This picture to the right is the Ken Carey I knew. I found it on the internet so I could show you what he looked like and because I have no pictures of him. I think he didn’t wanted his picture be taken, lest his privacy be in danger. At least that is what I think of him; and I respected his wishes. Several times during our relationship I asked him if I could interview him, be it just a sound recording or video. He declined both. I wanted him to come to our fellowship group to meet some of my other friends, because I found him interesting and different enough that I believe our group would see him as fascinating as I did. He said that meeting strangers in a group setting made him anxious and he couldn’t concentrate, so I stopped asking him.
This picture (both pictures are credited to manataka.org) on the left is the Ken Carey I never knew. He moved from the big city to a large isolated farm in South Central Missouri, with no electricity or running water. He wrote books geared to the revitalized New-Age set of the 90’s. You can find a plethora of articles about him and written by him on sites like: churchofthecosmos, ascensionnow, theearthplan, lightparty, and many other independent bloggers. His farm, he told me, was one of those locations on the earth that had a strong spiritual pull given by the thinness of the divide between our reality and the supernatural reality; which is why he chose to move his family there. He talked about a school being on the property and I’m not even sure it was for his family exclusively, which was atypically large, or open to other families of similar thoughts and insights.
I respected his wishes for privacy, until now. If you haven’t guessed, Ken died, a week and a half or so ago. You see, his body was discovered on Thursday and may have been there a few days. He lived alone in a cold concrete apartment dwelling for people of a more mature type. I wasn’t even going to write this article (maybe), if I had been able to attend his funeral. As far as I know, he didn’t have one. He was estranged from his family. His family divided, his wife no longer needing him, had deserted him for the most part. He attempted reconciliation, in fact several months ago, Ken was elated at the possibility that his wife may allow him back on the farm to live in a building not connected to the main house. He just wanted to be on the farm.
Since the discovery of his body, I have been searching for anything posted about him or a ceremony, celebrating his life, for I wanted to be there. Being in the New Age movement and raising his kids that way would make me think that peace and love reigned among them, and any difficulty in relationship would be resolved almost immediately, perhaps superficially though in his death.
I need closure with Ken and I am not finding it. So, this is my closure: exposing my friend and telling the world that they no longer need to wonder at his location, because I know where he is. Ken is in heaven, with the ultimate love of his life, Jesus Christ. Not Jesus Christ as some mystical, universal, in the trees sort of being I imagine New Agers commit to, but the real Jesus. Jesus Christ, born, lived, died on a cross for all our sins, raised from the dead, forever with the Father, eternal grace, peace, joy and love; that is the Jesus Ken knew. Ken understood Jesus in a way most traditional Christians would shun. His verbiage uses a broad brush of love and universality so uncommon to our ears. Most Christians struggle with their own personal life; the latest verse to memorize, people at work, money for a new mower, that sort of thing. Ken struggled with the idea of love and the fulfilling of everything lovely in Jesus Christ. He was a Christian, but I’m not even sure if he would be satisfied with those words. To him it was more than a title, even more than a way of life. It was allness, everything and nothing in the sense that you couldn’t touch or measure love, it was just you, surrounded by Him and His love.
It is hard for me to explain, as I am not fully sure his vision of what he was. I live by terms and definitions that he didn’t want to be bogged down by.
One day I brought Ken to our home so we could buy some books for him off Amazon.com. He wanted a three different Bibles: one he could read, one he could study, and one he could read to his grandchildren. He was so excited to have a children’s Bible to read to his grandchildren; connecting with his grandchildren was very important. The other books were important too. He couldn’t wait. So when I got them I brought them right to him, even though he said he could wait until the next Sunday to have them. He also wanted a cover for the one he would just read from. I never got it for him.
He had asked that if I had the time, could I bring him to one of his grandson’s baseball games last summer. For me it was an honor and privilege. The drive was just a little over an hour, and I had exclusive time to have a conversation with him. It was during that drive that I really knew that he knew God, in his own unique way. The fact that I disagreed with a lot he was saying on the dark ride home, trying to understand him, and that we still were good friends is a testament to God and His sovereignty in bringing him in my life. I can still picture the ride home, for in the dark, foggy, summer night, is when he introduced me to his concept of spiritually strong places on earth. He told me that night that when he went out on his book tours, a special place in his heart was Salt Lake City. I was confused because when I imagine Salt Lake as if there were spiritual forces there, they are dark and deceitful. He told me that it wasn’t evil or good per se, but it is all in how people take it, or absorb it, or use it. Even though Salt Lake, to a Christian’s understanding, is a dark place that needs light, Ken saw it as a stronghold for spiritual use, be it Love or otherwise. It wasn’t to be what the entirety of culture says it was, but what you say it is.
I understood what Ken was saying from the biblical account of places being swept of demons and if locations aren’t filled with otherwise, demons may fill it again. Most Christians would be shocked at Ken’s view, but I loved it. Loved that I could tell him I thought he was wrong and him fine with that but still struggling to help me see his view.
The first time I had a really serious discussion with him, he told me about his book writing and some of what he understood the world to be, and I thought he was a little… over the hedge, you might say. But my commitment to my philosophy regarding relationship and growing in our experience by whom you know, kept me coming back to him. It was quickly not just an experiment in patience, for I soon came to love Ken.
Ken was unwilling to say that he wanted me to read his books because I think in some way he understood who he was, was not who he is. His viewpoint in writing his previous works to him was a fulfillment in really understanding Christ. Much as I saw Catholicism as a step toward fully knowing Him, Ken saw his writing as the journey with the culmination of fully knowing Him. He wanted to write a final book, fully revealing what he now believed. In fact, a mutual friend thinks that it may have been mostly completed, but may be lost due to his family taking over what little there was left of Ken’s possessions. Which is the final reason I’m here. I hope that those who seek more from Ken in his writings of the past will completely understand who Ken came to be: a Bible believing Christian. Not going with the grain of traditional American Christianity as most unchurched people see us, but in Ken’s own version, influenced by his universal spiritualism, but no less devoted to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Exclusive to a fault, and fully embracing the universal Love that only God can comprehend in the totality of who He is.
Some see in a brighter mirror than others.
The one time I was afraid for Ken, was when our youth group brought him to McDonald’s. Our group is slightly misnamed as a Widow’s Ministry. We do service projects for some people who aren’t widows, and meet with others who just need or enjoy a simple visit. We picked up Ken, our noisy group, and brought him to the restaurant, bought fries and drinks aplenty. There was so much noise and confusion I thought Ken would, maybe go a little crazy. But the whole time he sat there with a smile on his face and participating in the conversation. He brought that up at church several times after that, saying how honored he felt. It seemed to him to be a celebration for him. He felt special, even though all the conversation around him wasn’t to him or about him, the fact that being there felt energizing, and loving.
That is how I want to remember Ken. Smiling at the privilege of being among the chaos of youth. It is a beautiful picture of what the world should be… at least how the Church should be.
Good bye Ken Carey. We’ll see you soon!