The big revival tent went up today at the south end of the north-bound Pecos Civic Center, near the Thank-God-I'm-a-Cowboy-And-Yer-Not Rodeo Arena, down there where they have the Bar-B-Q contest every year and everybody cheats.
I heard it on the radio. All of "Pecos is talkin'."
The winds were too strong last night to get an erection (of the tent) and Brother Bob and Reverend Mike had to give it up until this morning. God must have been mad at all the cocaine coming up through town from Mexico in horse trailers with drivers pretending to be bronc-busters and bull riders. Or maybe it was because one of "the saved" from the "family values party" in Idaho got nailed while toe-tapping in an airport restroom to an undercover song by a vice squad officer last June and he had to plea-bargain his-righteous-self right out of the Senate this week -- or so his Congressional peers would have it -- he hasn't actually resigned yet; he's taking lessons from Gonzo.
You are aware that we have a "vengeful god," are you not? Or maybe you don't get those televangelists on cable TV who make that claim while attempting to scare and shame your grandmother out of her social security check.
Call me a gambler, or maybe I just have too much faith in people, but I say "bring 'em on!" [I hope I don't have to eat my words like The Dubya.] Pecos needs help -- seriously -- and both of these Pentecostal preachers are "in the recovery bid'ness." Brother Bob hit bottom in 1981 and asked Our Lord for help. Once he was saved, he related, he even went into a black neighborhood in South Carolina to preach the Gospel and lived to tell about it. [Why is it that I suspect he votes Republican?]
Reverend Mike tells a similar story, only like so many of us, he is a recovering hippie as well.....except that many of us personally never recovered from the idealism, the commitment to spirituality, the Essene-inspired gift of the Judeo-Christian tempered universal Dharma come to the West and its refuge among like-minded pilgrims struggling to surrender the illusion of "self" through prayer and meditation via a more Enlightened Way, a compassionate way, a spirituality of wisdom appropriate in a fashion that would address the real needs of the wayfarer in order to end the suffering for him and for others; while some "hippies" actually did recover from that.
These guys say they have "A Way to end suffering and find salvation" and I say let's have it! Isn't that what it's all about? Finding A Way to end suffering? Even a drunk will toast to that. A Way to find redemption? I know of thousands who shot-up to find redemption. But allowing A Gentle Grace -- A Sublime Glory -- to breathe life into us and unite with us in our suffering, us with It, until Grace Itself is all that remains. Now that is going beyond suffering; that is transcending addiction. And we soon find that we have even transcended beyond that Gate, a gateway through which he walked and we followed into a new dimension, The Way having become opened to us as promised by surrendering until it yields the way itself beyond even that shore to a dimension beyond ways. Gate, Gate, Para Gate, Para Sam Gate, Bodhi Svaha!They said on the radio that all are welcome -- no matter what faith or denomination. They even specifically said, "Even Baptists and Methodists are welcome" but they didn't mention Zen Buddhist Catholics.
Now when they were talking on the radio this morning, I was putting on new wiper blades down at Napco and I overheard a rancher talking on his cell phone saying to the guy on the other end, "The Muslims are coming! It's bound to happen sooner or later and did you hear about that senator who was pussy-footin' around with an undercover cop in an airport restroom?" I looked up and said, "Yup, that's your 'family values party,'" but he just gave me a dirty look and turned his back. To show you how small Pecos is, when I got to the grocery store on the other side of town, a guy who looked exactly like him, chewing tobacco, silver handle bar mustache-and-all was talking on his cell phone lamenting the sad state of the country and wondering what they were going to do when the Muslims got here because the people that matter may not have enough rifles and maybe they should go out and get some more. Must have been twins. All the while the announcement was being made on the radio and they were missing it, worryin' 'bout the Muslims:
"Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!" The Ol' Time Tent Revival, brought to you by the people who will bring "Truckin' fer Jezus" to Pecos AM radio starting tomorrow -- the guy who rides channel-19 out in Toyah trying to get 18-wheelers to pull-over at his truck stop on Interstate-20 so they can give their lives to Jezus, get baptized in the holding tank under the windmill then get back on the interstate with a Slurpy and a hot dog -- will begin spittin' Hell Fire & Brimstone and the "layin' on of hands" in the Rodeo parking lot beginning this Thursday night at 7:00 PM. So come on out and get slain in the spirit. He and his co-apostle from Indiana will be praying and speaking in tongues nightly throughout the weekend and through the week to come. You might even get to meet Barak. Just look for the big tent in Pecos on Cedar Street [Rt. 283] -- you know, the one that's smokin' and spittin' out sawdust? That one.
And do you know what I'll be doing? Yup, I'll be right there sittin' in a foldin' chair praying that someone can bring help to the drug addicts and alcoholics of Pecos, Texas. Lord knows, we got more than our share and their families are suffering. The entire community is suffering.
Yes, addiction is a disease, one that is recognized by the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. It has a common etiology, a predictable course. It is progressive, chronic, and fatal.But if Brother Bob and Reverend Mike have a truly clear understanding of the universal concept of surrender -- of लेत्तिंग गो -- Letting Go -- unlike our current president, who claims to have "quit on his own" pulling on his own bootstraps [with Laura kicking him in the ass], who yet still continues to suffer episodic relapses, ones that his handlers struggle to sweep under the Oval Carpet of the Oval Office -- then the good that they can do is enormous and the community should welcome them as if the auspicious White Elephant from the mysterious depths of an Indian rain forest had stumbled into Pecos ridden by Our Beloved Blessed Mother.
