Untrodden Path wrote:
With Shot of Love the evangelical love affair with Dylan began to grow sour. A call for a faith that included social issues and responsibility was evident in Slow Train Coming but by the time Infidels is released his the overt personal confession was missing and they began to abandon him in droves. I remember hearing people lamenting that he was now a Buddhist, he had forsaken his faith and gone back to Judaism, or that he abandoned faith altogether. I don't see how one gets any of those from Infidels.
For me, Infidels identifies those who confess a faith without living their faith... its not what one says but what one does that reveals what one really "believes". With Slow Train Coming, Bob in his newly committed faith is taking on the world and all comers... with Infidels the "lost" are no longer those people who do not confess their faith in Jesus but those who affirm their belief in Jesus while failing to live it. Bob focusses the spotlight squarely on those who called themselves Christians without living it.
In this regard, Bob has succeeded in doing what Jesus did. He pissed off everybody equally. Those who had been fans were outraged by his gospel albums and many of those who had embraced his gospel albums were now abandoning him.
That's very interesting. And thinking about it now, this kind of Christianity most definitely shines though Infidels (and the outtakes): "faith without works".
There is such a universality to Dylan's music that allows so many varied (and seemingly contradictory) perspectives to emerge. Religious or otherwise. In the past year I read the book Restless Pilgrim
, and you can come away thinking that the songs have never really departed from a Jesus-centric born-again worldview. After just reading Seth Rogovoy's Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet
(quite a good book, imo), my eyes were opened to the rich Jewish perspective present in the entire
oeuvre. In Bargainin' for Salvation
, Dylan comes across a Buddhist. It's a great melting pot (I've sucked the milk out of a thousand cows
). And extraordinary, really. The music meets you where you are at. And for him who has ears--of every ilk--it affects a change toward a common good, I believe. The great message might be: we are all one.