A Foreword from Me to You

Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.«

( Bob Dylan , 1974 )

It is certain he has never counted them, but there have undoubtedly been thousands of paths he has followed, sometimes quite blinded by » the devil's shinging light «. Today Bob Dylan is on the path. The raw, scratchy voice that once rose from the street canyons of New York City now sounds soft and repentent. IMPASSIONED is really the best word for describing the style in which Dylan sings his songs today, especially those that express his more profound, Christian perceptions. I refer particularly to the strongest confession of faith ever wrought in verse by a poet and then proclaimed on stage. What comes to mind is the version sung at the last but one London concert. Has man ever sung more vehemently? One could hear him literally weeping, but who among the throngs of non-believers could hope to feel the utter depth of his suffering?

It was Bob Dylan who prayed for illumination and received it. Once he prophesied to us that » The Times They're A-Changin' «. With his dogged voice he announced, » Someday everything's gonna be different, when I paint my masterpiece «. Seconds later in overcrowed subway trains he asks us, » How does it feel? « I remember a line coming from the pool of blood in the maternal womb,» I got nothing, Ma, to live up to, « as if he were not of this world. And yet, his songs are more than a part of ourselves, even if many of his millions of fans cannot follow him with heart and soul down his Christian Path. Still, it has never been his problem to concern himself with the inadequacies of his fans. Ultimately, the question of how each of us understands Dylan's Christian mission and responds to it, is a totally personal one, for many no doubt too personal. The question is namely how we ourselves stand in relation to Jesus and his omnipotent Father.

I can't help it, but two thought keep running through my mind while formulating these impressions. First, the depressing fact that even among avid Dylan fans various groups emerge whose hearts seem to be made of stone. I'm willingly admit that it is all right when someone says: » Sorry, my friend Bob, but I can't follow you down this Christian Path « , but I answer: » Please, don't criticize what you can't understand! « Because that really hurts!

The second thought causes me grief time and again, for in my heart I have the firm conviction that it is Bobby who is today going through Hell for us. That's more, far more, than just a » Shot Of Love « .

' cos I believe in you