I went to see the Jesus Revolution the day it was released. I thought it was awesome. It reminded me
of the times I was able to work services for Chuck Smith and Greg Laurie. Fine people.
It also reminded me of my little part of the story.
Let's go back to when I was seven years old. My babysitter let me stay up to watch Don Kirchner's
Rock Concert one night. Alice Cooper was on. I thought he was really weird, but his guitar players were
so cool. That started a cycle of asking for a guitar for Chirstmas, then my Eighth Birthday. Then for
Christmas. Then my Ninth Birthday. Then For Christmas again.
I am sure I wasn't the most pleasant of children by then because my brother, who by the way, didn't
even want a guitar got an electric guitar and amp, and I received a cheap plastic acoustic with plastic
strings. We both got 32-page Mel Bay beginning books and I got a book of twelve Christmas Songs.
On a side note by 5:00 PM that night I had learned all 32 pages and I held a, I'm sure crappy, concert
of the 12 songs.
I was so happy with that little guitar. There were a couple of Nuns at the school I went to that played.
They would teach me different picking patterns. I remember them asking me if I wanted to join them to
play at nursing homes, soup kitchens, and orphanages after school during the week.
My Dad at the time was converting Latin Masses to any one of the dozen or so languages he spoke.
I often stayed at school from 8:00 AM till 9:00 PM.
This went on for years. In Seventh Grade, as I was told, The Roman Catholic Church wanted to develop
a Guitar Mass in response to this thing called the Jesus Movement. I remember hearing that a lot of
High School and College students were leaving the church and joining it.
They asked a Nun who was staying at the convent to perform the Mass. Her name was Sister
Bernadette and there had been a movie about her called The Singing Nun about her 1963 hit called
Dominique. I remember her saying that she had enough popularity but there was a group at the
convent that performed all over town and that she was sure we would do a fine job.
Well after, I'm sure, weeks of practice the day came. We were to do three Masses. The morning mass,
a specials performance after school for the parents, and the big show, The Evening Mass. Like people
from Rome and from all over the world were going to be there.
The morning Mass went perfectly. I thought we did a fine job. I remember being nervous but not as
nervous as the Sisters I was playing with.
The afternoon performance for the parent was a different thing.
I couldn't tune my guitar. I kept trying and trying but it went out of tune on each song. After the third or
fourth song my Seventh-grade teacher. I will not state her name here even though I know she is long
dead, came up to me and started yelling that I was an embarrassment to the Church, an
embarrassment to my family, an embarrassment to my school, my friends, and to GOD!
I still remember looking at the faces of the parents. I can still see her face yelling at me.
She said there was no place for a guitar in church.
I did what any twelve-year-old would do. I threw my guitar down and ran crying out of the building.
Outside of the school, there was a pavilion and then a parking lot up a hill. At the top of the hill you
could go left to soccer and baseball fields or to the left to a cemetery.
The cemetery had a giant Crucifix and on days that I was having to stay late, I would go there. I always
wondered about a Crucifix but a dove would fly over and circle three times and land on my right side
and I would talk to it. To my young brain that was the Holy Spirit and I knew he was real.
That day I threw myself on the ground and cried out to God. "Why am I alive?" "I am such a waste of
breath." A waste of time." "An embarrassment." "Lower than a worm."
About thirty minutes passed and one of the Nuns found me. She said the whole school was looking for
me. She said that my teacher should have never said those things. That there were a group of people
that didn't want things to change. She also told me that when they looked at my guitar they could see
where someone stepped on the neck and cracked it. There was no way it would hold a tune, but if I
wanted to play that night I could borrow her guitar.
Now the funniest part happened about thirty years later.
I was driving down a road and I saw a church with a sign that said Catholic Evangelical and I thought,
that’s a contradiction of terms. I noticed that the start time was in about five minutes so I quickly parked
and went in.
The service was the same as I remembered. Lots of standing and kneeling at certain times. Call and
response. They did have guitars playing music. There was a man and three women and only three
After the service, I approached the group and spoke to the man. I asked about the instrumentation.
He explained that three women and one man with three guitars was the preferred tradition for a guitar
No, I didn’t tell him why it was the tradition. I am still amazed it became one.
In the movie they stated that the Jesus movement lasted from 1966 till 1972. The year I played that
guitar Mass. But I don't think that it has stopped yet.
Oh, I still talk to doves.