I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was born and raised here, and have no desire to leave. My sentiments have raised a number of Christian eyebrows over the years, particularly of those who reside in the midwestern United States. I have become accustomed to the break in eye contact and dumfounded look, telling me that visions of "Adam and Steve" are already dancing in their heads. Their quivering response usually comes out something like, "Well, I guess everybody has the right to learn about Jesus.....if they have any desire to CHANGE!" I smile knowingly, as I will surely win them back after educating them about Contra Costa County.
Though only a 30 minute drive from "The City," my home town of Concord is one of the most conservative locations in Northern California. We are dedicated to the tradition of family, religion, home, garden, and careers, and though we do not shun diversity and new ideas, we strive to keep them within reasonable limits. We are also home to one of the most prominent military production facilities on the West Coast, and welcome those who are here helping to serve and protect our country. Though our community may find itself overshadowed by the immoral minority in San Francisco, or "Sodom" as we call it, we make a concerted effort to distance ourselves from the ungodly social climate of that horrible place.
Case in point: During the 1970's, a major event was "Day On The Green," a massive outdoor rock concert, featuring the top acts of the day. Tens of thousands of young people flocked to the big city to take part in a long day of music, sex, drugs, and immorality. In 1977, we CoCo Countyites countered with "Day In The Son," an all-day glorification of the Savior, featuring Christian rock singers such as Randy Stonehill, Pam Mark, and former pop-star Barry McGuire. Saved and unsaved youth alike congregated at the Concord Pavilion with their parents' blessing to listen to these outstanding performers. Any further description of this wondrous event would not do it justice, so I'll just say that "the message was there!"
Of course, we do not claim to be without our shortcomings. Big city problems have wormed their way eastward, and drugs and promiscuity are grinding away at the precious souls of many. I recently counseled a high school couple who were lured into "Cruising the Creek," a weekly event in which teenagers create a sinister traffic jam down Walnut Creek's main drag in search of (heterosexual) sex. These two know the Lord and are active within the church youth group. They came to me in tears, and admitted that they had engaged in sexual activity. They confided that they felt so badly afterward that they got down on their knees and asked the Lord to forgive them. "Young man," I responded, "You should have fallen down on your knees and prayed that your zipper would get stuck!"
So again, I'm left thinking about how the music plays into all of this, and a perfect example comes from the pasty-faced legend of yesteryear, Bob Dylan. Now I realize that I am barely forty, and far too young to remember when this guy was cranking out the hits, but I do know that it was during the period that the male-dominated recording industry saw fit to begin designing music that would break down womens inhibitions so that they could "score." Bob Dylan was the perfect vehicle to help them "go to town."
It was clear to them that women were difficult to manipulate into compromising positions, and they realized that then-current straight-laced pop-icons such as Fabian, Steve Lawrence, and Bobby Vinton were not only sending the wrong message with their mild-mannered approach, but they looked better than most guys who were trying to get lucky. Why not put a scroungy, blithering idiot with sex appeal out there, and sell him as a free-thinking intellectual who can encourage young women to feel okay about heavy use of recreational drugs. Well, the plan worked, and with Dylan's full cooperation in the world of big-business, women became easier to have sex with than any man ever dreamed possible.
Despite his lack of continuing chart success, Mr. Dylan is still a major corporate commodity, serving to make the rich richer, a plan that he is more than willing to accept, as he is a millionaire many times over himself, and would not dream of giving up his posh surroundings. I recall that in 1979, this superstar claimed to have become a Born Again Christian, and got a hit record out of it, but he didn't seem to stick with it, and to the best of my knowledge, said nothing about it. His abhorrent lifestyle is evidenced by his recent affiliation with the Pope, which is a sure sign that he is no longer walking with the Lord.
Let us pray that if Mr. Dylan has another heart attack, stroke, or age-related illness, that he will repent of the seemingly endless list of evils that he has inflicted on modern society. Maybe if it hurts enough, he'll really mean it this time!