My Church is Trying to Gaslight Me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like my church a lot, or I wouldn’t be there. Technically I’m a staff member. Larger urban and sometimes suburban churches, particularly the Episcopalians, Methodists, and Presbyterians will sometimes hire anywhere from 1 to 12 local classically trained singers to function as soloists and section leaders for the mostly volunteer choirs. I’m the tenor soloist and section leader for Roswell Presbyterian, and really like the people and the ministry there.

And I’m a big old baldheaded heathen performer type, so they must be pretty decent folk.

Anyway, in order for you to understand the title of this entry I quote the following explanation of what it means to ‘gaslight’ someone from this site about the 1944 version of the movie Gaslight

…the phrase “to gaslight” someone [means] to deliberately drive someone insane by manipulating their environment…

My wife has jokingly accused me of this on several occasions, (and I’m innocent,) but that’s for a personal blog entry. I’m trying to make this relevant to living here somehow.

Why is Roswell Presbyterian trying to gaslight their tenor soloist? I don’t know. What is my evidence? Well, first there was the unicycle incident.

I don’t recall what was going on that Sunday exactly-I could tell it was fun, and everyone was in high spirits. This church seems to know how to have fun, I have to say that for them, especially for non-Episcopal Protestants. No, all I recall is the unicycle. And the cowgirl on the unicycle. Who rolled by outside the big, clear sanctuary windows while we were supposed to be in prayer.

I’m sorry, but you just don’t see such things every day, now do you? Cowgirls on unicycles in the church parking lot? I leaned over to the bass sitting next to me and asked, ‘did you see that?’

‘See what?’

See what, he says. Gaslight.

Then, today. Today I walked, as I only live 2/10ths of a mile from the church. It was unseasonably and pleasantly cool. I felt pretty good from the Starbucks espresso shot I drank in the shower. (Yeah, I brush my teeth in the shower too. I’m efficient. Multi-tasker. With a side of ADD.)

Then we were sitting in the second service, and I saw the astronaut.

I saw the astronaut, man. I’m sitting there listening to a well-considered sermon on what the bible says about discipline and forebearance, and through the doors leading into the narthex there I see an astronaut. No helmet, at least, but he’s in full astronaut get-up, man.

I lean over to the tenor next to me and say, ‘Please tell me you see the astronaut.’

And he looks up and the effing astronaut is gone.

Gaslight, I’m telling you. Is your church regularly visited by cowgirls on unicycles or astronauts? Didn’t think so. I didn’t eat the brown acid either, dude. Is God trying to tell me something? Well, if I took every odd thing I saw like that then I’d be certain that Sunday is being enforced as the mark of the beast, like those big yellow and black billboards all over the interstates leading into and out of Atlanta are telling me.

You have seen those billboards, haven’t you??

In the interest of being a good citizen and employee of my church, I should say that if you visit while you’re in Atlanta or you are church ‘shopping’-something wrong with that term, but anyway-don’t come for the cowgirls on unicycles or the potential of sighting an astronaut. Come for the tenor soloist. No, I’m kidding. Come because it’s a nice place to be on an unseasonably cool August morning, visions of the surreal or absurd notwithstanding. If you can’t take a church recommendation from a heathen who can you listen to?

If you come and see a bald, red-bearded dude in the choir loft gazing in a fixed way out the sanctuary windows at some point, and you look back and see nothing….well, don’t tell me, okay?

Let the gaslights dim as they may.

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