Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dylan Get's Saved (Part 3)

It's interesting that much is made about the faith of Bob Dylan and that many questions whether his turn towards the Christian faith (from his Jewish upbringing) was simply a farce. Still, one could argue that Dylan had been wrestling with Christianity quite some time before his more explicit Christian recordings. For instance, on the song "Long Ago, Far Away," Dylan opens and closes with the death of Jesus. Listen (okay maybe you can't listen but imagine that you're listening) to these words:

To preach of peace and brotherhood
Oh, what might be the cost!
A man he did it long ago
And they hung him on a cross
Long ago, far away
These things don't happen
No more, nowadays

When Dylan wrote this song in 1962, well before his conversion, he wasn't a Christian but I think we see hints of what's to come.

Then, on a later recording, 1997's Tell Tale Signs, Dylan writes the following on his song Trying to Get to Heaven."

Gonna sleep down in the parlor
And relive my dreams
I'll close my eyes and I wonder
If everything is as hollow as it seems
Some trains don't pull no gamblers
No midnight ramblers, like they did before
I been to Sugar Town, I shook the sugar down
Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door

Here, Dylan seems to be wrestling with a life spent in the wrong places and wonders whether or not there's enough time to make things right in order to get into heaven.

So, well before and well after, Dylan has and seemingly continues to wrestle with the Christian Faith or at least faith in general. While he may not say a whole lot (Dylan doesn't do a lot of talking these days) he does let his music do the talking and his music seems to indicate his Christian faith is still intact. No, he's not a model of the Christian faith (who is?) but he seems to be on a journey which he hopes will one day end in the realms of heaven.