Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Religious Experiences

Greetings once again to all who read this!

Well, it’s Saturday night, and I aint got no money, so I’m bloggin’.

I’d really like to go out with Molly and see Jarhead, or maybe (to a lesser degree) take the kids to see Chicken Little, but instead I’m here at the keyboard bearing my soul in cyberspace.

I was thinking today about the first time I heard the old Imperials album “Sail on”.  Can ANY of you out there even remember that album, or do you even know who the Imperials were?  Yes, they sang backup for Elvis a few times in their early years, but when I first heard the album “Sail On”, it was a revelation.  I’d never heard anything like it.  The song “Water Grave” was my favorite.  I listened to that song over and over and over.  There was a particular drum solo toward the end of the song that I loved.  I would hit rewind for a second and listen to that little segment repeatedly, relishing the moment of ecstatic silence as Russ Taff’s voice faded, anticipating the first drum beat, then listening to every minute detail of the sounds that followed.  The way each beat echoed, the way it thumped in my chest (with the volume as high as it could go without distorting).  

The Imperials (along with most good music) were against the rules at my Christian school back then, and at my church, and anything church-sponsored that I went to (such as camp, and so forth), so I had to hide my cassette and listen to it with the player up against my ear at the lowest possible setting.  I remember one day I really wanted a friend of mine to hear some of the songs, so we hid behind a soda machine and listened with our ears together against the little cassette player I had.  Ahh, those were the days!

That kind of experience is such a wonderful thing.  What is it called?  It’s not just the momentary thrill I’m thinking of, but the life-changing aspects of it.  That moment when I heard “Sail On” for the first time was a big turning point in my life.  It altered every day thereafter.  It was like the opening of a door that led to all kinds of wonderful things.  It was like that when I read The Chronicles of Narnia the first time several years earlier.  Another one was one Saturday in college when I sat and watched Franco Zepherelli’s 6 ½ hour Jesus of Nazareth epic.  More recently, when Molly and I saw U2 in concert (my very first rock concert!).  Sometimes I call that kind of experience “a religious experience”, but it has very little to do with the experience of attending most so-called “religious” activities, such as a church service.  I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been to maybe one or two church services in my life that have been “religious experiences” in the way I’m talking about.  

When I look back on my life, those are the moments that I really love to remember.  They reach out of the past and become metaphors that guide me in present life.  It’s really amazing.  I think that a lot of what I do is driven by a deep desire to have experiences like that again and again.  

Until next time—



At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you were such a rebellious kid! Did you use toilet paper instead of kleenex?

Heh Heh.

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, you can have all the "religious experiences" you want. I have an aversion to that word 'religion'. You know, the people Jesus had the most trouble with and the people he criticized the most were the 'religious' people. I work very hard at not being religious. It just isn't my nature.... the old nature or the old one! I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is much more satisfying and rewarding than any "religious experience". So, as far as I'm concerned you can call anything you want a "religious experience".
I am very sorry you had such a negative experience in 'christian schools'. Most of them are that way, it seems they teach rules more than they do Christ.
To Anonymous.... what's wrong with using toilet paper instead of kleenex? I do it all the time.
Keep on musing with your meandering mind. I like to read your musings.

Auntie D.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you have no money because you went to see U2 in concert!

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a song on that album "try again" That was my favorite. It actually was a pivitol song that helped me change my life. I wish I had the chords to that song.

Great memories my friend

God Bless

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Timothy Blaisdell said...

Yes, "Try Again" was one of the songs on that album.

There is a power that has come
To help you stand
It is the Spirit of God
Sent down to man
If you will just trust his name
Your life he will rearrange
And give you the courage
To try again

See? That wasn't even my favorite on the album, and I can still recite it after all these years.


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