I’m All Shook Up

“… A wife of one of one the Church leaders accused me of carrying the spirit of Elvis”

Well Amen to that sister!


No matter how much of a ‘person of the world’ we may consider ourselves to be, we all live in some kind of bubble or shelter and thus carry our ‘self-made’ ghost fears of being corrupted by those living outside of our little havens of respectability.

strider_by_detkef-d5rqb1jIt would seem to be that I am often the intruder from the dark side, venturing into the hobbit villages of ‘Churchedom’… I am perhaps like Strider... feared by the Orc’s and “Don’t let me be misunderstood’ by the folk in the shire.

On one adventure I was invited to Christchurch for a weeks training of the musicians and singers (of a local Church) who would, if all went well, accompany me in concert on the Sunday. 

Sometimes these creative workshops can be most fulfilling, especially when the ‘students’ have a mind to learn something new or a willingness take a few creative risks. This was a bit like the Curate’s egg… good in parts. The established crew were a tad set in their ways and too ‘churchy’ for my rock ‘n’ roll ears…and I spent more time with the youngins, the fresh recruits, the ‘rough around the edges’ lot and by the end of the week we were ready… to Rock the joint.

Now… a catch I have since learned to open or let stay closed… was that while the pastor of the Church had given me not just permission but an impassioned cry to breathe life into his team and, in his words, “set the rafters on fire”... he had not explained this to the regular church folk of a Sunday. And so while we made a joyful noise and rallied the hallelujahs to new heights… and though the large Maori contingent at the back of the room supported us is in great song and call outs… the front section of the Church were, it could be said… mortified.

059-elvis-presley-theredlistOne lady, a wife of one of the Church ministers accused me, as I played a guitar solo during I Walk by Faith, of doing Elvis-esque pelvic thrusts… and actually stated (postmortem… in one of several letters of complaint that arrived on my desk the following week) that the Elvis spirit, empowered by one of the thrusts from mine own pelvis, had hit her in the eye, causing temporary blindness. I would have agreed with the woman, had I the opportunity to discuss this with her at any length, that yes she indeed may well have been blinded but the cause was none of my doing.

Unaware of the lady’s eye socket pain, I did feel the wave of disapproval from the front section of the audience, but at the same time I could hear the sound of religious chains being broken and, spurred on by the joyful cries of celebration from ‘my people’ in the back of the room I led the musical charge of the light worship brigade on into battle.

My true champion and choir master was the Pastor himself,  for despite the sour faces of  many of the leaders and well-to-do church folk, the ever widening smile on this lovely old pastors face spoke volumes of support and encouragement to me and his worship team. He was loving it… the tension, the joyful noise, the unkempt look of many of the ‘new faces’ in the band, the moves and grooves of the singers and… I guess… my pelvic thrusts.

And to show his utmost approval, it was during our last song that he jumped up on stage and began to dance with the band, causing a chorus of hoots and hallelujahs from the back of the room… and a sea of gasps and “oh my God he didn’t’s” from the front section… (I believe one pious lady fainted).

And at this point, while I knew this would not be the end of the story… I sensed that the pastor did get his value for money, having flown me in from across the waters… and, he had been granted his wish… for as I looked up I could have sworn that I saw a few burning embers kissing the rafters.

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  1. Hilarious story, Chris. Reminds me of the Sunday an elderly lady stormed out of our service saying to me over her shoulder, “There will be no electric guitars in heaven, I can tell you that!” She may be right, but sure seems that electric guitars like yours create some heaven here on earth…

  2. Love it… great story! I’m finding that getting the right balance for our night service is tricky. Want to make a home for local young families in line with our outreach activities, without distancing the largely older population of the church.

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