Tonight I went to hear a youth chorus sing hosted by the congregation for which I preach. This is one of those concerts where if you know some of the kids its far more enjoyable. I didn't. I'm not saying that for a bunch of teenagers they weren't good, but they have to be your teenagers for them to completely hold your interest for a few hours.
But despite my lack of natural enthusiasm for the event, I found myself deeply moved, even to tears at a few points. It's not that the musical experience was moving. This was no Spoon concert. It was the earnestness of the faces on these teens. Not the boys. Teenage boys are still becoming recognizable as humans. But the girls faces were so open and full of...of...of earnestness. I'm not sure if they believed deeply everything they were singing--that's a bit much to expect of teenagers. But they believed in what they were doing, and they're faces showed it. And it moved me.
It moved me probably because I veer a little toward the cynical--ok, maybe a lot toward the cynical. What human activity is there that is really deserving of this kind of belief? At the same time, however, I think there is this kind of grandparental thing happening in me that wants a world full of hope and belief for those coming after me. I'm not sure what to make of this change in me, but I think its a good thing overall.
What does this have to with Dylan? Not much. But it did make me think about the Christmas album he released two years ago. My friend and fellow Dylan devotee, John Ogren, is convinced that Dylan is on the up and up. That he is singing in earnest, full of the spirit of the season. It's not a slam dunk case. It's hard not to laugh out loud when you hear Bob singing, "Must be Santa," or "Silver Bells," and not to imagine Bob laughing right along all the way to the bank. But maybe its the grandparental thing in him as well. Cynical, yet strangely sentimental.