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I wanted to be like Jesus … But I didn’t wanna be a Christian

Connie found the Barry McGuire site the other nite to listen to some of that cool old Christian rock. There she found some interesting paragraphs from his biography.

“When I was a little boy, my grandmother told me something I’ve never forgotten. I was probably about five, maybe six years old. She used to take care of me during the day when my mom worked. One day she said to me, ‘You know, Barry, one day when you grow up, you’re gonna know the truth, and the truth is gonna set you free.’ Now, I didn’t know that came out of the Bible. I didn’t even know there was a Bible. I was just a little kid. My grandmother told me that. And I knew she loved me, and boy, I knew I loved her. And when I grew up, sure enough, I wanted to be free. I mean who doesn’t want to be free? And certainly, a lie has never set anyone free. So if anything was gonna set me free, it had to be the truth.

“And along came the 60s. And boy, I was the right age at the right time in the wrong place, you might say. And hey, I wanted to be free. Boy, I sang ‘Eve of Destruction’ lookin’ to be free. I went to Broadway. I did a show on Broadway called HAIR. I played the male lead in the original Broadway cast, lookin’ to be free. And the very lifestyle that we were promoting was, as I looked around me I saw my friends, one, two, three at a time goin’ down: drug overdose, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases. The very lifestyle we were promoting was killing us all.

“So I left Broadway, I came back out to California. And I was livin’ with a friend of mine, Denny Doherty, up on the Appian Way. And he used to joke and tease me, ’cause I was still lookin’ for truth, and every time a new teacher or sage or somebody, Meyer Baba, Sai Baba, Hadji Baba, any Baba would do, I mean I was down there in the front row, ya know, ‘Humna Baba, lay the truth on me, man!’ I was hummin’ and bobbin’ and goin’ for it. And Denny says, ‘Ah, you belong to the Guru of the Month Club.’ I mean, anybody, I didn’t care. If they had a word, I was down there tryin’ to learn the truth. And they said a lot of things that were true, but I just couldn’t somehow get it right inside of me.

“And I was just about to give up, and one day I went over to a friend’s house, Eric Hord. He used to be the lead guitar player for The Mamas and Papas, and he always had a big bowl of marijuana under his coffee table. And man, I had this bowl out that morning, I had three papers glued together. I figured he’s only gonna lay one joint on me, so I’ll make the biggest one I can roll. And I look down on this particular day, there’s a little paper back book layin’ on the table next to the grass, and it’s called Good News for Modern Man. And I thought, ‘Hey, I’m a modern man. I could use some good news.’ I mean, everybody was dyin’ all around me. So I took the book home with me, didn’t know what it was. Got by myself, opened it up, and right on the first flyleaf page in the book it says, ‘The New Testament in Modern English.’ I got so angry. ‘Ah, look at this! Them Jesus Freaks, man! They’re disguisin’ the Bible!’ Threw it on the floor, I didn’t wanna read the Bible! Give me a break! And it layed there for days. I was hopin’ someone would come along and throw it away. I didn’t wanna throw it away, ’cause I knew what it was, the Bible, and just in case, you don’t wanna be responsible. Who knows? But it layed there for days, weeks, months actually. I mean, when somethin’ hit the floor in my house, the next person to pick it up was an archaeologist. I mean, that was some future dig.

“And I was there one day by myself. And there this little book somehow kept surfacing above the trash. And the wind was blowing through the window catching the pages. It was flickin’ its pages, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick. ‘Read me!’ it said to me. And truthfully, just out of bored, sarcastic curiosity, I picked up The Life and Times of Jesus Christ. And for the first time in my life, I stopped looking at Christians, I stopped looking at denominations, organizations, Catholics, Protestants, ya know, all this stuff that goes on in His name. And I took a look at Him, examined what He had to say. How He treated His personal friends. What He had to say to the people in the street, the alcoholics, the prostitutes, the homosexuals, the thieves, liars, robbers. What he had to say about the military people, the political leaders, the spiritual leaders (which is about the scariest thing he had to say to anybody). How He treated the little children when they came around. And everything that Jesus had to say, as I put it to the test against what I knew to be true through my own life experience, I couldn’t find anything wrong with His words. There’s no double meaning, no hidden agenda. It was all out front. And then He said thirteen words that changed my life, because I saw this was the answer to my personal eve of destruction. He said, ‘Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as your self.’

How simple can it get? And I realized that if all of us in the whole world lived according to those two simple instructions — I don’t care what your concept of God is, you could be a Buddhist, you could be B’hai, you could be, ya know, whatever it is, Christian, just your concept of God — love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as your self, and our world would change. How simple can it get? We wouldn’t need a police force anymore, and we wouldn’t need armies and navies and prisons and welfare systems. We wouldn’t need lawyers and politicians. Two simple pieces of instruction: Love God with all my heart, and love my neighbor as my self.

And I wanted to be like Jesus. I thought, ‘Man, this is my guy!’ But I didn’t wanna be a Christian, see. I wanted to be like Him, but I didn’t wanna be like all them. I thought if I said yes to Jesus I’d have to get a powder blue leisure suit — remember those? — white shoes, ya know, walk around smilin’ a lot. I couldn’t do that.

You can see more at his site.

Hits: 26


  • It’s a beautiful thing to be drawn to the Word of God. That drawing is a part of his knocking on the door of your hearts. He wants that personal relationship with you. Through THAT relationship is where you are set free.

