Saturday, May 30, 2009

How do I explain what this means to me?

I need to thank Deacon Scott for posting this video on his blog, Καθολικός διάκονος.

When I was ten years old and living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I used to sit down at the piano to pick out the tunes to songs in one of my mother's books, Great Songs of the Sixties. During the two years I lived in Malaysia, the songs from that book, a Carly Simon tape, two Simone and Garfunkle LPs and Don McLean's American Pie constituted the sum total of my exposure to American Rock. We moved to Hong Kong when I was 12, and then I could listen to disco on the radio (this was 1978), and once a week, Casey Kasem's Top 40. Through those years, I continued to copy and recopy the lyrics to my favorite songs from Great Songs of the Sixties into my journal. I didn't move back to the U.S. until I was 15 years old. It took another year before I had an opportunity to have the following conversation with my new best friend, Robin:

  • "I love poetry!"
  • "Me, too!"
  • "Who's your favorite poet?"
  • "Well, I love T.S. Eliot and Walt Whitman, but my favorite is someone maybe you haven't heard of? His name is Bob Die-lan."
Robin had heard of Dylan; she taught me how to pronounce his name properlay and brought me to her house that afternoon to listen to his albums. The first song I ever heard him sing was "Don't Think Twice It's Alright." In that moment, Dylan became my very favorite singer/songwriter, and he is still my favorite.

To sit here at my computer and watch Fr. Bob Barron speak about his passion for Bob Dylan's music is one of life's sweetest pleasures, one I only discovered this evening (thanks again, Scott!). And he's right -- Dylan's voice is beautiful and his songs, from the beginning, are deeply indebted to the Bible. I love Fr. Barron's writings. I was first smitten when I read The Strangest Way. As a theologian, I really think Fr. Barron rocks!

Watching these two videos is a little like taking two of your favorite foods and combining them in a recipe to come up with a dish that is a revelation! Watch this one, too:


Marie said...

When I saw this on Deacon Scott's blog, I figured you would love it!!

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

I am glad that I now know that Fr. Barron has written books. I am excited about pulling up more of his YouTube vids.

kabloona said...

I blogged this over the

I hear American Pie the first time it was ever played on the radio in the N.Y. area. I was a high school sophomore at the time.

Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."