Happy New Year and we may as well start it off with one of the most beautiful poems ever written; Bob Dylan's "Forever Young."
Dylan was in the news recently for being charged with "hate speech" by Croatians in France, which probably says more about the hypersensitivity of some Europeans than it does about Bob Dylan. Here is a quote from CBC News on the "offending" quote, in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview.
Speaking about race relations in the United States, Dylan was quoted as saying: "If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."
Really, I don't think Bob Dylan has ever meant to imply hate for anyone.
Dylan is one of my heroes, and not all of my heroes are Christians; but they all inspire us with the breathtaking beauty of this world and the hope that we can overcome its tragedies, past, present and future.
Here are two more of my heroes and some comments from them.
Dr. Paul Nelson has a Ph.D. from University of Chicago (1998) in the philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory. And he is well loved for his participation over the years, in a most inspiring series of DVDs, produced by Illustra Media, that really do show us the breathtaking beauty of this world.
I attended Dr. Nelson's intelligent design lectures in Edmonton last fall and one of his interesting comments was on one of the books by the late great Harvard University paleontologist Stephen J. Gould. The book was a collection of Gould's essays in "Natural History" magazine titled "The Panda's Thumb."
In "The Panda's Thumb", Gould discussed that the Panda's thumb is really poorly designed because it cannot oppose the other fingers and that one of the reasons evolution is true, is that an intelligent designer or God would just not do things this way.
Dr. Nelson had a few interesting comments on this and one of them was, even though we all do this, reflecting on what God would or would not do, is really not a scientific or "strong" argument at all. And the other comment was concerning Nelson's own independent research on the Panda. On further study, Nelson found that the Panda's thumb can allow it to easily strip eucalyptus leaves, and since this is all the Panda can eat, appears to be "perfectly" designed (for the Panda) after all.
Another of my heroes, is CKUA's host of the radio show, "The Road Home", well known Edmonton broadcaster, Bob Chelmick. In his radio show, Bob always inspires us, through poetry and music, with the breathtaking beauty of this world.
Here is a link and a quote from CKUA's web page on "The Road Home", including a wonderful sample audio file, where Bob answers 11 year old Jess's question: "Are you a Christian?"
Bob responds with great kindness and sincerity "I don't think this is a simple question Jess, that can be answered with a yes or no." (Bob grew up in a Christian home and going to church.) He says "When we look around, as you must on your farm, and see the miracles, that are happening every day, every moment of every day, you begin to appreciate that concept of infinite intelligence. No boundaries, no narrowness of path. And you begin to read the scriptures, whatever path, whatever practice you're on, and see where the wisdom is in those scriptures and to what degree it's there. But above all you know, that which has created the universe, he or she, has no boundaries, no narrowness of vision. And for me, when one scripture says no one enters the kingdom but through me, that me is no longer an individual, a narrow concept, but a level of consciousness, that each and every great prophet, avatar, worldly expression of purity, of the divine, is here as a guide and they all point to the same thing; the kingdom of heaven is within, and can be found there. And that level of consciousness can be cultivated. ...
Getting back to the miracles in the farmyard, how is it possible, that the creator of the infinitely diverse, infinitely intelligent expressions of the universe, how is it possible for the expressions of that creator to be narrow minded or narrow anything. Sorry Jess, can't answer with a yes or a no. Maybe you will understand now, maybe you will understand, in the years to come."
But Bob, if we interpret Christ's words "I am the way" to mean "I am the rescuer" then that changes everything. And I think saying "I am the rescuer" is something the infinite intelligence of the universe would say. But I know, thoughts on what God would or would not say, are similar to thoughts on the design of "The Panda's thumb", about what God would or would not do, and are not really "strong" arguments, one way or another. And so Bob, my friend, it's a draw.
However, when Christ quotes the Old Testament verses Isaiah Ch. 61, vs. 1-2 and says:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn."
Perhaps Bob, "the rescuer" does have a special place of importance in this universe after all, just saying, and perhaps that changes everything. But not our friendship, never our friendship.
Happy new year and here is one of the most beautiful poems ever written;