I was invited to play at the Yuma Center for Spiritual Living for their “Summer SOUL-STICE Relit” event on July 27, 2019.
For those of you who know me, in my past I have had very toxic experiences with religion.
This was not one of them. 🙂
Maurine and I were very warmly received by Pastor Joy Lovejoy. That IS her real name, by the way.
The congregation catered a wonderful dinner prior to the show.
It was a great experience for us to be put at ease and made to feel like one of the family. Afterward, we enjoyed an evening of talented performances provided by the good people of YCSL.
When I was a fundamentalist pastor, I would create events all the time. As I look back on them, I can see some distinct differences in how we fundamentalists did things.
First, whenever we sponsored an event we had an “agenda.” If you came to one of our events, we wanted you to “convert” and become like “one of us.” Think of the “Borg” in Star Trek.
Next, as fundamentalists, the event would have been choreographed to emotionally walk participants down that path to become one of us.
We would prey on the vulnerable insecurities of attendees by making them feel that their problems stemmed from not sharing our beliefs. If they would only “convert,” they could have “an abundant life.”
Today, in my work as a psychotherapist, I can see how backward the fundamentalist way of thinking is. I regret ever participating in such a toxic movement.
Over the years I have come to appreciate how unique we all are as humans. My job now is not to convert people, but to help them solve their own problems with resources they already have at their disposal.
Rather than convert them to my way of life, I help them design their own life and live it on their own terms.
This same idea holds true when I play guitar. The music affects my emotions. It also affects others who listen, but not as it affects me. And no two listeners come away with the same experience. I want people who hear me to come away with their own experience.
This is what the world needs more of during chaotic times like these: An appreciation of what makes us different. Embracing those things that make us different.
This what the people at the Yuma Center for Spiritual Living in Yuma are doing right now.