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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Hey Mr Tambourine Man

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

When is the last time that you won a Nobel Peace Prize?  Who would have imagined that Bob Dylan at age 75 would be given this honour? Even as an avid Dylan fan, this was not on my radar screen.

One of my most exciting finds was a new biography by Ian Bell, entitled Once Upon a Time: the lives of Bob Dylan. The Financial Times describes this book as the best Dylan biography yet.”  WB Gooderham of The Guardian, UK described ‘Once Upon a Time as “Knotty, beguiling, contrary, infuriating and as ambitious as its subject, this could be the most vital Dylan biography yet.”  As part of writing this Deep Cove Crier article on Bob Dylan, I have been asking friends, neighbours, relatives and local business people as to what they think and know about Bob Dylan.  I discovered that Dylan has had a remarkably long shelf life, appealing to a wide variety of very diverse people.

My favorite Dylan song is Hey, Mr Tambourine Man.  No one can ever fully agree as to what Dylan means in his mysterious, playful lyrics.  Hunter S Thompson dedicated his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Bob Dylan because of this song allegedly promoting Mr Tambourine Man as a drug pusher.  Dylan told Joni Mitchell’s husband Chuck that the Tambourine Man was the one common musician in the New Orleans funeral Jazz Bands that helped people grieve the death of their loved ones, and embrace their own mortality.   I see Dylan as an enigmatic Tambourine Man who is playing songs for us in our jingle jangle world.

The Byrds’ version of this song convinced Dylan to switch to rock & roll. Like our Canadian Bruce Cockburn, Bob Dylan is one of the most private, elusive public figures in the world.  The grueling pace of touring and interacting with the media has destroyed many musicians over the years.  Dylan himself often lost himself for a while in the midst of such media onslaught.  As June Sawyers ironically put it in Book List, Dylan is an artist who, to this day, defends his right of “artistic autonomy, refusing to be anyone but himself, whoever that may be. “

Michael Dyer of the Japan Times Newspaper has called Bob Dylan the single most important artist in the history of popular music.  What pains many of Dylan’s fans is that he keeps artistically reinventing himself again and again.  Just when you have ‘figured’ Dylan out, he surprises you.  The real Dylan is always blowing in the wind.  At age 74, Dylan the Tambourine Man will likely reinvent himself many more times before he goes home to the Lord.  You cannot put Dylan in a box.  When Dylan switched from folk to rock, he was publicly booed and called a ‘Judas’.  When he embraced Jesus in the 1980s, many people walked out of his concerts.  Geoff Dyer of the New York Times commented: “The conversion to Christianity was the point at which I, like many others, first jumped ship, but again, bootleg recordings have since made clear that as a result of his newfound faith, Dylan rocked harder than he has ever done since.”  Some people have never been able to forgive Dylan for spiritually reinventing himself.  After Dylan’s explicit spiritual trilogy of albums “Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love”, he has become more parabolic and subtle in talking about his faith.  Sometimes less is more.  When I came to faith, some people dismissed my conversion as a phase that I would get over.  My hunch is that Dylan’s coming to faith was more than just a phase.  Dylan the Tambourine Man, far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow, is continuing to enable us ‘to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands.’

Back in 1976, The American Guide magazine asked Dylan how he imagined God.  He memorably said: “I can see God in a daisy. I can see God at night in the wind and rain. I see Creation just about everywhere. The highest form of song is prayer. King David’s, Solomon’s, the wailing of a coyote, the rumble of the earth. It must be wonderful to be God. There’s so much going on out there that you can’t get to it all. It would take longer than for ever.”

I am struck by how deeply the African-American churches have embraced Dylan’s Gospel music.  Blues and Folk music have deep roots in the African-American community.  While other people may have been offended by Dylan’s Gospel music, the African American churches have transformed these songs into large choir productions.  Even if Dylan never again writes such explicit Gospel music, I believe that his Gospel songs will continue to impact many new generations.  Music has a way of outliving its composer, even Dylan.

I thank God for Bob Dylan the Tambourine Man who continues to fascinate so many of us.  Through his evocative songs, he takes us ‘down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves, the haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach.’  Only God really knows Bob’s heart.  Our calling is to enjoy his music and remember to pray for him and other musicians.  There are few tougher callings than that of a travelling Tambourine Man.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-An article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News and the Light Magazine

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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The Joy of Les Miserables

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

eiffel tower in paris france

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

People have been raving about the musical version of Les Miserable which has already had around three hundred million dollars in worldwide box office sales.

Nicky Gumbel calls it a superb film, a triumph of grace over law, good over evil, love over hate. Eric Metaxas said that it is one of the most vivid, most moving examples of God’s goodness and mercy currently playing at a movie theatre near you. I enjoyed the new movie so much that it inspired me to again watch the 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman. Though my wife and I saw the Les Miserables production many years at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, this time round seemed to be striking a deeper chord with myself. The original novel, which I now have in eBook version, has been in print for over 150 years. Upton Sinclair calls the novel Les Miserables one of the five greatest novels of the world. With 1500 pages (1900 in French), it is also one of the longest novels ever written.

Many of you already know this delightful story of how an embittered ex-convict named Jean Valjean stole from a bishop who turns the other cheek and challenges Valjean to become a new man. Victor Hugo has the bishop say: “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” In gratitude, Valjean spends the rest of his life showing amazing grace, love and forgiveness to others. The forgiven forgive. Valjean’s life is based loosely on the life of Eugène François Vidocq, an ex-convict who became a thriving entrepreneur known for his good works. In 1828, Vidocq, like Valjean, rescued one of his factory workers by lifting a heavy cart on his shoulders.

The tension in the movie between forgiveness and judgment is expressed through the police inspector Javert relentlessly pursuing Valjean. Javert tells Prisoner 24601 (Valjean) that ‘men like you can never change’. Again and again Valjean shocks Javert by forgiving the unforgivable. Valjean offered to Javert the same radical reconciliation and healing that had been given to him. Javert cannot handle forgiveness because he is so fixated on people getting what they deserve. Javert was legalistic and self-righteous. This caused him to persecute the very person whose life had been transformed, the very person who was doing so much good for others. Javert’s compassion is completely lacking. Life becomes no more than following the rules and trusting in one’s own efforts. For Javert, God is an unforgiving moralistic tyrant. For Valjean, God is personal, caring and loving.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine was spectacular, particularly in her singing of ‘I Dreamed a Dream.’ In 1841, Hugo personally rescued a prostitute from arrest for assault. We grieve with Fantine over the injustice of her losing her job and being forced into prostitution to feed her child Cossette. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times notes that Les Miserables ‘delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.’

Les Miserables reminds us that anyone can change; anyone can become a new person. We are not fated to be bitter and miserable. We can choose the way of forgiveness and joy. We can choose to be a new creation like Valjean. My prayer for those reading this article is that the movie Les Miserables may inspire each of us to forgive and serve one another as did Valjean.

 

The Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


2 Comments

Zinovy’s Journey: check out Ginny Jaques’ new book

You are encouraged to check out Ginny Jaques’ new speculative novel. Ginny is a great writer whom I have known for many years on the North Shore.

ZINOVY EFIMOVICH KOZLOV is a self-made man who’s spent the last twenty-three years climbing the ladder of Russian military success, one rung at a time. An FSB veteran, Air Force fighter pilot, member of the elite Special Security Service, and now a cosmonaut on the global regime’s new International Space Station, he should be at the peak of his career. But Zinovy has enemies whose political power extends into space, and those enemies are determined to kill him.

Then the earth is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust and everything changes.

 

 

a new speculative novel by Ginny Jaques

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.