Normally, this is the day that I update my other blog, The Well Run Dry. And I do have a post in the works that will deal with the importance of the timing of the global peak in world oil production. But while working on that post, I got a little distracted, which is easy to do on a Friday evening, since I am usually a bit worn out after a full work week. What distracted me was listening to a few old rock songs, namely, "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan and "Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne.
Listening to those songs got me thinking about how young these two artists were when they recorded these works, and how they earned a living in their young adulthood by sharing their observations and questions about life. In doing so, they created a body of work that forced many of the rest of us to think - at least those of us who listened to their songs. I started listening to Jackson Browne while I was in the Army, and I had just begun to discover Springsteen by the time I got out. I tend to think about how lucky they were to get the chance to do what they did, and I remember how I used to want to be a rock musician (among other things) when I was a teen - partly because it's a common characteristic of male teenagers that they enjoy making lots of noise, but partly for a deeper reason, namely, that I too had questions and observations that I wanted to share. I think now about the unregimented pace of the young adult lives of these artists, and the freedom with which they questioned, pondered, wrote and experienced life.
Then I think about how I spent my young adulthood: regimented not only by my Army experience, but by my involvement in a cultic, abusive church which was created solely to exploit its members. I think about how many years of the lives of talented, insightful people were wasted by their regimentation in this group, how many valuable observations of these people were forcibly stuffed so that these people would not be a threat to the egos of the leaders of this group. I think about how the talents of so many of these people might have blossomed into expression, and how it might have blessed us all, had their energies not been hijacked to serve a narcissistic leader. I'm not as old as Jackson Browne, but I wish that instead of looking back on endless days of frenzied "Assembly service," I could say something like this:
Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up One-O-One
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on
My household was always short on cash while I was in high school, so I don't think I ever developed the courage to try to make a living as an artist. I am an engineer now, not because I am terribly fascinated by gadgetry, but because it's a stable way to pay the bills. But whatever artistry I possess is finding expression, one way or another. I can play fingerstyle guitar tolerably. I took a college creative writing class a couple of years after my escape from my old church (It took the place of the midweek “Chapter Summary” Bible study). And I’m a blogger. I don’t hear religious bigwigs anymore telling me to shut up. I’m no longer regimented. I just wish I could say that this had been the character of my life from the time I was seventeen until now. Oh, well. I’m using a lot of words to try to hit a target that I keep missing. Anyway, thanks for reading.
My next post will begin the discussion I promised in my last post concerning solutions to the present evangelical mess. But it will have to wait until Monday, since my company is having a picnic on Sunday and I find myself roped into helping with organizing and setting it up. See you then. One other thing: I have added some new blogs to my "Links" list. These are blogs written by other survivors of abusive churces. These writers have some valuable insights regarding the process of recovery, since they themselves are working out that recovery in their own lives.