Notwithstanding the damage many moralists do by creating shame and guilt on top of this deadly disease of addiction, driving its sufferers deeper into their cups, all the while demanding the addict/alcoholic marshal all his/her WILL-POWER to conquer "the sin" -- the very psychological force that ironically serves to strengthen the obsession with drugs and alcohol -- if these two literalist "bible thumping" apostles of sobriety can rescue just one Pecos denizen of addiction until s/he can progress to a more stable long-term recovery, we, the undercover writers of This Ain't My First Rodeo say wail away, cast out those evil demons of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, weed, crystal meth, cough syrup, "X" and inhalants. Command those demons of addiction to flee into a mayonnaise jar and take them out to the county dump and bury them.
*I actually witnessed such a "miracle of deliverance" at a charismatic prayer meeting in the basement of a building at Purdue University in the early 70s. But the problem always is -- as they explained it to me at a tent revival in Austin in 1984 -- once the poor addict takes one drink or just one snort or one hit, then all those demons re-enter his body with a "legion" of others just like it, and the addict is soon worse-off than he ever was. Not surprisingly: doctors, psychologists, addictionologists and members of AA and NA have been saying the same thing for years now. "It's not the caboose that kills you when you're hit by a train; it's the engine." It's that first drink or hit.Now that TDCJ has begun to slough-off its mandate to corporatists and the private prison industry has abandoned rehabilitation programs for the Almighty Dollar, we may be stuck with Brother Bob & Reverend Mike as the only solution for West Texas....metaphorically speaking, that is. [Not that that's a bad thing.] But the point is in need of reiteration as the prerequisite for a pedantic and penetrating preponderance, as an old drunk once gushed from his barstool just before he passed out and fell off. To wit: Don't even think about going to prison to find "recovery" because it ain't happenin' there. Use to be, a fella could go downtown and slap a cop and be guaranteed that he was going to sober up that night! Rumor has it, that corrections officers at RCDC-III busted a wine-bootlegging operation in one of their inmate housing units last week. It just goes to show you that you can't even get away from it in the joint [actually, with chronic under-staffing for years, you always could get high behind bars].
One of the constant themes against which this blog intends to rail is the privatization of prisons. The two highest risk factors for the initial commission of crime and of its recidivism are no longer being addressed because of corporatist profiteering:
(1) Lack of EducationAll other factors are secondary. If a person can't get sober, they're probably wasting their time trying for success in other endeavors. "First things first," as they say.
(2) Untreated Substance Abuse
And you aren't going to punish [or shame] an alcoholic or an addict onto the wagon. I hope this latest religious version of "The Bob & Mike Show" in redux doesn't waste our time tying to.
Private prisons collectively celebrate the rise in crime rates; they exacerbate these risk factors every penny-pinching chance they can by withholding funds for Substance Abuse Education and Treatment. GED programs are in their sights as well.
So look for recidivism rates to skyrocket in Texas just like they have in California and elsewhere under the same budget tightening ignorance by the state and via unrestrained avarice on the part of the private prison industry.
All the while, faith-based initiatives that attempt to address addiction with a righteous indignation for the sins of these "drunks and dope heads," who they look down upon really, compound the problem by heaping on the shame, which is "the engine of addiction" -- even the sexual addiction with which Senator Craig of Idaho obviously suffers is shame-driven. Or did we miss something when Rev. Ted Haggard snorted crystal and hopped-on for a joy ride only to crash in a spiral of fanatical religious shame and denial. And the cycle of addiction just keeps on spinning.
From time immemorial [well at least for 6000 years anyway -- that is, it's only been 6000 years if you're an anti-science fundi-mental-case who smoked up his right-brain at an Alice Cooper concert in the 70s], humanoidals have been trying to escape suffering in a multitude of ways. In Pecos, The Great Escape just happens to come in the form of "brown tar," "Mexican white," white powder, yellow rocks and green herb....oh yea, and "Butt-Wiser," as the cowboys pronounce it. Reverend Mike and Brother Bob say they have "a solution." If they do, "even I" will drop a dollar in the hat and praise the Lord on their behalf.
The whole community is invited to the week-long revival. I believe these guys have a genuine story of salvation from suffering, one they feel led to relate. Perhaps it is through Grace that they each have testified today on the radio that they are hearing a calling from God to come to Pecos and tell the story of their salvation from drugs, alcohol and the suffering caused by addiction within their own lives and in the lives of others, while -- begging the irony -- they desperately sought salvation from suffering through psychoactive chemicals. I only pray that someone will be there for those who feel so ashamed of themselves after the unrelenting proclamations of hellfire that they feel they need a drink.
If you are a musician or vocalist, you are invited to bring your squeeze boxes, banjos, guitars, tambourines and harmonicas. Even piccolo players are encouraged to join in the celebration of faith & recovery. Who knows, The Bob & Mike Traveling Salvation Show may even "lay hands" on The GEO Group and pray 'em up out'a here. After all, "you can only serve one master, God or Mammon." And everybody's gotta serve somebody.
-willy the rodeo pimp
"Jesus Loves me but he Can't Stand You"
I know you smoke, I know you drink that brew
I just can't abide a sinner like you
God can't either, that's why I know it to be true that
Jesus loves me--but he can't stand you
I'm going to heaven, boys, when I die
'Cause I've crossed every "t" and I've dotted every "i'
My preacher tell me that I'm God's kind of guy; that's why
Jesus loves me--but you're gonna fry
God loves all his children, by gum
That don't mean he won't incinerate some
Can't you feel those hot flames licking you
Woo woo woo
I'm raising my kids in a righteous way
So don't be sending your kids over to my house to play
Yours'll grow up stoned, left-leaning, and gay; I know
Jesus told me on the phone today
Jesus loves me, this I know
And he told me where you're gonna go
There's lots of room for your kind down below
Whoa whoa whoa
Jesus loves me but he can't stand you . . .