Sing country and western!” Bob Dylan advised Rusty Evans, “that’s your feel. Your voice.” Rusty, a young soloist with whom Dylan occasionally had jam sessions in New York in the early sixties, considered the advice, but decided C&W was “too unhip” for his musical persona. To the young folk singer picking out tunes in Greenwich Village coffee shops, harmonizing with Peter, Paul and Mary, and singing with the Kingston Trio, the “raw emotion” and country sentiments of Hank Williams ballads would have seemed too simple—or revealed too much.

Folk music was the sound of the times. Rusty—or Marcus Uzilevsky—was a young, red-haired artist from Brooklyn, tired of his first commercial art assignment drawing car fenders, and “very much into the folk-singing scene”; he decided to play guitar instead. He auditioned for an opening with the New Christy Minstrels: thousands of applicants were reduced to ten, then to one. And Uzilevsky was chosen. “Why’d you do a thing like that?” wondered Dylan, who felt a group of ten was wrong for his friend.

But the career move spelled excitement for Uzilevsky: cross-country tours, recording sessions, and the production of several well received albums. He accepted the job eagerly. But true to Dylan’s prediction, Marcus soon “felt stifled” by the group, and he struck out independently.

In ordinary terms, his musical career should have been called a success, but Marcus Uzilevsky knew differently: music had not brought him satisfaction. Abandoning his “first gift”—art—to follow the California music scene left him increasingly confused and empty. His marriage was ending; he was unable to support his children; he felt a failure.

God’S Touch

A Polish Jew, Uzilevsky had shunned traditional Hebrew rituals as meaning less and empty. But he had not “put the pieces together” in a way that would shelter him spiritually from the destructive onrush of emotion.

Then, he says, God touched him. In a moment of “total clarity” he was “lifted up from problems and turmoil” by a razor-edged vision that gave him a new openness and fresh ability to communicate. For nearly three months he saw that his future would hold not only music and art, but full control over their production and sales. “The lid was taken off my limitations” Uzilevsky recalls. “And as I kept thinking, the chain of thought led me to God.”

He sought to rekindle the vision’s heady prescience with intense reading, universalism, occult studies—anything but the Bible. The vision became his spiritual touchstone; one night it beckoned him to a storefront church in San Francisco. Intrigued by the gospel beat, he answered the altar call as a gesture of good will, nothing more.

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Yet God honored his gesture. From then on, “every time the name of Jesus was mentioned, something happened.… There was power in the name.” His search led to an Eastern Universalism gathering where he met his present wife, Rachel. They confessed a mutual attraction to Christianity and began to explore prayer groups and churches. Uzilevsky struggled to be “worthy” to receive the vision again, both praying for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, yet unsure if they were even saved. “Everything was out of sequence by traditional standards,” he recalls.

One day, as he lay ill and discouraged, Rachel suddenly spoke words to him that, for the first time, impressed him with the scope of God’s love. “I understood the Trinity, and that Jesus is the Son of God.… That was the moment I was born again in the Spirit.” The breakthrough led to Uzilevsky’s redefinition of himself as a Hebrew Christian. He embraced mainstream Christianity at the Church of the Open Door in San Rafael.

Expressions Of Praise

For Uzilevsky the artist, the next step was to resume commercial art in order to support his family. Again, success came with almost breathtaking speed. Random use of a T-square and ruling pen yielded his now internationally recognized “linearism.” Posters of one masterful print, Gateway, sold over 75,000 copies. Further experimentation led to “soft-focus” linearism, and to calligraphic musical transcriptions on handmade paper.

Through painting after painting, one style after another, Marcus Uzilevsky’s art career has flourished for the past 12 years. Today his work hangs in over 30 fine art museums and in hundreds of galleries worldwide.

“I want to make sure I serve God through my work,” Uzilevsky says. But he prefers his music and art to be an “expression of praise that wells up from within,” not an evangelistic tool. “If you’re an artist, you don’t think in terms of … art with an ulterior motive. I like to let the Lord lead, and see what he’ll do.”

