Once upon a time, this Dallas Motorcycle Culture Examiner was part of a motorcycle ministry that predominately looked on 1%ers/outlaw bikers as the dregs of the earth. (Hey! I’m being honest, OK?)
Don’t mistake for a moment that I wasn’t cognizant of my ministerial duty – the great commission – to go into all the earth and preach the Gospel, reconciling lost souls to Christ. Through rain, hail, sleet, snow, sweltering summers, riding motorcycles across simmering pavements – none of this was too arduous a task to answer the Godly call on the life of a motorcycle Christian ministry. Ta-da-da!
Oh yes, dear readers, this reporter was a squeaky clean, never said heck, religious snob. Brown leather vests were chosen to display our Christian colors so we wouldn’t ‘look like bikers’ that mostly wore black (we were motorcyclists, not bikers). I know now, there no chance of that happening with our clueless demeanor on display.
What happened that caused a life altering change? What caused my eyes to see this rough, seemingly lawless, crass, hardcore culture through different eyes?
In the ‘70’s, I was part of a family, gospel singing group, traveling in a Greyhound bus conversion, singing in churches and an occasional ticketed concert. Discovering that there was even such a thing as motorcycle ministries didn’t happen until the early ‘80s but it was exciting news since we enjoyed the sport of riding motorcycles.
Once we became regulars at Christian Motorcycle Rallies, we were quickly included in the music ministry since we traveled with a full, live band and had professional sound equipment available to the promoters at no-charge.
While at one of these rallies in Riverside California, we were approached by a motorcycle evangelist that asked us to accompany him to a Sunday morning service at a rally not far from Riverside, where he would be holding services for an outlaw group called A.B.A.T.E. (I know better now, so you bikers can quit laughing now).
Agreeing, we rolled our big rig onto the fairgrounds that Sunday morning, expecting to sing our songs, flash our pearly white teeth and display the love of Jesus . . . yes, amen!
I’ll fast forward now to the end of the story and perhaps, answer questions as to how this all came to pass later.
Setting our equipment up under a covered pavilion, we started playing our music to draw attendees. There had been no Sunday morning services scheduled or places on the event schedule – we were a complete surprise to the people that had been up partying all night, and this was about 9:00 a.m.
Needless to say, we didn’t draw a crowd that morning, unless you count 6 or 7 women a crowd – but they were ‘our crowd’ so we opened our mouths and sang as if there were a thousand people sitting in the bleachers.
I noticed a lone girl leaning against a tree, off to the side of the pavilion.
She was wearing boots up to her knees, frayed cut-off shorts that were ‘very short’ and a large T-shirt that had been shortened by cutting off the bottom. Also, the sleeves were cut out of her XL T-shirt; leaving large holes where the sleeves had been, displaying huge bosoms peeking out the sides of her customized T-shirt.
As she propped herself against the tree, one knee bent with one boot resting on the tree trunk, she seemed to almost be hiding, but listening all the same.
Just as the evangelist was ending his message and giving an invitation for anyone that wanted to receive Christ; he was expounding on God’s great love and mercy toward us.
With those words of love and mercy, I noticed the girl by the tree kick at the dirt with an ardent and angry stomp, and then hastily walk away toward her campsite.
My naivety didn’t understand that rage is a result of pain that has been pinned up inside a person. All that pain unleashes itself as anger and rage. People in pain cause pain toward other people or you could say, ‘hurting people, hurt people’.
Unfortunately, my religious mind misread the signals to be hate and rebellion so I contemplated how I could minister to the sedition in her heart.
After the evangelist closed the service, the guys began their routine of loading the equipment back in the bus bays. I knew the procedure well and was sure I had enough time to go out and walk among these heathen. After all . . . didn’t I possess ample public relations skill? Hadn’t I always been able to schmoose my way into any conversation and make friendly acquaintances?
That’s what I would do . . . I would go out there and be friendly with them and maybe next year, whoever the Christian ministers were, maybe the bikers wouldn’t treat them as rudely and crudely! I would show them ‘we weren’t bad people’. We were the nice people. We were; ‘Ta-daaaa . . . Christians!’
Throwing my determined shoulders back while displaying my squeaky clean ego, I pranced out into the campgrounds intent on finding someone that would talk to me . . .
Check back later for Part 2.
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