Provocative Insights on Religious Themes From Music, Issue 111

June 6, 2017 by Presbyterian Foundation

For decades, Bob Dylan has been an endlessly interesting, surprising, and provocative songwriter, musician, and singer. Religious (Christian?) themes have been present from his earliest albums. “Listen” again to one of his most well-known songs, but this time do not think drugs but rather Acts 7:54-60 (as Dylan himself has said repeatedly).

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be good,
They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would.
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home.
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned …

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone.
They’ll stone you when you are walking home.
They’ll stone you and then say you are brave.
They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

“Rainy Day Women #12&35” Blonde on Blonde.

Juneteenth – an opportunity for Facing Racism

When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, word began to spread among enslaved communities. “Juneteenth” commemorates both the proclamation itself, and that spreading news of freedom from home to home, community to community.

This year, communities across the country will observe Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth. This is also an opportunity for your church to engage in the work of healing, reconciliation, and the ongoing struggle against racism.

As part of Facing Racism, the church’s ongoing anti-racism campaign, the PC(USA) offers resources based on the Confession of Belhar, the newest addition to the Book of Confessions. Resources include workshop materials introducing Belhar to the church, a video explaining what Belhar is and why it is important in the Reformed tradition, and study guides on the Confession of Belhar. The PC(USA) store also carries study guides for participants and leaders. Learning more about the Confession of Belhar can help engage people in conversation about its applicability to contemporary racism in the U.S. and the role of the church.