Save Me from Myself: Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch’s autobiography and then some…
So my friend Shaun hooked me up with this book he got hold of. It was called Save Me From Myself and it was Brian “Head” Welch’s autobiography. For those of you who do not know, this guy used to be the lead guitarist of a teeny weeny little band called KORN. Yep, not so teeny weeny after all!
I read it through in 5 and a half hours. It was really a compelling read, especially the first part. It told the whole story of how he grew up, got involved in music, the different bands he played in and how Korn was eventually formed and how they skyrocketed to success. It got a bit of gory detail, some quite offensive, but there is a disclaimer/warning at the beginning of the book to tell you that it might be the case from time to time.
Like I said, the first part, “To Hell And Back” tells the story of his rise to stardom and, of course, how he and his girlfriend and later wife Rebekah got swallowed up into the world of speed (meth). I’ve never read a book before that tells you about so much drug use. They really used A LOT of drugs – sometimes cocaine or marijuana, but mostly speed and how it pretty much killed them from the inside.
The first part of the book ended quite positive on the note where he got saved by Christ and started to get his life back on track, quitting Korn and becoming a more responsible dad to his daughter Jennea.
And then the second part came, called “Heaven On Earth” – and I thought it kinda sucked. He made most of it sound so easy and so cheap.
You see, what is supposed to be a marvellous 70-page testimony on how he walked with God since and all the curves that that road took, turned into a little pep-talk about how close he got with God and how he could just hear God and suddenly all the bad stuff that happened to him was the devil or fallen angels (where previously it was is own sinful human nature)…and how you can only get to be in a REAL relationship with God when you speak/pray in tongues.
That got me mad, because he quoted the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 14 and Jude where Paul (and Jude in Jude!) is writing about the different gifts of the Holy Spirit and that speaking/praying in tongues is just ONE of MANY gifts that the Spirit gives. Head uses 1 Cor 14:2 and 4 to tell how you can’t understand someone’s “prayer language” when they “pray in the Spirit” – but man, he doesn’t even consider the rest of the paragraph surrounding it! It is exactly the whole point that Paul is making there: he says that you should rather NOT pray in “tongues” because that is only beneficial to the one praying. You should rather prophecy, because that is beneficial to the whole congregation, except if the one that is speaking in another uncomprehensible tongue is explaining it to the rest. So there you have it – it must be interpreted for the people around you to be beneficial to anyone. And nowhere in this passage do I get the information on how you can work on your prayer language – funny, I thought it was a GIFT. How do you work on someone to give you more of a gift that they already gave to you completely? That’s just bribery.
He states his opinion on speaking in tongues like this:
“If you want to have the most faith you can have on this earth, learn to pray in tongues. If you find it too weird and you prefer to live a good, quiet Christian life, don’t pray in tongues. It’s just that simple.”
That got me shouting “You can’t say that!” I know many Christians who don’t pray in tongues who have the faith to move mountains. I also know Christians who do pray in tongues and they are excellent people too. I also know Christians who don’t pray in tongues who is definitely not living a “good, quiet Christian life” but who is making waves all over as they are preaching and serving God quite loud and out in the open. Also, my grandmother is turning 87 in August, and she is a grand lady of the faith. And she has never prayed in tongues before in her life.
It comes down to this: you can’t make your experience normative, the measurement for everyone else to live by. I can’t tell you that, if you don’t serve Christ the way I do, you will not have as much faith as I and you are doing it wrong. And, if praying in tongues is a gift, you can’t learn to do it, it is given to you. As is faith, according to 1 Corinthians 12.
The other thing that was really bad for me to devour was the way he saw his depression. He saw it as a BAD HABIT. Now, anyone who has really dealt with depression knows that it entails a wee bit more than that. Depression is an illness that must be treated three-fold to get the best results: medically, spiritually and psychologically. He says it is gone now, but I can guarantee you, if Head Welch doesn’t get some medical attention to the matter, it is only going to come back to bite him in the ass, again. If you used as much speed (meth) as he has, you need to get the chemical balance in your body and your brain set straight medically. Like he said himself, time and again: God can use many ways to speak/work with you.
He also talked about his baptism in the River Jordan, but I have spoken enough about baptism elsewhere on my blog so I’m not going into the matter here.
Hang on a second. I’m not against baptism in the River Jordan, speaking in tongues or believing that God miraculously heal people. Not at all. Or against prophecies, which he also writes about for a while:
When I was at a camp in grade 8, 14 years old, one night the people there started to pray in tongues, I didn’t understand it, but I thought it was wonderful. I didn’t start to myself either, but God has never left me before or after that.
Also, when I was in grade 11, age 17, at another church camp, our group leader prophecied over me and it was wonderful. I’m still holding on to that prophecy.
And when I was a baby, I was baptized with…wait for it…water from the Sea of Galilea that my grandfather got from the place where the miracle of the bread and the fish supposedly happened and brought back to South Africa after he visited Isarel when he was still alive. It was sprinkled upon my forehead and I don’t intend to get baptized again, because one time is sufficient.
Yep, this is my experiences with the stuff – but I’m not making it normative for other people or downtalking them if they do not do it in some kind of “ah, don’t worry, you spiritual baby. God will open your eyes”-sort of way. That’s just wrong. Sies man!
What was wonderful about the book, though, was the whole encounter they had in India. The whole Untouchable-tribe of the Laodi-story was amazing. He should have just kept on doing that kind of work – the practical stuff that Jesus Himself commands us to to in the Gospels. Also, the way how he described his honesty in his relationship with God was quite touching, as well as the whole thing that God can use your talents (GIFTS that He has given to you!) in more ways than you can imagine.
Yet, I much more enjoyed Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. That guy just nailed it for me on every page. He had a wit about him and a kind of compelling writing style that I just clicked with. It actually convinced me to start to tithe (give a tenth of my income to the church). I don’t have time to go into a full discussion now, but that book was more appealing to me. TO ME. I’m not saying it should be to everyone. But try it out, you might just like it. That guy’s faith is much more like my own. We doubt, we don’t doubt, we believe and sometimes we think it silly, but Jesus never leaves us and that is good.
At least they both came to the same conclusion and that is that the most important thing is a relationship with Jesus.
Maybe it is just that I haven’t been into heavy metal like ever, and maybe it would’ve made a more commpelling impact on my life if I knew their music better, but we can talk about that.
But go read both the books – they will both be worth your while.