Archive for March, 2009

9/11, Bob Dylan, a Beautician and Me

“If it keeps on raining, the levee’s gonna break,
If it keeps on raining, the levee’s gonna break,
Some people are still sleepng,
Some people ARE WIDE AWAKE”-Bob Dylan, 2006.

Five years ago to that Tuesday in September, Bob Dylan’s previous most recent release, “Love and Theft” came out. On September 5, 2006, the sixty-five year old legend released “Modern Times”.

THAT DAY, five years ago when the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon tattered, I didn’t know anything about it until 12:45 PM when my daughter phoned from high school. She wanted to know if it was the end of the world, and I wondered the same too, when I turned the TV on.

I also recalled a song I first heard in 1981:

“See the massacre of the innocent…City’s on fire… phones out of order… I see the turning of the page. Curtain’s rising on a new age. See the Groom still waiting at the altar.” -Bob Dylan, 1981, “Shot of Love”

The “Shot of Love” album had been Bob’s third in a row with some indisputable Christian themes. The Groom is a biblical metaphor for Christ, and the Bride is understood to be a lover of God. For a Christian this great analogy takes the fear out of death, for ones physical demise releases one to union with God. Thus, the release in dying can be anticipated to be one incredible cosmic orgasm.
But on that day, we call 9/11 after the shock and awe had passed from the initial images of smoke and despair, I quit hearing Bob Dylan in my head, and then recalled a passage from II Chronicles 6:1:

“The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.”

I have recalled that verse often in the aftermath of the way America chose to respond to a few angry men who hated America so much that they could target and murder innocent people. I also wonder about the words of Lincoln and how he always reflected upon if he were on Gods side.

But, five years ago on that day in September that the world stood still, Bob Dylan’s “Love and Theft” was released and even though my heart was heavy and I wanted to stay glued to the TV, life continued.

I had a hair appointment that afternoon and had already planned on picking up Bob’s latest. I did both those things and I still do visit that hairdresser every six weeks. Not an appointment goes by that we don’t both recall that we spent a few hours together watching TV on that day that changed the world as we had known it.

On my way home, I popped “Love and Theft” into the CD player of my Explorer [which I traded in for an economical Acura four years ago] and for the twenty minute drive, I was transported to a different place and a new time. Bob sounded like he was having fun, but I really couldn’t get into it that day, for once again, an earworm from 1981 had returned.

On any given TV station, or the Internet, one can readily see the massacre of the innocent, cities on fire, and phones go out of order. When I reflect on that day we call 9/11, I see the turning of a page and a curtain has risen on a new age. Life as we had known it prior to 9/11, will not return, for Big Brother has grown.

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of that day we call 9/11, I reflect on two things, the first being the words of the most radical of all the founding fathers, Tom Paine who penned words of wisdom still unheeded in modern times:

“Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion… The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

I also recall a parable, a short story that Christ told about a Bridegroom and ten Virgins. In ancient times, weddings went on for days [if not weeks] and anyone who accepted an invitation to a wedding understood it was a commitment of time and money, for jobs were abandoned in order to be at the happening.

The custom of the time was for the Bridegroom to decide exactly when the wedding occurred. It could be the first day of festivities or even the ninth! No one knew when the Groom would appear, and the story Christ told was about ten virgins waiting for their man. Five were unprepared for his arrival and were out shopping when he came, so they were left out of the Bridal Chamber and you can imagine how frustrating that would be.

Parables are stories that invite the reader to decide who they relate to and what it means to them. Christ didn’t hit his listeners over the head with his message; he led by example not lectures.

Christ did tell his listeners to wake up, to stay alert as no one knows when the end of time will come, but that one shouldn’t be concerned about that anyway, but instead occupy oneself with doing right, with doing good, and to not be out shopping when the Groom is on the way.

Christ was never a Christian; but he was a radical, social justice revolutionary Palestinian Jewish Road Warrior who told his followers to go out and make disciples; and a disciple is one who follows and does what the Master teaches.

Christ had very few friends inside the Temple Authority for he challenged their job security by claiming the people didn’t require ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be ok with God. Christ told the people the revolutionary and radical news that God was already within them. The authority of God, up until then, had been external, but what Christ did, was place God in the very hearts of his hearers. Christ didn’t lecture them; he told stories that allowed them to draw their own conclusions. Christ taught by example and he presupposed that his listener already knew it all. Christ’s message was that the Divine authority is in the heart of every human being. This was then and still is now a revolutionary thought. Rome crucified Christ because he disturbed the status quo of the Empire which ruled by oppression while Christ taught liberation.

The immanence of God and the Divine in the human heart and throughout the ages, has always inspired poets, musicians, writers, artists and prophets, even in modern times.

“If it keeps on raining, the levee’s gonna break,
If it keeps on raining, the levee’s gonna break,
Some people are still sleepng,
Some people ARE WIDE AWAKE”-Bob Dylan, 2006.Bob Dylan 2006 “Modern Times”

Eileen Fleming

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Posted by admin - March 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

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