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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dylan's subversive song selection, and prophetic sermon on Psalm 27 and Rabbi Hirsch commentary, at 1991 Grammy Awards












First, watch this:


--
For commentary on  what just happened..
see this link , this link, and see  the two posts  below.

See  also

Bob Dylan's Top Five Awards Speeches 


--------------------------

 From Greil Marcus' 
"ranters & crowd pleasers: punk in pop music, 1977-92":

1. Bob Dylan:  at the Grammy Awards, 20 February 1991.
Thirty years after arriving in New York from Minnesota, Bob Dylan stepped
forward to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  With the Gulf War in
progress, the blanket of acceptance that had been draped over the show was so
heavy the WAR SUCKS t-shirt New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg wore to the
American Music Awards a few weeks earlier would have been forbidden here;
maybe that's why Dylan sang "Masters of War", from 1963, and maybe that's why
he disguised it, smearing the verses into one long word.  If you caught on to
the number, the lyric did emerge - "And I'll stand o'er your grave/'Til I'm
sure that you're dead" - but lyrics were not the point.  What was was the ride
Dylan and hid band gave them.  With hats pulled down and dressed in dark
clothes, looking and moving like Chicago hipsters from the end of the fifties,
guitarists Cesar Diaz and John Jackson, bassist Tony Garnier, and drummer Ian
Wallace went after the song as if it were theirs as much as Dylan's: a chance
at revenge, excitement, pleasure.  You couldn't tell one from the other, and
why bother?

With this career performance behind him, Dylan took his trophy from a beaming
Jack Nicholson; he squinted, as if looking for his mother, who was in the
audience.
"Well," he said, "my daddy, he didn't leave me much, you know he was a very simple man,
but what he did tell me was this, he did say, son, he said..

- there was a long pause, nervous laughter from the crowd 

[well, he said so many things, you know.
-more laughter]-
"he say, you know it's possible to become so defiled in this world
that your own mother  and father will abandon you ; and if that happens,
God will always believe in your own ability to mend your ways."

Then he walked off.  He had managed to get in and out without thanking anybody,
and this night it really did seem as if he owed nobody anything.


From: Martin Grossman (tgg@slip.net)
Newsgroups: rec.music.dylan
Subject: Re: 91 Grammy Performance
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 11:16:33 -0400

It seems to me Ronnie Schreiber nailed the source of Bob's Grammy speech
some time ago. Said Ronnie:


At the time of the acceptance speech, I turned to my wife and said that
Dylan's comments were an allusion to Psalms 27:10: "When my father and
mother abandon me, HaShem (G-d) will gather me up."

I went back to the sources and discovered that Dylan's remarks were
almost a verbatim account of the commentary of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael
Hirsch (the spiritual leader of traditional Jewry in Germany in the mid
19th century) on that verse:

"Even if I were so depraved that my own mother and father would
abandon me to my own devices, God would still gather me up and believe
in my ability to mend my ways."

Now, we have no way of knowing if Abram Zimmerman really taught this to
his son or if Bob simply picked it up from a commentary on the Jewish
prayer book (Ps. 27 is recited at the morning and evening prayer
services during the month before the Jewish New Year), but in any case,
the wording is too similar to Hirsch's to ignore. Note how both Hirsch
and Dylan reversed the "father and mother" of the original verse to
"mother and father" and Dylan's use of the phrase  "believe in your own
ability to mend your own ways" directly parallels Hirsch's "believe in
my ability to mend my ways". 

It's unlikely Dylan's father was familiar with the writings of Rabbi
Hirsch, the 19th Century leader of German neo-Orthodoxy. Dylan's
involvement with Judaism over the past ten or fifteen years has been
mostly through Chabad -- also an unlikely place for him to have been
introduced to the Hirsch commentary. It's more likely Dylan saw the
quote in the Metsudah Siddur, a prayerbook popular among Baalei Tshuvah
(as "returnees" to orthodox Judaism are know, although many of them are
encountering serious Judaism for the first time). The lines from Hirsch
are cited in the Metsudah commentary and represent its translation from
Hirsch's German. And we can speculate that it's their language that
Dylan echoes. 

