Monday, March 12, 2007

Prophet Dylan!

Pope Benedict XVI ( alias, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) is known to have a strong dislike of popular music. As a matter of fact, he tried to stop Bob Dylan playing for the late John Paul II. It seems that Benedict feared Dylan was a "prophet" whose beliefs were at odds with the Roman Catholic Church.

In a recent book of memoirs about his predecessor, Pope Benedict recalls the events of the World Eucharist Congress at Bologna in 1997. It was a gathering of 300,000 young Catholic pilgrims who were to be exposed to Bob Dylan's radical songs with their "completely different" message.

Benedict wrote: "The Pope appeared tired, exhausted. At that very moment the stars arrived, Bob Dylan and others whose names I do not remember.

''They had a completely different message from the one which the Pope had.

"There was reason to be sceptical - I was, and in some ways I still am - over whether it was really right to allow this type of 'prophet' to appear

At the time he gritted his teeth and sat it out. But now Pope Benedict XVI has admitted that he thought his predecessor's encounter with the singer Bob Dylan was a awful scheme.

In 1997, John Paul II sat on a stage along with 50 cardinals in a vast fairground outside Bologna while slightly below and in front of him, Bob Dylan, wearing a cowboy hat and rhinestone-spangled zoot suit, crunched his way through "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", "It's a Hard Rain" and "Forever Young".

After his performance Dylan went to greet John Paul on the podium to robust roars from the young and enthusiastic crowd.

Dylan became a born-again Christian sometime in the late 1970’s and released several albums relating to personal salvation. Notable among his Christian releases is Slow Train Coming.

enjoy, ron

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Check out this YouTube of David Eugene Edwards (Woven Hand), the long-time front man for those remarkable gothabilly rockers 16 Horsepower singing Sinnerman.

16 Horsepower is not your ordinary Christian country-music band. There’s little hillbilly or cowboy about them. Rather, their subject matter turns on man's sins and breakdown, societies lack of faith, wallowing in a world of superficial possessions... all swallowed up in traumatic soundscapes of `ghostly banjos and a rather pulsation low-end. This music and lyric is not for the faint of heart!

Sinnerman lyrics

o sinnerman where will you run to
sinnerman where will you run to
sinnerman where will you run to
all on that day

run to the mountain
the mountain wont hide you
run to the sea
the sea will not have you
and run to your grave
your grave will not hold you
all on that day

see sinnerman
mountains are falling
the sea it rages
the grave will not hold you
all on that day
run to the lord
lord please hide me
run to the lord


where you gonna run to
all on that day
run to the mountain
the mountain wont hide you
and run to the sea
the sea will not hold you
and run to your grave
the grave will not hide you
all on that day

the mountain is falling
and sinnerman
the sea it rages
and sinnerman
where will you run to
all on that day

the mountain wont hide you
the sea won’t have you
and the grave will not hold you
all on that day

enjoy, ron

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Poet Longfellow!

Speaking of poetry and Longfellow, as a kid, I was once considered a poet by an admirer. Here's a rough paraphrase of their comment: “Ron, you’re a poet but don’t know it. But your feet sure do show it. They’re Longfellows!”

On a more serious note, one of my sons, Geoffrey, attended a medium sized Christian prep school called Minnehaha Academy. As you may surmise, it’s located near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis Minnesota. The falls is in Minnehaha Park, a large city park on the shores of the Mississippi River. The park includes picnic areas, trails, sculpture and the 53 foot falls, just off of Hiawatha Ave (Route 55). Although Longfellow never visited the spot, Minnehaha Falls is the waterfall of his Song of Hiawatha.

By the way, when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow turned 70 on February 27, 1877, the USA celebrated the day, hosting parades across the land in his honor and sending "salutations and friendly greetings from far and near." Had he the constitution of Methuselah, this year he would have celebrated his 200th birthday with the writing of another amazing poem.

In his day, Longfellow was a star. More than 50,000 bought The Song of Hiawatha. His friend Nathaniel Hawthorne said, "No other poet has anything like your vogue." People from all walks of life would knock on the door of his Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to ask for autographs.

"A Psalm of Life" is one of Longfellow’s best-known works. It captures the kind of poetic spirit that will continually make him one of America's favorite poets

A Psalm of Life
What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act--act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

enjoy, ron

Saturday, March 03, 2007

1 Corinthians 3.18-23

The following is an introduction to this week’s Sunday sermon. Specifically, I’ll be expositing verses 1 Corinthains 3.21-23.

Nearly 2000 years ago the church of Jesus Christ in Corinth was wrestling with problems similar to our own. Gluttony, hero worship, jealousy & dissension were prominent expressions of church life then as now. Their principal struggle, as is ours, turned on the question of what to do with worldly wisdom. They had the mind of Christ! Yet, spiritual ignorance & human arrogance was vitally eroding their essential understanding of His Person & Work.

Succumbing to creature influence, they were substituting worldly wisdom for God's wisdom. Value swapping! Exchanging eternal value for temporal values! In other words, by placing inordinate worth on material things, their understanding of Spiritual things became confused & amorphous. As a consequence, Paul could not speak to them as to spiritual ones.

Keep in mind the Corinthian church was secure in Christ, confirmed to the end! It was a dynamic, spiritual community, not lacking in any gift (1 Cor. 1.1-9). But their fitness in impacting the Corinthian culture & in ministering to one another was being undermined by jealousy, factions, intellectual egotism, & selfish ambition.

Paul has already contrasted God's wisdom with human wisdom several times in the first three chapters 1 Corinthians. Now here in 3:18-23 he continues to challenge his Corinthian brothers & sisters concerning their attraction to human wisdom. Paul carefully contrasts the wisdom of this world in vv 18-20 with the wisdom of God in vv 21-23.

Here’s the point: What these Corinthian Christians have done in pretending to be wise by the standards of the world is to show themselves foolish in the eyes of God. So Paul is saying, "You must stop exalting individuals, put an end to divisions, deny any wisdom that you think you have, & instead embrace God's wisdom & the tremendous riches & blessings & resources & growth & health that God gives."

Enjoy, ron