Friday, November 21, 2014

TWO AND A HALF YEARS IN A SOUTHERN BAPTIST SEMINARY

CONTINUING MY 'thrown away" life and 19 things I've done you may find hard to believe.
I barely graduated from college---with a liberal arts degree---prepared for nothing in the real world.
I hitchiked home with no clue what to do with my life.  I "drifted" into conversation with a minister who suggested I go to the seminary and become a preacher.  Adrift, clueless, vulnerable and  suggestible---I said OK---took a train to Kansas City and entered the Seminary--got a job at Hallmark Cards to sustain myself and studied Old Testament, New Testament, Preaching, Ethics, theology and Archaeology.  Lived with a group of seminarians.  My instructors were generally of the liberal wing of the church and persuaded me the Bible was not infallible or "inerrant"; but contained flawed history, anachronism and even contradictions. (by the hundreds----eg I Chronicles 21:1 vs 2 Samuel 24:1) ( Most of my professors were eventually fired for heresy and it set off a huge schism in the Southern Baptist Convention that made national news--Ralph Elliot author of "The Message of Genesis--taught me Old Testament)
The good news for me:  I began to feel my worth and wake up my self esteem--even as my doubts about religion increased.  My first sermon was a smash hit (an argument with God) and I was invited to churches all around to preach it.  A paper I wrote on ethics (in the form of a play) was printed up for the entire student body.
Nevertheless I was becoming convinced that the entire world of religion was a grand delusion.  So I quit the Seminary and enrolled as a graduate student in Kansas University studying philosophy and comparative religion.  After my first year I was drafted into the Army. (served 2 yrs as a Military Policeman at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md)
I eventually became a Unitarian (Who have left religion and adopted Values) and enjoyed 15 minutes of fame for a faux revival sermon I wrote and delivered around the country. Here is the flyer I sent to arrange speaking engagements.
I still deliver this speech on occasion---last year in Yuma.   

Was the first to deliver a Unitarian Revival
After this article--I was invited to Unitarian Churches across the US.

Here's a line from the speech to give you an idea. (Delivered in Southern Baptist style--it always creates a sensation)

"No matter how loud I preach---some people fall asleep.  For the benefit of those just waking up--I will tell you what I have told you.
My brothers and sisters----beliefs are like rats---but these rats carry a plague.  And the plague that they carry is persecution--and war--and arrogance---and guilt---and wasted lives.
If I had my way---we would make one heap of all the world's old ratty beliefs---open the lid to that festering pit and SWEEP THIS ODIOUS VERMIN INTO HELL!

UNBELIEVE----UNBELIEVE---UNDO IT--DUMP IT---SHUCK IT
And be born again as an honest human being who does not claim to know more than he really knows"

Next up: I will tell you about my time on a real death row.
Eventually I'll get to my sex life---embarrassing but hopefully cathartic for me.





 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I almost deleted today's post, sure that it would tell me why I was going to hell for any number of reasons - i.e. wearing the wrong thing, eating the wrong food on the right day (or vice-versa, not knowing my "place" as a woman}, etc. But I continued reading &md am so happy I did.

Ed Helvey - The Professional Nomad said...

Good Golly Miss Molly - randy --

I am so looking forward to meeting up with you one of these days in the, hopefully, not too distant future.

I was brought up as an American Baptist Church (a northeastern division of the denomination) and felt for sure that I had a calling to the ministry. That was in high school. Fortunately, I didn't get to go to the Baptist College I wanted to go to. I went to a nearby NJ state college and discovered my true calling in the audio and recording industry.

But, Brother, I hear you loud and clear and I'm looking forward to some deep and enlightening discussions.

Cheerio,
Ed

Anonymous said...

Why the "thrown away" sub-title? If one were to take that literally they might come to the conclusion that someone may be feeling a bit down.

I've read your blog for quite some time Randy and I can assure you, at least from my perspective, your life has been more interesting than most. I'm constantly amazed at the things that have happened in your life.

I must be reading or taking the "thrown away life" the wrong way. I wish mine was half as interesting as yours.

Bob said...

More!

Jim said...

==========
In sharing your post with my group, I found myself writing:
"There is a strong case which can be made that religion supresses our natural inclination towards enhanced self-esteem/self-worth in teaching us that our *only* salvation comes from some mythical entity we can't see OR verify the existence of . . . coupled with the constant deprecation that no matter how great we become or how wonderful we already are, we will *ALWAYS* fall short in the eyes of the one and only truly great and wonderful Laud."
==========
sail4free
==========

Rob said...

I just watched the documentary "Without Bound - Perspectives on Mobile Living", (50 minutes) it was great.

Hearing your voice Randy put your words in a whole new perspective.

I had to say something....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg37Cbx-kak&feature=youtu.be

Ed Helvey - The Professional Nomad said...

I have to echo Rob. I just watched the documentary, too. It's so reaffirming to know that there are more "sane" people out there like me. I'm going to send this around to lots of my friends who question my sanity after knowing me as the serial entrepreneur many have known me as for 30 - 50 years. Nice job Randy!

Anonymous said...

A wasted life is one without truth. Most all people professions are full of lies and fraud. Even 'scientists' are fraught with fraud and paid to makeup lies to feed the public. Only the profession of Engineering still harbors a small island of truth. To make things work engineers must deal with the truth of Mother Nature and the fundamental laws of the universe. Engineers create things that honestly work. There is true and false, right and wrong, and Engineers deal with that each day.

Edd said...

Great sharing Randy.
Amazing how so many judge a "life" as wasted if you deviate from what society "programs" for us all; birth,childhood,school,work,marriage,kids,pay taxes,death.
Oh and don't question any of it or we will judge you. DON'T disturb the Matrix.
It's all bullshit. Took me too long to figure that out.

Anita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I've been reading up on 'arete', old Greek for virtue generated roughly speaking. What it means to live a meaningful life, a life worth living (the examined life), and a bit of an exceptional life. The Greeks were big on being exceptional in the right way...Socrates' way even thought they killed him. They had a public political 'arete' as well as a private philosophical 'arete'.
You not only examine your life, Randy, but everyone else's too! I think it is kind of exceptional as well as fun, as you keep saying.
Bushman

Anonymous said...

Well Randy, I for one am enjoying getting to know the "real you". And after watching "Without Bound" today and hearing your voice, and watching your interactions with others, I can only say that I am so looking forward to meeting you! I have been reading your blog for several years now...and I'm still here, reading it! Seems you've led a interesting, unusual life! Not wasted at all! Linda

bayrider said...

Amen Brother!