I Was a Beatnik

From a Christian book We Found our Way Out by James R. Adair and Ted Miller (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan 1965.) People tell their stories 'of how God led them from the confusion of false religions and philosophies to a life of peace in Jesus...a first hand glimpse into many heresies.' The Beatnik chapter gives an insight into a vanished world. Others escaped from communism, Armstrongism, Satan and Theosophism...many other contemporary portrayals of Beatniks have them as followers of Eastern religions.

I Was a Beatnik

  The day I turned twenty I thought I knew all there was to know about life. Yet the kind of life I was wrapped up in was filled with idle conversation, liquor, and pep pills.
  I was living piecemeal by doing commercial art off and on. Most of the time I sat around in the back booth of a dark little tavern and played things "cool," beatnik-style.
  I was fairly proud of that title "beatnik." I read a lot of philosophy, looking desperately for something on which to hang the threads of my life. Nights I wandered aimlessly to my noisy beat retreat and sat. There I would stay with my little clan of beatniks until the wee hours of the morning, locking hornrims over some discussion subject and working it to death.
  I was getting fed up with life, which seemed so cheap. And I was sick of trying to look "way-out." I felt I had gone to "Nowheresville," that I was too tired and too old and oh, so weary. I hated myself.
  One night after I got back to my room from the tavern, I stretched on the floor and looked over my books to find one I thought would be light reading. I decided on Early Will I Seek Thee, by Eugenia Price.
  At first the book's literary style captivated my attention. It was sheer simplicity. I turned on one of my very, very blue jazz records and began to read the style–not the message.

  After I had scanned the book, the record ended and the needle was scratching its way back and forth. I picked up the needle, turned off the machine and sat foggy-eyed and unthinking for quite some time. Then I started the book again on the first page. This time I read the message.
  The book said that God would not force us to believe in Him...(gap)

  My life didn't change "presto-chango!" In fact, I had some desperate problems. And I tried to live the new Christian life by myself.
  My first thought after I became a Christian was to tell everyone. And I quit smoking, drinking, swearing, and about everything, that was on the list.
  After I had accomplished this, entirely by willpower, I felt extremely empty. I didn't take in of Christ's strength and nearness, and I soon fell back into the old patterns. But now there was a difference: in my misery I knew who the Answer was.
  I'll never forget the time I sat in a little "beat" tavern with some of the bearded, ragged, intellectual clientele. We were engrossed in some inane subject, and now and then I was throwing in my two-cents' worth. Someone ordered another pitcher of beer and we all exchanged tranquilizers. "Hey, Lorrie, try this kind. It will make you calm and collected all day."
  Suddenly an old-type beat ambled up to our table and made some crack about my being too realistic with my art.
  I was annoyed, and I said so.
  He eyed me for a moment and then grumbled something about a pain in the neck. He introduced himself as George and invited himself to sit at our table. The other "beats" were off on another "talkathon" about a favorite subject–religion.
  "Nobody, but nobody believes in this salvation stuff. It's old news, man," George scoffed. A little blonde across the table piped, "God's my buddy, sometimes. Like sometimes I think I need Him."
  Everyone sighed, as if they were very sorry for a poor child who should believe something like that.
  "Listen much, you meathead. Nobody believes in God anymore. He's obsolete like last year's new look."

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