Note from MG: By attributing the words to his father, Dylan is following
a long tradition of attribution in Judaism. He can be said to be using
"father(s) in a wider sense, meaning his heritage.

-- 
Martin Grossman
-http://www.expectinbngrain.com/dok/int/grammiesspeech.htm

---------------------------
From Mark Aldrich:


It took him less than a minute, even with his nervous hat fumbling and pauses, but Dylan had just delivered an Old Testament sermon (Psalm 27:10) about the disfigurement of a life spent enslaved to the material things to the bejeweled, genial, war-applauding, music millionaire crowd.
Here is the speech:
  There is a rich history of commentary in Jewish tradition. There is also a rich history of commentary in interpreting Bob Dylan’s every public utterance. Psalm 27 begins (in the King James Version): “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” In King James, verse 10 reads, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”
Where does “defiled” come from? “Mend your ways?” A couple Dylan interpreters suggest that his language is straight out of the works of one the founders of Orthodox Judaism in the 19th Century, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. Hirsch’s commentary on the psalm verse reads: “Even if I were so depraved that my own mother and father would abandon me to my own devices, God would still gather me up and believe in my ability to mend my ways” (Yaffe, Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown, Yale UP). As David Yaffe, the author of the Hirsch discovery points out, Dylan in the late-’80s and early 1990s was a frequent performer on the annual Los Angeles-area Chabad telethons that usually offered entertainment from great (and far older) performers like Norm Crosby, Jan Murray, and Sid Caesar. Perhaps he was reading a lot of scriptural commentary; Rabbi Hirsch is not an obscure figure in that field.
Who better to receive a scriptural pronouncement such as this than a bejeweled, genial, war-applauding Hollywood audience? I am no Talmudic scholar, nor am I a Bob Dylan interpreter, but this is one of the many reasons I enjoy Bob Dylan’s every appearance.  link

Monday, May 09, 2016

a woman can teach me, as long as i can't see her/a female boss can give orders as long as it's not to any man in particular

Do check this link below, where John Piper clarifies that, in the church realm,
men can learn from a woman as long as they can't see her:

John Piper: A woman can teach me as long as I can’t see her 

Now, he's made it clear that this belongs to the secular/vocational realm as well:

Piper says is okay because she (female engineer)’s not personally giving directives to any man in particular. However, he warns that other scenarios– those where a woman must give direct instructions to a male– would violate their sense of manhood and womanhood.   link

No comment..
               I'll let Benjamin Corey do that. (:

                                                       PS What would Junia say?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Eugene Peterson and Bono film on Psalms: cussing without cussing

Here is the new Fuller Studio film of Eugene and Bono on Psalms.
                      Links and quotes below


Gotta love so much about this film..like Eugene calling Rolling Stone Magazine "Rolling Stones"..
and a mosh pit a "mash pit." (;

If you like the hilarious story  (excerpted above) about how EP first turned Bono down, there's  a whole video of EP on that and more here.

 --
EP:

"At twelve years old , [the psalms] showed me that imagination was a way to get inside the truth.

  ....translating a psalm...To try to get them to realize that praying  wasn't being nice before God.. The psalms are not pretty; they're not nice...just pray this psalm..  It's not  smooth; it's not nice, it's  not pretty; but it's honest.  And I think we're trying for honesty..which is very, very hard in our culture.

We need to find a way to cuss...without cussing. And the imprecatory psalms surely do that.
 We've got to some way in context; and the context is the whole Bible; whole psalter...to tell people how mad we are.

...We have crosses in every room in this house.  But when I look at those, I don't think of decoration; I think 'This is the world we live in..and it's a world with a lot of crosses . '  And I would just like to spend my life in doing something about that through Scripture, through  preaching, through friendship.  My years are getting shorter, and I don't have many  left; but I don't want to escape the violence..."

