The Story

This guy is fascinating to me . . . like one day I took a walk in Central Park and discovered a long lost brother from the sixties before everybody was pigeon holed into this huge social trap of sameness. A time when free thought and weirdness was the order of the day. . . . We need more bonobo’s like him to come out of hiding and not be afraid to do it.

Whats YOUR story? . . . . . . . . .

My Old Friends

myoldfriends

It seems I do more of it in the winter, but regardless, as I get older I spend a lot of time day dreaming. I usually wake up about 5 am, make coffee and, being retired and having no place to go, sit in my chair in the dark drinking my coffee and dreaming about the past. A rather pleasant time, I might add.

Now I have been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, but the things and places have become mere backdrops, places to hold the faces and memories of the many people I have known and the friends I have made over the last 72 years that I have lived on this planet.

As I begin to think on a place and time the faces are soon to follow. These faces pop into my mind like a worn out jack-in-the-box. Crank the handle and up pops Joey Sirgo or Gunner Thompson, or Tommy One Nut, Pissball Pete or just plain Joe . . . . . (It’s amazing how many of these guys have slang names and how often that’s the only one I can remember.)

Then the fun begins as I sit and reminisce with these guys over all the exciting times we had together . . . and a few of the sad ones. Seems the good and the funny always float to the top first though. I have to dig a bit to get to the bad, so as I hate shoveling I mostly leave that part alone.

To all the girls I’ve loved before. I remember your eyes, the lift of your breasts and the swing of your hips, but my Band of Brothers meant far more to me than trying to figure you out ever did. You ladies have a special room in my heart, but not this one. This room is filled with bar girls, one night stands, and short time hookers.

The “old boys club” door is locked to the finer female. You wouldn’t like it in here anyways cause the room stinks of old cigar smoke, cordite and bull shit, and the floor is littered with trampled peanut shells, dried blood and dog hair. A place only one of my old friends could love.

I always figured when I got old I would be sitting in the park with the rest of the old goats like they did when I was a kid. Maybe the old project crowd still do that, I don’t know because I lost contact with them at 15 when I had to move.

Today I live a life of seclusion. I spend my days reading, or goofing on my computer or driving my wife crazy, but rarely if ever do I spend time with friends, cause although spread out over half the world, they are not here.

Once I was in a Portland City jail cell with the walls covered in graffiti. I found an empty spot and wrote my own little tale of woe, “I’ve been alone since birth, I’ll remain alone till death, then I’ll have a friend”. Kind of a downer, but how else would you feel being stuck in a two man cell with a guy coming down off heroin?

I do hope that quickly thought verse will prove itself to be true though cause I’m getting closer to D day each time I go to sleep at night and it would be really cool to wake up on the other side and see a large table of my friends gathered around it to greet me. (and my many favorite dogs lying under it)

Jesus and God would have to wait for a while then because first thing I want to do is drink some good Old Crow and hang out with the guys again for a season . . . or two.

I think Robert Service said it all about guys like us. Guys our women just can’t quite understand:

The Men Who Don’t Fit In

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.

They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.

They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.

And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.

Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.

But . . . those of us who have walked this path would have it no other way. (end)

I wrote the above about 4 years ago and nothing has changed. Alone but never lonely I become more irrelevant daily, but, still, I miss my old friends and wonder what happened to all of them . . .  and am far too lazy to find out.

Salvation

You: What does it mean to be saved?

Me: That depends upon your religious affiliation, but as a rule the Christian church teaches that Jesus Christ willingly gave up his life as a sacrifice for your sins, and by your acknowledgement of that sacrifice you have been freed from the curse of sin and death. It teaches that Heaven is reserved for those who die in the faith . . . Hell is reserved for those who don’t.

Christian doctrine accepts a convert as they are and promises them a new life where they will be forgiven of past sins and become a new person as they live under the living word of God and His bible. In time the simplicity of that message created the largest and most powerful religion known to man. People flocked to the Mother church and her teachings by the millions.

When I was a younger man I know I did. I was at the end of my rope. I needed help from somewhere. Jesus was there, free and open armed, for me. I was born again in a local church and as long as I remained in good standing with the church and it’s doctrine I was guaranteed a place at the table when I got to Heaven. Heady stuff for a guy who had absolutely no religious affiliation whatsoever, and it worked great for a couple of years . . . BUT . . .

In time I began to notice that my life had become an ‘us vs them’ affair, something I was not comfortable with for many reasons. I began to question . . . especially when I realized I, as well as almost every church person I knew, had pretty much traded our past sins in for an open, ongoing, and obnoxious version of self righteousness. I was not pleased with myself.

I studied the bible, prayed for this and that, even lived on a Christian commune for a couple years . . . but after all was said and done I was the same guy I’d always been, but now I had to hide behind this magical connection to God. Anyway the questions became too many, the doubts too large, and I became what we church people feared more than anything else . . . a reprobate backsliding his way to Hell!

Back to the question of salvation: What was I being saved for? Why me? What if I couldn’t read the bible? What if I was born a Muslim? A Jew? An Indian? Chinese? What about the rest of creation? The questions came on like an endless series of waves in a heavy storm and I felt myself sinking under them . . . so I did what I do best. I hopped a plane and headed off into the sunset and a new adventure in Seattle.

