When I tell people now that I was once an evangelical Christian, most don’t believe it. Many times I tell them it’s a phase every kid in Kansas goes through, and remind them that this was the state that twice elected a school board that forced teachers to teach creationism alongside evolution in science class. I like to say that the more I learned, the less blind faith I placed in fundamentalist Christian doctrine. This is only true to a point—the full truth is that I simply supplanted my mythologies, mostly through the music I listened to. I segued out of CCM into the music it was aping—heartland rock like Bruce and U2, “spiritually conscious” hip-hop like PM Dawn and Arrested Development, loopy power pop like the Breeders and Throwing Muses. But mostly, I listened to Dylan. I started with his late-70s Christian phase, then plunged right into his ’62-’69 heyday. What I loved most about him wasn’t his nasally voice, but the persona he created. Robert Zimmerman left his Midwestern home, moved to New York City, absorbed the world of American folk and pop culture, and remade himself as Bob Dylan. And everyone believed him.

Just added to The List and the Story: Out of the Nineties

AuthorJohn Proctor