Bono: 

"The only way we can approach God..if we're honest..is through metaphor; through symbol.  So art becomes essential; not decorative.

..The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he's feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion, and it's that that sets the psalms apart for me.And I often think,
'Why isn't church music more like that'? ..

...I'm talking about dishonesty. I find in a lot of  Christian art ..a lot of dishonesty. I think it's a shame because these people are vulnerable to God (in a good way)...porous; open.. I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful.., gospel songs:  write a song about their bad marriage; write a song  about how they're pissed off at the government. Because that's what God wants from you: the truth... The truth will set you free; it will blow things apart. Why I'm suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism..and I'd love to see more of that in art and life and music."

(answering "What is the work of the artist..in acknowledging the intensity; the reality of the feeling without indulging the feeling?").
Having feelings is perfectly normal. ...David danced naked in front of the troops; that's one reason I like him .. abandonment... very important... understanding our bodies as well as our minds and ourspirits.  The Three-Personed God --The Trinity--is reflected  in our body, mind and spirit..,We really  do ignore this.

--
EP  prays:

"Be with us as we continue our lives of serving You with poetry, with the arts, with psalm, finding ways to enter into what You're already doing:  not calculating the chances, but doing what's right there, what You've already started doing..."

Listen for the prophetic summary in the last two words of the film
 ...from Mrs. Peterson.

 --------------------------


See:

 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

women, artists, outsiders and introverts: strong church leadership

 From Mandy Smith's The Vulnerable Pastor, pp. 122-124:

Being a woman can feel like weakness.  When you are a woman, your  own body teaches you your limits. From the time you're small, there is always someone bigger, with a stronger body and a deeper voice. And as you grow, you learn how little control you have over your own body, from a sometimes painful, often embarrassing inconvenience that will visit you every month to the strange season of having a person growing inside of you for 9 months. When the little bundle makes its appearance, your body goes from creator of life to sustainer of life. All kinds of new systems kick into gear. It's a miraculous process but one completely beyond your control. As you go from mother to grandmother, your body begins to change again, throwing you into a state of confusion as the steady cycles you have grown accustomed to become syncopated and erratic and then finally stop altogether.
If being a woman teaches humility and collaboration, isn't it a strength to be a woman?
Inhabiting this ever-changing form forces you to acknowledge (even celebrate) your limits and to sense your responsibility to and reliance upon the broader community.

 So if being a woman teaches humility and collaboration, isn't it a strength to be a woman?

In the church, these are leadership skills.
 
Being an artist can feel like weakness.  If you're an artist, you are spurred on by an unending search for truth and beauty. You can have your breath stolen by the smallest, seemingly insignificant thing and be unfit for anything else but crying or singing or writing about it for the rest of the day. And once you've found that tiny sign of hope, you must make sense of it. And so you make things to process and express it, trying to capture all the feeling and meaning for others through the limited media of notes and words and paint. You step into a creative process that is sometimes cruel and raw, a little too close for comfort. Then, with shaking hands, you put that outpouring of your soul into a public form and hope that someone understands.
 
If creative people know how to find truth and beauty, even when it's hidden in brokenn
 ess, if they're comfortable with mystery, failure, and vulnerability, isn't it a strength to be an artist?

In the church, these are leadership skills.
 
Being an outsider can feel like weakness. Being on the outside means always having that vague sense that you didn't get the inside joke. You feel like a child again as you have to learn things that are obvious and basic to everyone else. But over time you compensate. You learn not only to speak but to listen in other languages. You become self-aware as those things which were once transparent about yourself (back when everyone around you was the same as you) are suddenly glaringly visible. For the first time you feel the weight of the lens of your own culture, your own assumptions, and eventually, you learn how to switch glasses.

