The spirit highway

June 9, 2006

Whether it is that my father and great-grandfather were both ministers, I seemed to be drawn to the spirit highway from an early age. My earliest memory of odd spiritual inclinations was when I lived in Oklahoma, I was 9 or 10, my sister was three years younger. I remember we made an altar out in the forest behind our house. We put things we found in the forest on the altar, held them up to our God and gave thanks. Yes, we were likely imitating our dear old Dad who did that every Sunday, but ours was nature based, I don’t recall saying “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

My Dad was invited to the FCA one summer in the 60s (The Fellowship of Christian Athletes). This was a gathering of a huge number of Christian jocks, er athletes who, well, I’m not exactly sure what they did. But we were in the mountains of North Carolina, and it was beautiful. The spiritual/musical moment that stuck out for me was the final ceremony or service. It ended with ever-repeating verses of “Just as I Am.” Over and over and over. When I got back home to Green Bay, I sat down at the piano and figured it out. From that moment on I realised I had a gift to transcribe music. When I started composing my own music, and then learning how to notate music, it was a matter of notating what I heard in my head. Mind you, this is not spiritual, but it was a musical enlightenment afforded by a spiritual state.

As I advanced through my teens, I kept wondering : is that all there is?

My dad used to scold me for being so obsessed with death and what happens after it. I was hell-bound to experience astral projection. I was certain UFOs existed. Christianity couldn’t be everything, what else is there? Being a PK (preacher’s kid), the element of paternal rebellion was likely not too far beneath the surface. But it wasn’t just that. He would say “you can’t always explain everything, some things are a mystery, and that’s just fine.” This is not what I wanted to hear.

Bubbling beneath this burning spiritual curiosity was a little queer boy trying to come out. I fought it. I prayed constantly for it to go away. I searched every religion trying to find whether one of them might not condemn homos. And instead of going out dating and sleeping around in the 70s, I studied music and in my dark nights of the soul, I’d go to the theosophy section of the library and get lost in rare articles about thought patterns or the various nectar and mumbo jumbo that group churned up. When I wasn’t doing that, I would be in another part of the library composing music in the ultra-silent map room.

It was a great time in some ways. I got a lot of work and studying done, a lot of metaphysical research on the spirit highway. No sex.

[to be continued]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rufus June 10, 2006 at 5:01 pm

I’m curious to learn more about how your orientation affected your relationships? I don’t think you need to reconcile Christianity with homosexuality, but many people do. I wonder what it is like to be gay and to be religious. And see, I assume, correctly I think, that it is no different, ultimately, than to be yourself and to be religious. There’s just no other way. Oh, btw, everyone: I’m not Rufus, although I did fool at least one of you. I’m kept honest though: I’m surrounded by the honest.

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