A residual benefit of being on staff with the Jesus House included invitations to perform concerts or speak at churches, schools, campus ministries, camps, retreats and other ministries like the Jesus House. During those fourteen years I appeared multiple times at nearly every major college or university in the area including Miami, UC, Bowling Green, Moorhead and UK. Churches from a wide variety of denominations hosted me either as a speaker or concert performer. I was even a Lenten speaker for a Catholic church! One of my favorite speaking opportunities, one that never paid, was speaking in a Philosophy class at Colrain High School. I was invited the first time in 1978 and spoke in the class every quarter for the next six years. During that time, students at Colrain also invited me to be a Baccalaureate speaker twice. My purpose in the class was to answer student questions as a representative of Christianity. They were free to question me on anything concerning Christianity. Naturally, there were questions about evolution vs. creation, the existence of God, is Christianity the only way to God, why is the Bible so confusing, and may other, probing, challenging questions. I loved the interactions. The teacher, Mr. Colusi always made sure I provided information about the Jesus House Invariably, every time I spoke, students from the class visited the Jesus House the following Saturday night. The following is a fictitious account drawn from several experiences in the class.
"Can you prove heaven exists?"
That was the question from this class of high school seniors. They requested proof from me, the guest speaker in their philosophy class.
Proof before they would believe.
Did they want heaven to exist?
Was that hunger in their eyes?
Or were they hoping that this experience would once and for all settle the question and the answer would be no, heaven does not exist so ignore the rumblings in your heart. The stirring you feel for some other place.
They wanted proof. Proof of a place which cannot be visited, cannot be photographed, cannot be video taped, so how to prove.
I cannot prove.
Cannot give irrefutable evidence.
"No," I respond, "I cannot prove the existence of heaven. At least not any more than you can prove the existence of a cafeteria in this building. Is there a cafeteria?"
"Yes." Declared several students at once.
"I've been there. I ate lunch there today."
"Proves nothing." I said, " You are giving personal testimony of a personal experience claiming you visited your fictional cafeteria. Jesus claimed to have come to us from heaven. The Apostle Paul wrote about being taken up to heaven either in bodily form or in a vision. The Apostle John described heaven as he saw it in a vision. Yet, these testimonies are not proof enough for you of the existence of heaven. For our purposes today, personal testimony is not enough. Try again."
"I'll go get some food and bring it to you."
"That only proves you have access to food. It does not prove the existence of a cafeteria."
""We will take you there."
"No. I won't go. I do not believe that this fictional cafeteria exists so why should I agree to be taken to a place that doesn't exist. I will not take direction to your mythical cafeteria anymore that you will take directions to heaven."
"You are frustrating!" says one of the students.
"Yes I am, but do you see the point?"
"You see, before I will accept any of the things you tell me about your cafeteria, I must first believe in at least the possibility that it exists. Until then, anything you claim is inadequate. In order for you to accept any of the proofs of the existence of heaven, you will need to believe in the possibility that it exists. I would like to take all of you to heaven. I would love to give you directions in how to get there. But first you must believe it exists or at least in the possibility it exists. This is a dichotomy of faith.
This Week in History: Artists Who Appeared at the Jesus House the First Two Weeks of August
The First Week of August:
1972 - Pam Coburn, John Gould, Kevin & Doug
1973 - Soul Purpose
1974 - John Gould
1975 - Larry & Carl
1976 - One Lane Road
1977 - Grant Edwards & Jon Owens
1978 - Tony Ross
1979 - Zion
1980 - Rob Rodebush
1981 - One Way Players, Grant Edwards
1982 - Minstrial
1983 - Slapstick Saints
The Second Week of August
1972 - Andie Frost
1973 - The Bozo Brothers
1974 - New Birth
1975 - Bob from Chicago (That wasn't really his name. I'm sure he had a last name, but it's not in my notes. I had him listed as Bob from Chicago...)
1976 - Sharon Wilson & Sherry Fayard
1977 - Joni Ridner
1978 - John Gould
1979 - John Gould
1980 - Blank date the week before Conglomerate.
1981 - Bill Williams (Now days known as the Reverend Billy Rose!)
1982 - Conglomerate Weekend featuring Brown Bannister as speaker and guest worship leader.
1983 - Deny Brigance