Today I am not down on any church, but in general I believe we have gotten it all wrong when it comes to Christianity. I believe we have been duped by a ministry clearly bent on self aggrandizement. Guys who have created magical doctrines in order to rule over their flock of believers instead of taking the time and patience to teach them to practice what the simple teachings of Christ actually meant. We Americans are an overly spoiled, ‘all show and no go’ people. Even our version of Christianity, (especially the TV ministry bullshit), proves it to us.

Bottom line . . . It is easier to WORSHIP Jesus than it is to LEARN from him . . . and the ministers are using our spiritual laziness against us by promoting their version of American exceptionalism in order to control our minds, and give themselves a great life in their shiny new church. These Pharisees and false prophets are alive and well and living among us.

So here’s my answer to your question on salvation:  Jesus didn’t appear on the scene to SAVE you. He came to TEACH you how to SAVE yourself. . . and if you choose to follow and practice his teachings, he will be your teacher and you his student. And what can be more satisfying to a teacher than to have a student who learns his lesson?

Jesus was a special being, no one can argue that. I believe he existed and was a thorn in the sides of the priests of that day, just as you will become if you follow his lead. I don’t believe he was a special creation though. I believe he was an old soul who obtained awareness at a very early age and dedicated his life to the cause of teaching humanity a better way.

I believe there have been many teachers who have come and gone throughout the ages who were born for the very same reason, and I believe they all have based their teachings on one four cornered foundation.

house of god
You are being saved for no other reason than to build THIS house . . . you may never know it, you may never be awarded anything other than the satisfaction of knowing you helped build it . . . but that will be enough.

 

The Book

Summer 1980 . . . It’s summertime and I have just  recently flown back to Ohio after leaving the body farm in Palmer Alaska. I am beginning to write a book about my times living on one of Sam Fife’s end time farms. Following is the introduction to that book . . .

Introduction

It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago I was standing on a cliff overlooking the Little Susitna river staring beyond into the foothills of the distant mountains whose streams and hills were once laced with gold and promises of grandeur. The mines are still there to tell the story of the old days when gold was God and men deprived themselves, struggling against the harsh climate to seek its favor and to possess all the earthly goods that it offered them.  

I too was there in Alaska seeking gold, but my gold was the promise of a changed nature. A nature of good fruit and righteousness that God has promised to them that loved Him and sought to walk in His way. Proverbs 8-19 says – My fruit is better than gold even pure gold and my yield than choicest silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice to endow those who love me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.

Years ago the Lord had given me a vision of God’s people living together in peace and harmony, of working the land and experiencing His life together in Christian community. Corporate life and total commitment to Jesus Christ and His body was at the time, in my opinion, the highest of callings.  

I’d spent the last five years there in the Matanuska valley, experiencing the joys and sorrows that come from living so close with so many. Knowing first hand how easy it is to expound upon the principles and doctrines of God and to declare our total commitment to Him in church, but how difficult it is to walk daily on His path and continually heed His call to lay down our lives and our wants that our brother may live and have his needs met. I loved Alaska and my family there, I was certain I would never leave, but it seemed the Lord had other plans for me.

How did I come to be involved in such a lifestyle? This is my story. A story of one man’s search for meaning in this life. A search for reality.

END

 

Summer 2018 . . . That was then . . . this is now. Then I was a young man full of visions, on a hero’s journey . . . today I am an old man full of dreams who is reaching as far back on memory lane as he can get, trying to figure out what the hell it was I was thinking those many years ago.

In the beginning of this story it is easy to recognize the effects of imagination on the romantic mind. It only takes a worthy cause to arouse the warriors spirit and send him on the hero’s journey.

Forever, it seems, I have been on that journey. Like Sir Launfal in Lowell’s poem “ The Vision Of Sir Launfal” I was, it seems, on a quest to find the holy grail and like the original seeker I failed miserably.

What kind of person gets caught up in these cults anyway?  I can only speak for myself.

My early life was not normal by any definition. I was a smart kid from a dysfunctional family with no self esteem and very little training. I grew up in a housing project that required me daily to defend myself against multi membered bullies that were older than me and higher up the pecking order. I was a competitive, street smart loner before the age of ten. I was most likely the ideal candidate for a cult.

When I had my Jesus moment around the age of thirty I didn’t hear the call to salvation and Heaven like everyone else I knew. I heard the clarion call to save the world for Jesus and his church . . . I, still on the hero’s journey,  jumped in with both feet and enlisted into the army of God . . . Glory! Fighting for God . . . It doesn’t get any better than that! The tests and trials before that day became moot as I put on His armor, took up His sword and began to fight His battle against Lucifer and his army of demonic angels.

Then one day my truths changed and I tossed that heavy sword into the river of life and settled down for a long, long nap . . .

Today I am out of causes and . . . today, like Sir Launfal, I realize that the holy grail had been with me the whole time, it lived within the eyes and lives of the family I had left behind in my mad dash to win the war against Satan and make a way for God’s people.  

I’m now 76 years old. I figure if I’m going to write this book I better get started before father time punches my clock. So as memory holds, here we go . . . down the pathway of remembrance.

This will not be a negative story, nor much of a positive one either. I am going to try to write this as an impartial observer. I still have friends on the various farms that I love and respect and mean them no harm. Regardless of how I feel about religion and the Brother Sam ministry I will take none of my angst out on them . . . it was a time when the world was so different and so much simpler that I thought the hero actually had a chance to make a change . . . before JFK got killed, before the war in Vietnam turned my generation upside down, before drugs and before Brother Sam . . . that is.