Obviously NOT Southern Baptist. They would have stoned you in the parking lot. heehee
Here is a "snip-it" of a article I wrote and read for my congragation.
God and Gratitude
I have always been a musical person. The earliest time I can remember that this was part of my life was right after the Beatles broke up. I had an older Sears or Montgomery Wards record player and my dad owned copies of Abbey Road and The White Album. I played them until they had scratches on them. When you’re 5 years old record care is right up there with making your bed and cleaning your room. My parents, seeing that I was hooked on Lennon/McCartney, gave me my first guitar around this time. I learned how to play most of The Beatles repertoire and moved onto listening to the radio for more stuff to soak up.
I remember realizing that there was a spiritual side of music early on. I was adopted as a baby, and grew up in a home that was filled with artistic opportunities. My mom was raised in the Jewish faith, and her side of the family did all the holidays, and we attended many. My best friend from 3rd grade on was also of the Jewish faith, and I was allowed to go to temple with him on many occasions. So before I was 10, I had the chance to dance and sing under Gods roof. I couldn’t understand Hebrew, but dancing and singing was alright with me. I also had friends in school who were Baptist. I can vividly remember getting up, singing and dancing at church with them. This time I could understand the words too. My dad and his side of the family was protestant, but there was tension between my folks in this area, and I was never really sure which path was for me….
As it goes, I hit the teens and the troubled youth stage. God’s grace would have to wait. I kept playing guitar during these times…. however now that I look back, it kept me out of some serious trouble. As one decade ended and another began, I found The Grateful Dead. (or they found me) This was my first experience of “church” in some ways….it was through the people I met at the concerts (and the lyrics) that I found acceptance and the freedom to be whoever I was. There was something deeply spiritual about this for me, and I think there always will be. I was free to be me….apart from my family, apart from expectations….in this community I was able to figure who I was as an individual. Music brought us together across different backgrounds and life experiences….music unified us all.
Life is filled with ironies, and my life is no exception to this….after working for AT & T for many years and being transferred from state to state, I happened to move to Oregon. During this time, something strange happened. I met a woman who was a United Methodist Minister….what a trip! As things unfolded, we began a relationship and things continued to become interesting in a way I never imagined.
At first, I was curious about church, but mainly on the sidelines. I attended church events when necessary, but wasn’t into participating on a regular basis. I believed in God, but I wasn’t sure how all that worked out when it came to “religion”.
It goes on into some other personal tidbits, but in all I have been married to Denise for 7 years, we have 2 wonderful children, and I look forward to playing guitar on sundays for all.....
PS I would love Hunter write something about this....lol...
I think a lot of people confuse God with religion. Or, to put it another way, they look to religion to define God. I know I did for a long time. I was unwilling to believe in God until I could find a religion that I thought adequately defined God. I never found one.
I now think I know why. God did not invent religion, as we know it. Man did.
When I stopped trying to tell God who he ought to be and asked him to show me who he IS, he did.
I believe the word Christian comes closest to describing my beliefs about who God is. But I have lots of debates/discussions with my christian friends about what that means.
As for religion, the apostle James said "The only religion that is true and pleasing to God is to care for orphans and widows (in other words, people who really need our help) and to keep ourselves from being polluted by this world."
Now that is a religion I can get with.
I am a Christian and a deadhead. For me the beauty of the Grateful Dead at it's best is that it points away from itself to something transcendent, just like seeing a sunset or forest or the night sky. Just like recieving a letter from someone you love, the paper and the ink are not the end in themselves but it's the person, the mind behind the letter the love in the relationship that really counts. For me when I hear songs like Dark Star and the way Jerry plays guitar, it points to the goodness of the creator.
Love to Y'all
p.s great forum topic.
This forum sounds like it's right up my alley. The Dead have been a huge part of my spiritual life for over 20 years. I am the son of a fundamentalist Christian preacher and at one point came close to becoming an Episcopal priest myself. Over the years there is less and less about which I am certain. I do believe in God, but have few preconceptions at this point about exactly what that means. I also believe that whether or not we believe in God is not important to God. The important thing is that we are growing as human beings and being kind to each other along the way. I do know that I have experienced what I call God numerous times at Dead shows and while listening to their recorded music. "Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right." Actually the experience has been far more frequent than just once in a while! I recently talked to the church I attend about my spiritual life related to the Grateful Dead and have actually generated much interest in their music among my fellow parishoners. Anyway, I'm excited about this forum and look forward to the exchange of views and experiences.
and all acts of love are Her rituals.
(izzie's a Witch, in case you couldn't tell.)