Jerry and religion

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Jerry and religion

Postby d-v-s » Tue May 29, 2007 12:19 am

This topic has been in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now, and I thought I'd pop the question here.

From what I know of Jerry, he was a spiritual man, but I wouldn't have thought of him as a "church on sunday" kinda guy. But then there was the gospel phase that he went through with Donna and Keith right around the time of the "Cats Under the Stars" release (circa 1978). The songs on the album are full of bible references, hymn-like rhythms and direct calls to christianity:

palm sunday
down home
gomorrah
magnificient sanctuary band
i'll be with thee
mighty high

Now was he just into gospel for the musical aspect - just part of the journey - or was he some sort of born-again-christian?

anybody know anything about this?
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Postby AugustWest » Tue May 29, 2007 5:54 am

This is a segment of an interview I got from david dodd's website.

Gans: Did you have formal religious upbringing?

"Garcia: No, not really. I come from a Catholic background, but nobody in my family was very serious about it. I was forced to go church, but only until I was about ten or eleven. I was never confirmed.

"Gans: Do you have any relationship with the Western God, then?

"Garcia: Mmmmm, I wouldn’t say so."
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Postby ker1227 » Tue May 29, 2007 8:12 am

Not sure if this will help but i know that donna went to "find god" after the dead. So IMO, there must have not been alot of that when she was with the dead and jerry. Gospel goes hand in hand with folk music and bluegrass so that might be the answer for those songs. Also,could his comma do anything with it? I could defintly see jer agreeing with the morals and values of a religion but i couldnt really see him worshipping a god. After all, Garcia is god right!

Above is just my opinion, i know might be a touchy subjct to some
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Postby strumminsix » Tue May 29, 2007 8:37 am

I'd hazard a guess that Jerry's early influences in East Palo Alto and what was described as "black music" back in the day would be the correlation to Gospel.

Then the ties of folk to Christian faith would be others.

Overall the early GD seemed to almost be anti-religion, not to say anti-God or faith, but anti-religion. TC left the band feeling like an outsider in large part due to his religion. And as stated above Donna went to find faith.

Personally I find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and seeming to be in touch with people at a level much deeper than words would be of "little faith."
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Postby jck_strw » Tue May 29, 2007 8:42 am

strumminsix wrote:TC left the band feeling like an outsider in large part due to his religion.


To be honest, TC is a Scientologist. Calling that a religion is like calling me a musician. :)
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Postby kevo » Tue May 29, 2007 9:16 am

strumminsix wrote:Personally I find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and seeming to be in touch with people at a level much deeper than words would be of "little faith."


Why?
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Postby strumminsix » Tue May 29, 2007 9:20 am

kevo wrote:
strumminsix wrote:Personally I find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and seeming to be in touch with people at a level much deeper than words would be of "little faith."


Why?


What part are you questioning?
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Postby BuddhaG » Tue May 29, 2007 9:41 am

Personally, I think Jerry was full of faith. He believed in himself and his potential as well as the potential of all that he found like-minded (emphasis here on band members, everyone part of the family/business known as the Grateful Dead). From what I've read, his faith seems to lie much more in Eastern philosophy than in the vague symbols and threats implied by Christianity.

I may be wrong but I feel like faith is what allowed Jerry to tap into that eternal soul everyone talks about, it allowed him to go to the places he and the Grateful Dead took people to.

If you want to read into Jerry's philosophies, try "A Signpost to New Space". Its an interview of Jerry and Mountain Girl done by Charles Reich (a law professor at Yale at the time, wrote "Greening of America"). Very funny and very interesting, especially the Stoned Sunday Rap.

Check it out y'all.
a whole new gameball
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Postby kevo » Tue May 29, 2007 10:28 am

strumminsix wrote:
kevo wrote:
strumminsix wrote:Personally I find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and seeming to be in touch with people at a level much deeper than words would be of "little faith."


Why?


What part are you questioning?


Why you find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and who was in touch with people on such a deep level would be of little faith.
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Postby strumminsix » Tue May 29, 2007 10:34 am

kevo wrote:
strumminsix wrote:
kevo wrote:
strumminsix wrote:Personally I find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and seeming to be in touch with people at a level much deeper than words would be of "little faith."


Why?


What part are you questioning?


Why you find it astonishing that a man with that much talent and who was in touch with people on such a deep level would be of little faith.


I would think that his ability to communicate deeper than words would yield personal evidence of a greater being and therefore either have or seek faith.
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Postby jck_strw » Tue May 29, 2007 10:38 am

"The only good thing ever to come out of religion was the music." -- George Carlin
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Postby phpbb » Tue May 29, 2007 11:43 am

I read somewhere that he was looking forward to some year like 2014 or 2025. He thought that humankind was going to be given a gift, an advancement, that would change our lives forever.
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Postby weedar » Tue May 29, 2007 11:58 am

You must be thinking of 2012, phpbb, just google it and
you'll find alot about it. There's so much buzz about it,
it's almost got me fooled too!

I've also thought about religion & the dead, especially
since I thought of them as non-religious..Take And We Bid
You Goodnight..."Jesus loves you the best"? I love the tune,
but have some trouble thinking they played it without agreeing
with the message. What do you think?
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Postby phpbb » Tue May 29, 2007 12:23 pm

thanks weedar- that's it!

"Rebecca: Some people believe that this is a pivotal time in history. Do you feel there is a New Age or to use Terence McKenna's term, an Archaic Revival coming about?

Jerry: Sure, I'll go along with that - I love that stuff. I'm a Terence McKenna fan. I prefer to believe that we're winding up rather than winding down. And this idea of the 2012 when everything tops out, well, I would love to be here for it. I'll buy into that belief - I don't want to miss it! It's like the millennium. At this point it's a matter of personal pride. We have to survive. The band has to be able to play to at least the turn of the millennium."

http://www.levity.com/mavericks/garcia.htm
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Postby Shaggy » Tue May 29, 2007 12:35 pm

This is a very good question that raises many good topics.

Almost every person that knew or ever met and spoke to Jerry talk about him as coming across as one of or if not the most intelligent person they had met. So I think Jerry was the kind of guy that wouldn't have ruled anything out, he would have left all his options open and not rufused an idea on anything. Maybe as he went through his life he did believe in something, maybe not something as formal and a chosen religion(like a lot of us). Afterall he experienced an awful lot, the extreme highs of music and being on stage connecting with so many people, his experiences with drugs and the near death experience he had, as well as the childhood trauma of losing his father.

I read or heard Melvin Seals talk about Jerry and how he could quote the bible and how he seemed to know it all. Now that was probably due to learning it in his early life but I'm sure Jerry could have talked about many religions with a fair bit of knowledge since he was that kind of guy. I'm sure he would have read up on eastern beliefs and ideals too.

I don't think he would have closed the door on anything and he was most certainly open to anything that took his fancy. But I doubt that Jerry would have ever fully converted to anything, since he was such a devout individualist. But the spiritual side and it's force (good bad or any) would have most certainly turned him on.
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