Back in October a memorial anniversary passed by. We wouldnt be surprised if it passed unnoticed by the majority of NOR readers. It nearly passed us by unnoticed too until we picked up the September/October issue of Touchstone magazine. As soon as we came upon Robert Harts article Hard to Imagine, it hit us: It was thirty years ago today is that how the song goes? that Mr. John Lennon was murdered by a crazed fan in New York City. (It was seventy years ago that Lennon was born a double dip.) Before long we realized that we were knee-deep in teary-eyed reminiscences, starry-eyed hagiographies, and the occasional cranky condemnation of the man who, more than anyone, personified the peace and love generation.
But Fr. Hart has given us something different. His article focuses on one of the more curious, and controversial, moments in Lennons strange life the time he claimed that his rock group, the Beatles, was bigger than Jesus. That was in 1966. At the time, his statement was received with bellowing outrage here in the U.S. Seen today through the refracting lens of history, it appears to be another sad example of the mania that can seize drug-addled minds. But according to Hart, theres more to it than meets the eye.
What precisely did Lennon say? Given in the context of an interview in the London Evening Standard, the significant portion of the quote is: Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I neednt argue with that; Im right and I will be proved right. Were more popular than Jesus now; I dont know which will go first rock n roll or Christianity.
O.K., lets take a deep breath, step back for a moment, and parse this out, line by line with a little help from our friend, Fr. Hart, an Anglican priest (who has written for the NOR in the past).
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