YEARS AGO I might have resonated with Danny Duncan Collum's insights about John Lennon's "Imagine" ("Why ‘Imagine'? Why Now?" January-February 2002) but long before 9-11 I found myself somewhat at odds with its message. I had, of course, to keep checking to make sure my "'60s values" weren't slipping into cynicism and decided that while I still believe in the "you may say I'm a dreamer" portion of aspiring to a higher ideal, I've decided that the lyrics don't contain the ideal I'm after.
After years of work in ministry, as a mental health professional (whatever the hell that is!), singer-songwriter (on an obscure album with Ken Medema), and as a human being seeking after community, I finally came away with more of a Scott Peck perception of community than my previous view of a more homogenized world ("when all the colors bleed into one," sez U2).
The problem isn't having so many religions or countries, or denominations; the problem is being afraid of and not being able to embrace our differences, and when our differences are played out in tribalism. Lennon's anthem is more "communistic" (in a dictatorship of the proletariat that can easily fall down that slippery slope into a bureaucratic monolith) than it is community-based—despite its good intentions.