippies and 60s leftists liked Jesus. The modern atheists seem to hate him. We made him our own, you make him your enemy. modern atheists want to deny his existence, they try to minimize the value of his teachings, they want to make as though he was unremarkable, no reason why anyone should remember him,if he existed at all. But not us in the 60sl. The Hippies and the revolutionaries, even in our Marxist inspired fever made Jesus our own!

We did not deny his existed, we used him as an example to say "hey you are not living to the standards of the guy you claim to follow Mr and Mrs average bourgeois American. We said hey Jesus was a hippie like us. He had long hair. Even in our dope smoking, communist inspired LSD crazed revolutionary zeal many of us saw ourselves as the true Christians. Christians were leading the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. we didn't see Christianity as the enemy some object to hatred that we want to destroy.

We were the true Christians because we saw how the teachings of Jesus about love and acceptance and forgiveness and getting away form unjust unfair traditions that bind people could applied to our situation an and back up the social movement we were trying to take part in.

Why don't you guys make Jesus your own? Why can't you see the importance eof Jesus and his nature as revolutionary figure? You are always harping on how the OT is so bad, but Jesus took that repressive backward ideology and made it into a revelation that said use love and non violence to change the world.

It occurs to me that we had a social cement and you guys don't. We had the music, we had the causes, the war the civil rights, you guys don't have that. You have internet, individual stuff that brings you together as a loose collection of people with some overlapping interests but not a social cement to bind together a movement.

We wanted to change the world. You guys just wanted to blog about it.

I am not trying to put you down in saying hat. I'm just trying to understand where you are coming from.

The attitude of hippies and some kinds of revolutionary politicos I was talking about was really the beginning of the Jesus movement. I just think its' so odd that we took Jesus made him own and built a movement around him, and you guys reject him but you have no unifying cement to hold you together.

The fundies turn it into a question of literalism. He must have said and done all the tings recorded. and the discussion centers on that, did he really feed the crowd with the fishes and raise so an so form the dead and so on. For us none of that was important and I guess with my liberal thing I find myself drawing upon some of those early outlooks.

What really matters is what the resurrection tells us about what God will do in your life, not the literalism of the event in history. The attitude of understanding that the two major laws are about loving God and loving your neighbor is more important than knowing if Jesus really said that and where he was when he said it.

I wish you could catch the thrill of understanding Jesus as a revolutionary figure. If only he had had a guitar and harmonica.

I was astonished by the attitude of these atheists. They have no cultural sense of the greatness of Jesus at all. They don't like him. One of them had the audacity to say that Jesus had nothing original to say. He only only anticipated Kantian ethics by 1900 years. One of them responded, "O that wasn't original., other people said that he could have gotten that from Buddha or Confusions." Yes, if he wanted to go to India or China in the first century!

Jesus is the cultural icon of goodness, or the good man. IF we loose our respect for that we sick, deeply sick. These atheists aren't just skeptical they totally cynical. They just don't believe in anything. I mean by that not that that they have no ideas of the good, but that they don't believe anything can be good for them, they without hope.

Then I had to turn around and defend Bob Dylan! One guy thought Joni Mitchell was better than Dylan! He had the audacity to say Joni's rhymes were sophistcated and Dylan's weren't. Yea right:

flows and rows of angel hair
and ice cream castles in the air
and featured canyons everywhere

OOO so terribly sophisticated.

Make that cynical and bad taste.


(Woody Guthrie)

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor."
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave
He went to the sick, he went to the poor,
And he went to the hungry and the lame;
Said that the poor would one day win this world,
And so they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
He went to the preacher, he went to the sheriff,
Told them all the same;
Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the Poor,
But they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
When Jesus came to town, the working folks around,
Believed what he did say;
The bankers and the preachers they
nailed him on a cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Poor working people, they follered him around,
Sung and shouted gay;
Cops and the soldiers, they nailed him in the air,
And they nailed Jesus Christ in his grave.
Well the people held their breath when
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they heard about his death,
And everybody wondered why;
It was the landlord and the soldiers that he hired.
That nailed Jesus Christ in the sky.
When the love of the poor shall one day turn to hate.
When the patience of the workers gives away
"Would be better for you rich if
you never had been born"
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
This song was written in New York City
Of rich men, preachers and slaves
Yes, if Jesus was to preach like
he preached in Galillee,
They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave.
sung to Jesse James

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