James Therrien (Soulgazer) was born, February 8, 1954 and passed away December 15, 2014. He was pastor at the Alpah & Omega Christian Gnostic Church. He was a good man who deeply influenced my life, and that is all I will say because all I will do is fail. At the bottom of the moving eulogy given by Robert Wood during a service, there is an audio interview of James for Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio (begins at approximately minute 20).
Today we are gathered here to honor the memory of James Therrien, also known by the online handle of “Soulgazer”. I could easily write a book on all the lessons I learned based on the guidance he gave me but I will try to keep this short and to the point. Though I did not know him for long, he impacted my life and so many others. He started Alpha & Omega: Christian Gnostic Church in 2001 a welcoming haven for those who were rejected everywhere else. It was 2009 when I first met him. I was trying to find myself. I was going through the motions of living, not knowing where to look. I was not expecting much and thought this was just going to be a footnote and the last church I ever attended. I never thought I’d be where I am today.
He told me he didn’t think he would ever become a pastor either. He quickly became like a father to me. And that’s the strange thing about life: when you think you know everything and have everything figured out, some surprise comes and tells you “That’s not how it is”. He was a man who did not like baggage and had the courage to say things even if it was difficult. He had a love for life. He had an understanding of how precious each moment in our life is like no other person I ever knew. He knew how to point out those little things that make life special and what was just garbage that kept us from seeing it. He had a faith, a confidence, about living an authentic life that I hope that everyone is willing to emulate.
Even after his first stroke in 2011 and he felt he was unable to continue running his church; he still kept his confidence and did not give in to fear. He had such a sense of peace that just made you want to stick around him. Let me assure you he was a man, a human, but he emulated his inner Christ and showed what that really meant by example. He showed that “living by faith” was not about being ignorant of the world but having confidence that everything will work out how it’s supposed to and that we do impact the people we encounter in our lives.
Though he has left this world and continued on where ever he has been called to go, and the wisdom he had has parted from us, the source resides in each of us. We all have a piece of James within each of us. While we are saddened by losing our good friend, he is no longer suffering and has been called home. I know he died without regrets, and it was evident in the life he lived. He made the most of each moment he was here. Each of our times here is short, and one day we will be called home with our brother James. Our monkey suits will break down and we won’t be able to do the things we once were able to do today. Are we living a life where we are honest with the choices we make for better or worse? Or are we letting constructed fears dictate what we do? We have the same light within us that James did, and it is our choice to let it shine or keep it covered. I know that I will let my light shine and will emulate the man who was like a father to me.
Today is the winter solstice, and so the shortest day of the year. Even though it marks the beginning of winter, we must recognize that the days can only get longer from this point on. Though we mourn and grieve now, as we continue in our lives we will celebrate what light and wisdom James has shown to each of us.
Friendofsophia, a relatively new member of Alpha & Omega Christian Gnostic Church had this to say about James. “I first heard of James from his Aeon Byte interview. It led me to seek out his writings, online forum, and church. His writings and his spoken words have impacted me in a major way. His courage to start something because he saw the need for it is inspiring. He was able to simplify the most profound concepts without losing much in the translation. He had a way about him that one could just know that he wasn’t full of shit, and at the same time be able to recognize a genuine sense of love for the reader or listener. He was always one to point out the “frosted” and “wheat” side of everything as well as to remind us all that he can only point to the door, that we must walk through ourselves with his simple yet profound: “your mileage may vary.”
Many more words were spoken by others but this is what I have recorded. Dear heavenly Father-Mother, we know that you have called James back home and that one day you will call each of us. Grant us the understanding of how precious our lives are and help us to make peace with anything that we feel ashamed of in our lives. We know that within you is a love that surpasses all understanding and have long forgiven us even if we have chosen not to forgive ourselves. Grant us the faith and courage to face the fears in our lives that want to dominate and control how we live for we know that in faith there is freedom from fear. Allow us to recognize that your Christ is not a being that is far from us nor a corpse that requires praise but the perfect image of God that resides with us, that we give birth to when choose to allow truth and love in our lives. Amen.
Aeon Byte #190 Aeon Byte #190: The Alpha & Omega Christian Gnostic Church with James Therrien, Pastor