Head Joins the Body
- Monday, August 13, 2007
"I had been filled with anger, confusion, hate, selfishness, greed, you name it. When God revealed himself to me, it was a supernatural peace and love that was so far higher and beyond anything you can experience on earth," he said. "I knew it was God. I knew it was him revealing heaven to me, eternal life. He poured out his love into my heart, and I was instantly changed in that moment. I mean God became so real to me. He's irresistible."
Welch said he has also asked God to "reveal himself to this generation, the people I'm called to talk to. That's all I could think about when I was writing this book: What did it feel like? It just felt like he poured out liquid love into me. It was, like, just so awesome."
Welch's memoir is a page-turning rock 'n' roll journey, detailing the sometimes shocking, but brutally honest truth about one of the world's most popular bands' descent into debauchery and decadence. It's also an inspirational tale of how Welch's intense spiritual encounter with Jesus delivered him from drugs and alcohol with almost no symptoms of withdrawal.
In some ways, Welch's book is reminiscent of No One Here Gets Out Alive, the 1980 best-selling biography of Doors' singer Jim Morrison, who also abused drugs and alcohol. But while Welch's story has a happy ending, Morrison's story, alas, did not. Unlike Welch, Morrison never found any kind of deliverance and died at age 27—possibly from a heroin overdose, but the precise cause of death was never determined.
"I was just reading about Jim Morrison on the Internet," Welch said. "I was like, "Thank God I didn't die.' I don't know how I didn't die because I was doing everything that would lead you to death. I was snorting crystal meth every day, all day long. I was drinking alcohol. For nutrition, I was eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So, just by the grace of God, I don't know why he died and I didn't. Some people say I'm going too far with this religious thing. But you know, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain … all of those guys died, but I didn't. I got a second chance, and I'm so thankful and grateful to God for not letting me die and giving me this purpose in life."
After accepting the Lord, Welch got a number of new tattoos, including "Jesus" on the fingers of his right hand and "Matthew 11:28" on his neck. "I felt like God was leading me to get more because he wants to use this [my tattoos] as a statement," Welch said. "He saved me and delivered me from drugs and he's showing the world through me as a prophetic example how he loves everybody unconditionally—both people with tattoos and people without tattoos."
In early 2005, Welch shocked the music world when he announced on local radio in Bakersfield that he had become a Christian and was leaving the band—the Internet, CNN, and MTV caught wind immediately after that. Before getting too caught up in a media blitz, the pastor at Welch's church invited him on a trip to Israel. It was there that Welch was baptized along with other new believers in the Jordan River. Shortly after that, they were all in a room together when someone's camera went off accidentally.
"We looked at the photo and there was a white dove right in the middle of the picture, perfectly shot," Welch said. "It looked like it was posing it was so perfect. And I was just tripping. I mean that's what happened to Jesus. He was baptized and the Spirit came on him like a dove. And it was just a sign and wonder that God was saying, 'You are right where I want you to be.' It was simply awesome."
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