Monday, September 02, 2013

Eric Clapton and the Binding of Isaac?

See Eric Clapton, In the Presence of the Lord, by John Powell, Christianity Today, 4/9/2008.

In religion class, the Biblical story of The Binding of Issac, in Genesis 22, was always presented to us as a standard of obedience. This is blind obedience at its most extreme. It is hard to see how such an extremely anti-human command, which is so irrational and obviously opposed to the natural (moral) law, could possibly encourage obedience. But while I was listening to this story on CD in my car, it occurred to me that there might be a higher understanding. Abraham had such a deep sense of complete dependence on God, I wonder if the choice of obeying/disobeying God even entered his conscious mind. Perhaps the real purpose of the story is to show Abraham's sense of dependence on God. Certainly it shows the strength of Abraham's faith.

Eric Clapton struggled with alcohol and drug addiction throughout most of his adult life.  After his son Conor was born and after failing at yet another attempt at rehab, Clapton surrendered his life to God and dedicated his sobriety to Conor.  Tragically, four years later, Conor fell to his death from their apartment window.  Clapton said, "There was a moment when I did lose faith." Still, he found the strength to present a session to his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on "handing your will over to the care of God."  Afterward, a woman confessed that he had taken away her "last excuse" for drinking, a confirmation to Clapton that "staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety" is "the single most important proposition" in his life.

Influence of Bertolt Brecht on Bob Dylan

Recently, I've been learning bits and pieces about the playwright and poet, Bertolt Brecht, and I've just started reading his play, Mother Courage and Her Children. I found this interesting article in, The New York Times.

When Bobby Met Bertolt, Times Changed, by Jason Zinoman, October 8, 2006.

Dylan says that Bercht had an enormous influence on his song writing. On 1963, Dylan saw a musical review on Broadway called, Brecht on Brecht.  He only saw the play because his girl friend, Suze Rotolo was on the production staff.  It included a song called, "Song of the Moldau," which was written by Brecht which included the words, “Times are a-changing. The last shall be the first/The last shall be the first.”

And noting:

"Ms. Harcourt [a Dylan/Brecht researcher] argues that the influence of Brecht is the missing piece of the answer to the much-debated question of why Mr. Dylan moved away from the folk and protest scenes in the early 60’s. His songs took on a more personal, surreal and often ambiguous style that, like the work of Brecht, often complicated the audience’s relationship with the hero of a song."

Bob Dylan said, “My little shack in the universe was about to expand into some glorious cathedral, at least in songwriting terms,” he writes, describing his reaction to the music. “They were like folk songs in nature, but unlike folk songs, too, because they were sophisticated.”