Sunday, December 09, 2012

No Better Than A Prostitute on the Streets

Years ago, when my mother was attending the Cornerstone World Outreach Center in Springfield, Missouri (due to the fact that I'd moved back to my hometown, and due to the fact that that was my mother's church of choice), I dared to express my opinion that the church ought to help me to do what I was having great difficulty doing myself. I had long believed that I was called (and indeed, morally obliged) to use my musical talents in some form of Christian ministry.

I learned from a sound man named Neal Robirds that the pastor, Jess Gibson, had gotten up in the pulpit one Wednesday night, and spoken in a very disparaging and insulting manner with regard to my request for help. Neil knew that Jess Gibson had been talking about me, when Jess said, "Any musician who will not pay without pay is no better than a prostitute on the street." Ouch! It struck me as more than a bit ironic that Gibson would imply that I was the moral equivalent of a whore, given the fact that I had NEVER had sexual intercourse at that time. (FYI, that remains true even until this day, and I am now 56 years old.)

I haven't seen Neal for years, but a recent web search suggests that he now lives in Spokane, MO, which seems pretty strange to me, since I didn't even know that Missouri had a town of that name. But according to Wikipedia, such a town does exist, and it's close enough to Springfield that the idea that Neil lives there is plausible.

I was thinking about Jess Gibson's insult to my integrity recently (and not for the first time) when I stumbled on a YouTube video, featuring a guy who does not like to think of himself as homeless but in fact is (living in a wood stump in the city park in Vancouver, BC). Presumably, he doesn't like to think of himself as a prostitute, either, even though he admits that he gives blow jobs for money. He also admits to being addicted to crystal meth.

It would seem to me that in light of the fact that the world has plenty of people like the guy shown in the video, jerks like Jess Gibson could find better things to do with their time than to insult fellow Christian believers. But then again, Jess Gibson's personal history of so-called spiritual leadership does not exactly suggest that he has been blessed with great spiritual discernment. Among other things, I learned via an online search back when I was still living in Chicago that a female youth worker had been caught (by the Springfield, MO police) in a nearby cemetery, getting oral sex from one of the underaged boys in her charge in relation to that church's youth ministry. The mother of the boy, needless to say, was appalled. She sued the church, and the church evaded responsibility only by settling out of court.

By the way, Jess Gibson made lame excuses for Jim Bakker when Bakker was caught in one of the biggest scandals to hit the world of television evangelism during the late 80s. Jess Gibson was buddies with Jim, and seemed loathe to criticize him because Jim had invited Jess Gibson to appear on the TV show The PTL Club. So I guess that if you do not want to be accused of being the moral equivalent of a WHORE and if you happen to be attending Cornerstone World Outreach Center, you'd best mind your ps and qs.

Illicit sex with underage Sunday school students? That's OK in Jess Gibson's book, and so is sex scandal similar to the ones with which Jim Bakker was connected. (Remember Jessica Hahn?)  But heaven help you if you dare to suggest, as I did, that it might be nice if the church would lend a hand to struggling Christian musicians who are doing well just to pay their living expenses!

By the way, it was always a misrepresentation for Jess Gibson to say that I wouldn't play without being paid for it. I'd been furnishing the church with pro quality music for years when the aforementioned incident came between me and Jess Gibson. But I had gotten mighty tired of the indifference of the church to the financial hardships I was experiencing, and I'd finally reached the conclusion that if I kept waiting for the church to act on its own, it was never going to happen.

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