One such “lead” came when his poster distribution had become a full-sized job. As he prayed, the face of Michael Petit, an artist/architect who attended the same church, came to mind. Today Petit’s professionalism is evident in the efficient management of Uzilevsky’s fine-art publishing company, Oaksprings Impression.

Marcus Uzilevsky has come full circle: from once-abandoned Hebrew traditions to the Judeo-Christian ethic; from occult gatherings to the Church of the Open Door; from lessons of two early marriages to a lifetime commitment to Rachel and three grown children; and from music, to art, and finally, back again to recording his own country and western songs.

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“God has given me these gifts,” he says. “Now I want to know the fullness of who I am, through him.”

By Cathy Luchetti, coauthor of Women of the West (Antelope Island).

“In the Way He Should Go”

Can you look at a seven-year-old and know how he’ll turn out as an adult? That is the question posed by the British film 28 Up. Filmmaker Michael Apted, best known for directing Coal Miner’s Daugh ter, began in 1961 by interviewing a group of seven-year-old English children and asking them about life, school, and the future.

He interviewed the same children at ages 14, 21, and 28, and hopes to film another segment to see how they are doing at 35. He records the development of a child the way time-lapse photography shows the unfolding of a blossom.

28 Up raises compelling questions about the effects of environment and parental expectations on a child’s success in life. Apted draws his subjects from a cross-section of English society; from the upper class to East London Cockneys. One, a Christian, dreams at seven of becoming a missionary to Africa.

28 Up shows us two kinds of children: those who are confident they can meet life’s challenges head-on, and go on to do what it is that they want to do—and those for whom life is a mystery. While an upper-class seven-year-old announces, “First I’ll go to Eton, then to Oxford … and then become a barrister,” a boy in a children’s home asks, “What’s college?”

At 28 the former is a successful attorney, while the latter works for wages in a meat-packing plant. The aspiring missionary ends up, his Christian altruism intact, as a dedicated teacher of immigrant children in an East End slum. It seems that for some children, at least, life’s options, or lack thereof, are cast in concrete very early.

This is a worthwhile, helpful resource for parents, teachers, and youth workers who desire to help mold the lives of children. It is one of a kind: Compressing two decades of growth and development into two hours makes for a compelling film.

By Stefan Ulstein, a writer living in Bellevue, Washington.

Every morning, theologian Karl Barth did two things before he began work on his Dogmatics: he read the newspaper and played a Mozart recording.

And in late 1955 and early 1956, he wrote about Mozart: a couple of round-robin letters in Swiss newspapers, an essay in the Zwingli Almanac, and an address delivered just two days after Mozart’s two-hundredth birthday. Now, in the one-hundredth year of Barth’s birth, an English edition of his Mozart musings has become available (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, by Karl Barth, Eerdmans, 1986).

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A six-page foreword by John Updike notes that although Barth emphasized the radical distinction between the Creator and the created order, his theology “seemed to free him to be exceptionally (for a theologian) free and indulgent of the things of this world.”

No Moral To The Story

Barth is especially appreciative of the “objectivity” of Mozart’s art: “Mozart’s music is not, in contrast to that of Bach, a message, and not, in contrast to that of Beethoven, a personal confession. He does not reveal in his music any doctrine and certainly not himself.… Mozart does not wish to say anything: he just sings and sounds.”

Barth reminds us that most of Mozart’s experiences after age 20 “were almost all dark and painful.” Yet his music was not at the mercy of his moods.

The lightness of Mozart’s music also impressed Barth. Indeed, while Mozart had much to be heavy about, what occurs in his music is “a turning in which the light rises and the shadows fall, though without disappearing, in which joy overtakes sorrow without extinguishing it, in which the Yea rings louder than the ever-present Nay. Note the reversal of the great dark and the small light episodes in Mozart’s life!”

Mozart was, for Barth, a “parable of the kingdom of heaven.” And when Barth reached heaven, he planned to hear that music once again: “It may be that when the angels go about their task of praising God, they play only Bach. I am sure, however, that when they are together en famille, they play Mozart and that then too our dear Lord listens with special pleasure.”


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