In relation to God

BOB DYLAN, in his autobiography, catalogs some of the titles that adoring fans pinned on him during his rise to rock superstardom. He hints at their comic absurdity, but notes the undeserved burden those labels sometimes conferred: "Legend, Icon, Enigma (Buddha in European Clothes was my favorite)—stuff like that; but that was all right. These titles were placid and harmless, threadbare, easy to get around with them. Prophet, Messiah, Savior—those are tough ones" (Chronicles, Simon a Schuster, 2004, p. 124). The rest of us generally get saddled with tags far more mundane: surfer, stockbroker, retiree, Latino—stuff like that. While these labels are neither as absurd nor burdensome, they are handy for pollsters, telemarketers, and others intent on fitting the public into precut profiles. Of course, they don't come close to fully identifying a person. For that, perhaps we need a whole new perspective, maybe even a new language.

How else could you summarize someone, other than just by the tasks he or she performs? How else could you go beyond the roles people play in a family or society, to the essence of who they are individually? Maybe the only way is to see others as the Higher Power sees them. To know them as the Divine knows them. To rise mentally to an altitude of thought with a view to the facts about an individual's spiritual nature.

religion-and who we are
May 30, 2005

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