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Home.  I had not seen it in 6 months and all through the holidays of 1982-83.  It was a couple weeks shy of Easter, and while it was still considered winter, it was beginning to warm just a bit as the sun shone longer.

 

The bus I boarded in NYC was the New York-Los Angeles Express.  And I did see a woman and her 2 children who were, indeed, going to LA from NYC via Greyhound.  I had made the 30+ hour bus ride to D.C. with Keith but was now returning alone.

 

Not quite alone.  The Holy Spirit still rested strongly upon me.  I was glad to be going back home, but I was also nervous.  Things had changed.  There were changes that had happened in the country while I was gone.  Music had changed, as the techno 80’s took a firm hold.  The economy was generally improving but farmers still struggled.  I had changed.

 

My Dad picked me up at the nearest bus station and I could tell he wasn’t sure what to make of his long haired son.  We talked a bit about the trip and the struggles involved in actually getting out of NYC.  My parents had suffered considerable anxiety about the whole deal and were just glad I had made it home safely.  The next day, Mom gave me a haircut, so there are no pictures that I know of from those days of me with hippie hair.

 

The hardest part of adjusting was that while some things in the world had changed, many things had not.  And spiritually this was definitely true.  My family were Christian, but were not radical about it.  I was radical.  I began getting on them about some of their bad habits and things they did and said.  Whoever said living with a saint is harder than being one was probably thinking of me in early 1983.  I was insufferable.  I was also someone with nothing to do.  I had no job and no school to go to.

 

Now that I think of it, I’m not sure what I did.  I did know that I was withering off the vine, spiritually speaking.  The Presbyterian church I grew up in was entirely too sleepy for me.  It goes without saying that no one else was speaking in tongues.

 

Micky and Mary admonished me that I needed to find a charismatic church when I got back.  I didn’t know of any.  In fact, it was hard getting into any real active Christian community.  Before going to Germany, I was a bit of a partier and a hell raiser.  I was a known quantity and fit in with those of similar mind.  But now I fit no where.  My old friends wanted to go out and get wasted, expecting me to be the same as when I left.

 

The Christian community wanted nothing to do with me and were suspicious of me.  And rightfully so.

 

I was trying to fit in these two worlds and struggled mightily.  After all the excitement and engagement of the past 6 months, I felt like I was languishing in a new desert.

 

I knew of one fellow in my hometown who had the reputation of being a strong Christian.  I decided to look him up.  He must have been in his 40’s, a prominent businessman from a respected family and totally single.  But he always made time for young people in town.  He had all sorts of computer games and video games and back then even had a modem and was plugged to what would eventually become known as the internet.  For a guy running a feed store, Robert was surprisingly geeky.

 

He finally invited me to a meeting of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International.  These meetings had many of the region’s high rollers but it was a Christian group.  It was also a Charismatic group.  And so it was that I went for several months to these meetings and obtained what amounted to a small fix of the Holy Spirit.  However, I began to question the whole business of speaking in tongues.  I was writing to my old pastor, Roger, who advised me to read the whole of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in one sitting.  And sure enough, Paul was making a clear case that tongues was not the be all and end all of being a Christian.  Over time I would speak less and less.  I can not tell you when I quit speaking in tongues, but I eventually did.  Paul admonishes us to put childish things behind us and to seek the higher gifts.  Tongues served an important function for me at a pivotal time in my life.  I will not speak against it accept when pressure is put on a person that everyone should do it.

 

That fall, I would begin college.  At first I commuted to a nearby private college and then transferred to Iowa State in January ’84.  There I would eventually join the fundamentalist movement when it was in its prime. 

 

Oh, I also did something else in January ’84; I joined the Army Reserves.  I no longer had to worry about what I was going to be doing during my summers!

 

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5 Responses to “Home”

  1. An Index to Other Entries in this Series « Unsolicited Advice: Wordpress Version Says:

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  2. FTN Says:

    I would think the whole charismatic Jesus movement in the 70s and early 80s would have been pretty cool. I’m thinking about the Jesus People USA in the 70s and that whole group. Larry Norman, all the good music…

    Anyway, I did like what you wrote about speaking in tongues: “I will not speak against it except when pressure is put on a person that everyone should do it.” That sums it up well, I think.

  3. Therese in heaven Says:

    I witnessed speaking in tongues once. This was a very unusual event for us in our church (I’m Catholic). I didn’t personally speak in tongues, but I don’t ever think I’ll forget what it sounded/felt like to be surrounded by it. At that same event there were people who were “slain in the spirit” and/or experienced the overwhelming scent of roses. Once in my life I did experience the roses thing (I’ll talk about it later in my story). Believe me, for most Catholics, this kind of spiritual expression makes us feel really out of our element.

    What I have seen as far as the charismatic movement in my Church goes is that it helps bring people in, but should only be the first step towards developing a deeper spiritual life. I think, like you said for you, that it helps get people’s attention. A means (often incredibly affective), but not an end.

  4. Digger Jones Says:

    Ha! I actually did get a chance to see Larry Norman in concert! It was a smallish crowd in a church in Cedar Falls, I think. My migration into Christian Rock is something that does make an inroad into my story and I’ll have to remember to give it the attention that it deserves.

    I’ll also have to talk a bit about the differences between charismatics, fundamentalists and evangelicals. as this comes through nicely in my progression (and regression, as it turns out).

    Ah, well, there were most definitely Catholics who spoke in tongues at the also FGBMI meetings I went to, but it was not a common thing to be sure. I’ve seen some “slain in the spirit” and I do have a hard time understanding this.

    D.

  5. Desmond Jones Says:

    Gee, Digger, now I’ve gotta follow you halfway around all of blog-space just to comment. You gonna sit still at this URL for a while? 😉

    I’ve never fully understood/appreciated ‘being slain in the Spirit’; I think it’s supposed to be a case of just being ‘overcome’ by the Holy Spirit. But, of course, it’s easy to fake and has a certain ‘exhibitionistic’ appeal. Personally, I’ve prayed in tongues for something like 35 years; it’s been a great enricher of my prayer life, and a great comfort for when I ‘just can’t find the words’.

    I never saw Larry Norman, but I did see Phil Keaggy a few times, and Lamb once. . .

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