Reverend Billy’s Revelations

Issue 287

The good reverend sends in a dispatch from the opening week of a national tour he is on with Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Reverend Billy Talen May 17

Reverend Billy & the Church of Stop Shopping Choir are touring the country this spring as the warm-up act for Neil Young and Crazy Horse. We recently received this dispatch from Reverend Billy after the first week of the tour. We look forward to our wayward advice columnist returning to his familiar perch when the tour is over. 

Two shows in San Diego and one in ­Phoenix so far — 27 shows to go.  Writing from the Love Earth Tour bus in Texas, on the edge of New Mexico. Wednesday night we are back on stage in Austin, Texas, near the Austin Gaza Solidarity Encampment. As I write this, the singers and our director ­Savitri D have gone to the border bridge from Juarez to El Paso to sing and meditate on our neighbors’ long walks of hope.

The powerful thing about this experiment is that we are talking directly to people about the Earth’s crisis.  It’s not graphics, mass mailings or social media’s pixels. In the first three shows, the choir and I played to 21,000 people. Our job is like an opening act, but we are also hosting the event of the LOVE EARTH tour.  Neil and his partner Daryl Hannah are serious environmentalists, and they came to us to help them ­dramatize the meaning of the tour before Neil and Crazy Horse emerge with “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Moving from our storefront ­Earth Church in the East Village, we gasped at the shift in scale, like a pleasurable version of getting the bends. When we wake up in the bus the morning after a show, the joy we feel is that we have blasted into the sweeping landscape of people messages like “Let’s make new kind of activism for the Earth!” …and “Can we be strange enough to change enough?” …and “Love is the Earth’s radical gift.” Earthalujah!

Reverend Billy Talen is the Pastor of the Church of Stop Shopping. Have a question for the reverend? Email and unburden your soul.

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