How I Ended Up In the Freak Show Part 3


You may ask yourself, Where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, Am I right? Am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, My God, what have I done?
—David Byrne

—Luke 4:9

*   *   *

fingersREAD PART ONE in which I relate my rise from the dank dungeons of Midwestern religion to the heady heights of heroic hedonism—including cool cars and snazzy suits.
READ PART TWO wherein is recounted some stoned adventures in Churchland and an encounter with a rather curious clergyman.

*   *   *


I waited, dazed and numb, as the kind church secretary informed the pastor that I wanted to see him. She told me that it would be just a few minutes and with a reassuring smile returned to her desk and her work. I nervously checked my watch; it was almost ten. I hoped that whatever was going to happen or not would happen or not in time for me to run home, eat lunch, change clothes, and get to work by one. I was new at this. I had no idea how long the wrath of God usually took.

I tapped my foot and looked around the room. No snakes or Kool-Aid that I could see. No photos of Sun Myung Moon or L. Ron Hubbard on the wall either. Only a faded picture of Jesus knocking on a door. I didn’t know whom Jesus was looking for, but I was glad that he at least wasn’t looking at me. I checked my watch again. The secretary looked up and smiled. “It won’t be long,” she said. Yeah, right, lady. She had no idea that my entire debauched life was projecting before my eyes in HD, no idea that I was nothing but a lump of charcoal waiting to happen, no idea that I had to pee like the Hoover Dam. I just nodded and concentrated on my shoes.


After a few more moments, she stood and gestured me toward the door. This was it. I had no idea what it it was, but I knew that it was probably going to be the biggest it of my entire tilted life. With a deep breath I stepped through the door. And there he was. He sat behind a simple desk cluttered with papers and books, wearing the same suit and beard as last time. But now he seemed much smaller, much less terrifyingly Old Testament. This was no ravening prophet; here was just a little, thin man in spectacles and a frumpy suit. I’m not sure if I was relieved or disappointed. He smiled and stood. “How can I help you?” he asked, offering his hand.

But before I could shake it, before I could think, before I even knew what I was saying, I blurted out, “I want to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior!” Seriously. I really did.

I blinked. He blinked.

Okay. There are two things that go through your mind in a situation like this. The first is—What the hell am I doing? There I was, up to my armpits in at least six of the seven deadly sins—and an expert in a few more I had invented myself. I was the Mozart of immorality, the Aeneas of iniquity, the Van Gogh of vice for God’s sake! The LAST thing I wanted was to abandon my magnificent moral turpitude to become some bobble-headed Jesus freak.

The second thing that goes through your mind is—What if the Jesus thing is a sham? What if the whole Christian hallelujah God deal is an absurd sideshow? What if church is no more than a 2000 year-old consolation club for rejects, misfits, oddballs, and mutants? What if there’s nobody on the other end of the line? What if Woody Allen was right after all? “Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.”

freak-show-paintings-sculptures-highlight-stroll-25986But there I was. The die was cast. I could smell the bridges burning behind me.

The pastor invited me to sit as he pulled a chair around. He said that there was no magic formula, no fancy rituals. All I had to do was pray. I closed my eyes. This was it. The salvation thing was either legit or not, and I was about to find out. “Lord, I want you to be my savior.” I paused, then added, “And make it stick.” That was it. No long flowery prayers. No shimmy and shake. No heavenly choirs. The pastor shook my hand and reassured me that God was faithful and would handle the details. Meeting over.

I drove home to get ready for work with no idea what had just happened. Yes, I had said a prayer which I was pretty sure was sincere, but other than a mild sense of relief nothing seemed all that different. This new salvation gig wasn’t exactly a letdown, but it was no barn-burner either.

Thirty minutes later the barn exploded.

*   *   *

PART FOUR: The Invasion of the Body Snatcher


2 Responses

  1. I have been reading your posts for some time. I really enjoy them! Great minds think alike. Hearing someones testimony and learning how one entered the Bride has always been soul food for my soul. Thanks!

  2. Interesting that you quote that deeply evangelical woody Allen and your name is also Allen
    Coincidence? I think not

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