    Knowing Christ is the message of a Christian. Once we know Christ we can’t help but do what he has said to do though, “Go and baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another, etc.” Jesus has many commands, but this is where people get confused. James (Jesus’ brother) wrote it best when he said that it is because of your faith in Jesus Christ that you will perform good works. Not the other way around. That’s why the term ‘acredited’ is used so much in Hebrews.

    It’s a symbiotic relationship, when you have faith in Jesus Christ, you will start to share the love that he has for you. Understanding what he has done for you helps you understand how deep his love is for you.

    In the end we all have a purpose, a problem, a remedy, and a response. Our purpose is to live an abundant, eternal life in Christ (John 3:16 and John 10:10), our problem is that we all sin, and sinful people without Christ die eternally (Hebrews 9:27, Romans 3:23 and 6:23), our remedy is Jesus Christ dying on the cross, the only suitable sacrifice for our sins (Ephesians 2:8 and 9, Romans 5:8, and 1 Peter 3:18), and our response is to Believe in Jesus Christ as our savior and that he was ressurrected in three days, then you will receive his Holy Spirit; the Counselor in which we live through our perfect sinless God (John 1:12, 1 John 5:11 and 12, Romans 10:9-10, and John 5:24). I pray that this will not reach you as just a simple step by step process, but that you will understand that there is not only a God, but a God who loves you.

    Now speaking on the subject of the modern church and peace in the world, I think there are some very important things to remember. Jesus didn’t promise to bring peace in the world, that was one of the things that the Jews wanted him to do (they wanted him to oust the Romans, this was their own God in a box – the box being whatever they, or you think God should do).

    We are commanded to be at peace with one another as Paul directs us to, ( Colossians 3:15) because our main goal is to be used for God’s purposes to bring his sheep home. This command is for us in the singular sense. I am to be at peace with everyone as much as possible, this does not spill into the thinking of ‘Jesus wants world peace’. (Mathew 10: 34-37) Jesus wants us to love him more than anyone else, because everyone else can’t save us.

    As far as the churches and denominations which everyone is supposedly so afraid to go into because of their self righteous attitude and blue suit standards; I think you all need to get over that and go inside and see for yourself.

    I have been to so many different churches of many denominations in traveling this wonderful country and I have met some of the most wonderful people in all of them. Of course there are those that hold true to the stereo type, but let that be their problem, not yours.

    We are called to be a body, which is a united entity. Not an entity divided. I’ve heard some say, “I don’t like organized religion.” Well do you want un-organized religion? Do you see my point? Paul tells us to focus on what is good and pure, (Phillipians 4:8) not on what is evil and debatable. One of Jesus Christ’s last prayers was for the unity of the body…..(John 17:20 and 21) ….My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

    To wrap up I finish with the comment of TV and our dangerous evangelism that is running rampant on the TBN. Everyone needs to read the book, Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanigraph. He is a very intelligent, God focused man who talks about all of that.

    Everyone needs to be aware of the occultic and even more dangerous practices and misunderstandings in the teachings of people like Benny Hinn, Herbert W. Armstrong (deceased, but still a dangerous leader), and anyone else that claims things other than what the historical church has taught. When I say historical, I don’t mean the Catholic with an upper case either. Catholic with a lower case means universal.

    I hope this was helpful to anyone reading this blog, and I appologize if I wrote too much. God bless you all.

  • Any religious obsession with a righteousness as imposed on others (morality issues) as opposed to a personal repentance and works is essentially a narcissitic religion. It all happens in the eye of the beholder instead of the heart of the believer. This is the problem in the US church today, what with the highly public religion so many are tempted to pursue to the exclusion of a personal (and anonymous, as Jesus taught) walk in goodness.

    Our media-based culture is all about narcissism (television, movies, the rest) – that’s a no-brainer. What a tragedy that the US church is going headlong into the narcissistic folly, what with all the media circuses. What is being lost is the personal walk in Christ.

    This is not to discredit a civic life which reflects one’s values. It is to protest that the public and the private have become conflated in the mind of the larger US church. Believers are encouraged to perform, as it were, into the mirror of the media. And that is contrary to what Jesus taught about works of righteousness.

    The other line I draw, which is my personal interpretation of events, is that we are, as Larry maintains, in a unique time. My take on it is that an evil government system is stepping up to the plate, and that we were given the prophecies for a reason – to understand things. We need to be paying attention, so that when the evil is wreaked upon our country, we are not confused as to why it is happening. Which leads us into the grotesque tragedy of the pre-trib rapture fantasy… another story…

  • The past two comments illustrate the pitfall confusing the US church: the difference between vicarious acts inspired by faith (influencing politics) vs. direct acts of faith (showing up with the chicken soup). The concept of democracy invites Christians to confuse the conceptual with the real. Jesus, conversely, admonished us to pray and give in secret. Yet how secret is the televised US church, and the various media circuses?

  • But if Jesus is going to be the leader of our lives, then we have to be peacemakers and look out for the poor and weak here on Earth. Those responsibilities take intelligence and discipline, so we can’t ignore them and pretend that we are believers. Jesus illustrated these things by many examples, and that’s what loving your neighbor really means.
    –Connie : )

  • Unfortunately, what most “feel-good” Christians don’t understand is that it’s not about our life here on Earth; it’s about our Eternal Life in Heaven. Man cannot achieve world peace – get it out of your heads – that’s what Satan used to tempt Eve. Jesus Christ is the only one who can acheive worldpeace and He will when He returns. In the meantime, the best we can do is ask Christ for forgiveness, receive him as the leader of our lives, and live as He did the best we can because while we are here on Earth we will NEVER acheive His greatness.

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