Hope For The Spiritually Challenged

By Tim Bennett

One advantage of getting older is you can look back on your life—and those dumb things you did—and almost see the person who did them as someone else.

As odd as it may sound, my first revelation of “faith” came through a film starring Barbra Streisand called Funny Girl. Of course, it had no connection with God, but the main character had an unshakable faith that one day she would be a “star” in the theater.

Being a confirmed neurotic at the time, I wanted what she had—joy and faith in herself. Instead of being inspired, however, to find a direction for my life and go for it, I watched the movie six times and became infatuated with Barbra Streisand.

Unfortunately, even after coming to Christ, I carried this obsession with me. I returned to college but figured it was only a holding tank until my real calling materialized. Like Fanny in Funny Girl, nothing would stand in my way to greatness. It seemed natural, therefore, to jumpstart my career by doing a concert with Barbra.

To make my faith vision official I assembled my Christian friends at a local A & W for a meeting and announced my plans for a Carnegie Hall concert (with Babs, of course) around frosty mugs of root beer. They were shell-shocked with the news but afraid to dampen my faith with their incredulity.

Only George, the guy who built computers for the school Science Fairs, and already had a real job that paid good money, saw things clearly: “Tim. You’re nuts!”

I rebuked him openly for his lack of faith and used the famous phrase God told me to protect myself from any future balloon poppers.

With them or without them, I was going to pursue my dream. Had not God spoken? Somehow, I learned the name and number of Barb’s agent in California and gave him a call on my parents’ phone. Amazingly, (must be God, I thought) I got through. A very confident man answered the phone. I began, “Ah, Marty. You don’t know me but my name is Tim Bennett and I would like to do a concert with Barbra Streisand.” He let me talk briefly and then became painfully pragmatic: “Ah…yeah. You want to do a concert with Barbra Streisand? So, how many albums have you done?” When I replied in the negative, he gently, but firmly said, “Get some music recorded and send it right on out to me.”

In my zeal I found his advice a little too much like work. I pressed on without a second thought. Somebody told me they knew someone who knew Elliot Gould, Streisand’s ex-husband—an obvious green light from God even a spiritual moron could see. I called and explained what I wanted to do. The man was irate, “Do you know what people do for numbers like that?” When I didn’t sound intimidated he gave me the name of a woman musician who had worked with Barbra. His final words were haunting: “If you ever tell anyone where you got this number I’ll seek you out and cut your tongue out.” I gave him my address at college and shrugged off his Hollywood dramatics. I called the woman and we planned a rendezvous at the rock capital of the world—Woodstock.

When we finally connected, however, I realized I wasn’t going to get what Joe Cocker would call “a little help from my friends.” She explained she hadn’t seen or worked with Barb in “ages.” From there we digressed to talking about Barb’s recent Barbara Walters’ interview on TV, like we were her closest pals. Finally, I pressed her for Barb’s number. She replied, “It would take a lot of phone calls to get it.” With the most velvet voice I could muster, I asked, “Would you do that for me?” She said flatly, “No,” and took the wind out of my sails for good. A perfect retort at the time might have been, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky,” borrowed from Jimi Hendrix, but instead I just said, “Oh…okay,” and walked away in a purple haze.

I thank God for his patience and His lifting of this delusional fog in my early days of walking with Him. I’m glad, too, that His promise in Philippians 1:6 is true regardless of how many times I fall on my face: “Being confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”

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