If being displaced helps us relate to the ways God's people have always been the sojourners, isn't it meaningful to be displaced?
If outsiders know how to be flexible and self-aware, to communicate in a relevant way in many contexts, isn't it a strength to be an outsider?

In the church, these are leadership skills.

Being an introvert can feel like weakness. Thinking of the perfect answer a day after the question makes you feel dumb, even though your belated but perfectly-worded response is more insightful than the one given by the quick-thinker in the room. Needing to recover from extended periods with people draws labels like "anti-social," even though you may have great social skills. Longing for depth and complexity and silence makes you feel like a precious egg-head in a world hungry for sound bites and noise.

If introverts know how to listen, and are unafraid of silence, depth, and authenticity, isn't it a strength to be an introvert?

 Similar article
 ---



More by Mandy on women and weakness

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

"The pope, Donald Trump, and Stephen Colbert walk into a bar..."

photo credit/buy the T shirt
--
" Soooo..
                   ...The pope, Donald Trump, and Stephen Colbert walk into a bar..."

That of course sounds like the into to a crazy joke,

but if it were literally true..
(Okay, if it were literally true, they all might get hurt from the impact!  (:
Click here to see a joke told by Jesus about the time a rabbi walked into a bar;
 it took me awhile to get it!)

                   that would be a meeting I would love to be at
                                                 (even if only as a barfly on the wall)!

 Maybe it should happen for real.. Colbert has offered  to broker a peace between the other two men.

See  the video, and these articles (good reminder in the articles that the pope can easily be misunderstood)

Allow Stephen Colbert to Explain What Pope Francis and Donald Trump Have in Common


What Pope Francis Meant

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Examined Life"--the "Moving Head" film and the backtracking booktrack which "calls philosphy down from the heavens" Cornel West and Slavoj Žižek




I love that Astra Taylor assembled the "Examined Life" film, which interviews
public and ethical philosophers as they walk  (usually in a city or context that connects to their theme)..

I love that this surely turned out differently as a  somewhat spontaneous lab (not a scripted talking head flick, even though there are talking heads, they and their bodies are in motion) and a peripatetic exercise, and thus a "geography of place."  (see

sideways city-texts )


I love that I found the book version (the "booktrack" to a movie?) first, which features complete transcripts of each interview, including scenes edited out of the film.

Of course, I love that Cornel West and  Slajov Žižek were featured, and that their venues or vehicles were slightly different than the other stars.

West is interviewed in a car moving through Manhattan.  At one point, this is eerily similar to the Matrix scene when Neo realizes his greenview  out the car window is of a world that is

not "real"  and people who are not "really" alive (What is the opposite of simulacra? )
 West, who is  well aware of the Matrix hyperlink (He was even in the second Matrix film!) quips that someone studying in a  library is "more alive than the folks walking by us"...

Žižek's vignette...of course..set in a  garbage dump. (:
--

I'm sure you have trainspotted the title to Socrates' maxim about the "unexamined life is not worth living, butTaylor adds that also draws from Socrates' way of (per Cicero)"calling philosophy down from heaven."  Bring it on...er, down.

Here's the Cornel West "chapter":  Truth below.
Some takeaways: centrality of music, why he's a "Chekhovian Christian," Jesus' anger (better yet, righteous indignation) in the temple, the "kairotic dimension of being in love,"  Charlie Parker riding on dissonance, "blues sensibility," "natural piety," As Christians, "nothing human ought to be alien to us", a "Kierkegaardian leap in Beckett's universe,"
-
- Here's Žižek's chapter: Ecology (in two languages no less):  Just watch(:
---
Most of the rest:
 -- Avita Ronell: Meaning:
 
Peter Singer: Ethics:
 
Appiah: Cosmopolitanism (Sadly, this is the only section not online, so here is a more traditional talk of his on the same topic):
 
 Martha Nussbaum: Justice:
Michael Hardt: Revolution:
Judith Butler & Sunaura Taylor: Interdependence: