The Backslider Project
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By etrigan - Last updated: Monday, August 4, 2003 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

Some of you may not know that previous to high school I was a “holy roller”. I attended a “charismatic”: Methodist church overlooking “Caddo Lake”: from about age 9 until I was about 15. I didn’t listen to secular rock-n-roll for the most part. At different points in my childhood I was grounded for possessing tarot cards, and my Mom burned my cassette tapes because she thought they were responsible for my increasing bad attitude. (She has since gotten a PhD in Psychology and realizes that my problem was that I was a teenager and the music reflected the conflicts I was feeling — not the other way around.)

“”: has started “The Backslider Project”: (which I suspect will be managed only slightly better than a BPB(Back Porch Beer) premise). Lindsay Robertson ‘s idea is to bring together the community of people whose childhood was impacted by the 1970’s charasmatic movement. She’s aiming for a warmly funny and embarassing take on the whole situation — along the lines of “Receiving the holy ghost, then going to see Ghost. It’s kicked up a lot of memories for me that I thought I would share, though it may be hard for “outsiders”: to understand.

The story I contributed to Lindsay was about doing “mime for Jesus”: . In retrospect it really is as absurd as it sounds. It was an idea from the heart for the person who organized it, but it probably wan’t a good idea to meld the “most hated”: of all performance art forms with a “public activity”: that is viewed as only slightly better than panhadling. It was certainly a great team-building exercise as it brought me closer to the people who mimed with me — my coworkers would kill me if I shared that with my boss. It was one of the last serious involvments I had in the church youth group.

My strongest memories, though, are tied to the music we listened to. It has been especialy hard for my wife to understand why I crank my computer speakers up when I am able to find a classic “Petra”: or “Sweet Comfort Band”: song on the “WinMX”: . (Yes, I may be going to hell for downloading bootleg Christian Rock songs.) My fovorites lately have been the Petra version of “God Gave Rock and Roll To You”: and their original song “Judas Kiss”: .

My first “rock concert” was a Petra concert. A couple chaperones from the church shuttled a group of us kids to the concert at an auditorium in a Bossier City high school. The band wore camoflauge and used heavy smoke machines. It was my first experience of loud live music and it was heaven! The chaperones, though, had a long discussion over the “approriateness”: of “Christianity and Rock”: music.

Like most of my life, I have been able to see the wonderful things that sprouted from my upbringing (although I realize the aptness of fertilizer analogies) and I am glad I was raised like I was. Without the heavy Christian upgringing I fear that I would be a lot worse off. I certainly know that the evil I did perpetrate as a teenager (no joke) was often tapered by the things I learned in a charasmatic church; and the people I grew up with, misguided or not, were some of the best people on the planet.

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2 Responses to “The Backslider Project”

Comment from jank
Time August 5, 2003 at 9:53 am

Wow. My folks’ church seems almost normal by comparison. No miming for Jesus, only a couple of house restoration projects, etc. Also no Christian rock (Well, except for Stryper).

BTW- When I read about the potential story ‘Making out at the lock-in’ I nearly shot coffee out of my nose.

Comment from etrigan
Time August 9, 2003 at 11:11 am

I just thought of an adendum to this. My church put on several Christian musicals and I was often in one of the lead roles despite my pitiable singing voice. The biggest repercusion of the musicals is that everytime I type “Christmas” it has to play in my head as a song (where each letter is a note in the song, C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, Christmas is the day that Jesus brings.

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