The Gospel According to Santana?

The week before last, we went with some friends to Ravinia (for those of you outside the Chicago area, it’s an outdoor music venue). Santana was playing, but since we were on the lawn, it’s not as though we actually “saw” Santana. We heard him, though. He put on a great show. Until he got to the sermon.

Yeah, you read that right… the sermon. Toward the end, old Carlos launched into what can only be called an attempt at a motivational speech, but you could tell it’s not his calling. Stick to the guitar Carlos. The most disturbing thing about it, though, was what he said. What you might call the point of his message. He even repeated it three times, like something he’d seen a TV preacher do. This is it: You are divine.

Whoops. Did I hear that right? Yep… you are divine. Well, Mr. Santana, you may think that’s a very progressive idea, but I hate to tell you, it’s been around for 2,000 years, it’s called gnosticism, and it’s a heresy.

So let me set the record straight. You are not divine. God is. Or as another musician, the late great Keith Green, once put it: He is de-vine, we are de branch (John, chapter 15). We are made in the image of God, but that’s not the same thing as being divine.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s good news that we’re not divine. That would be too much pressure. In reality, though, some people like to think of themselves as divine. Being divine would mean that you are your own highest authority and you don’t have to answer to anyone. Being divine would mean that there’s no room for growth, that one is the best one can be and there’s no need for change.  But all that is a lie. As I said in Spiritual Blueprint, the world wants you to believe the lie that you are fine the way you are.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (II Timothy 4:3-4)

People believing they’re fine the way they are is part of the reason we have a 50% divorce rate. Rather than modify their behavior to love their spouse, people dig in their heels and say things like, “I can’t change who I am.” Or, “He/she wants me to be someone I’m not.” When this happens, people think their identity is bound up in staying exactly the same as they are now, and then the idea of change (i.e., growth) is seen as a loss of self. And that’s too bad, because if you think change is loss, you will never realize your potential in life.

To summarize… You are not your own higher power. You are not divine – you are not even a spark of divinity (no matter what the modern gnostics say). But you are made in the image of Divinity, so you are a loving and beloved, creative, rational, spiritual being with free will. On the other hand, there’s still room for improvement.


Jim Papandrea


About Jim Papandrea

Jim Papandrea is an author, educator, and singer/songwriter. Visit his website at:
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2 Responses to The Gospel According to Santana?

  1. Kim says:

    why do celebrities get to the point where they think that they are experts on anything besides being a celebrity? Is the narcissism just so out of control? I didn’t go to law school, so I don’t pretend I know a whole lot about politics. why does george clooney think he does? I just do not get it.

    • It’s interesting because we do want them to be responsible, since we would say they are role models whether they want to be or not – but on the other hand, some of them embrace that role so much that they think they are the world’s mentors. On the one hand, if you’ve learned something in life, it’s good to share it; on the other hand a little psychobabble can do more harm than good. – JP

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