God is My Co-Author 

Does local musician/author Keith Blanchard converse with the Supreme Being?

It seems like God - who hasn't done a whole lot of talking for the last millennium or so - is jabbering on and on to just about anybody who'll pay attention these days. God told George W. Bush to run for president, and then, after Bush became president God told him to invade Iraq. At the beginning of 2004, Mayor Willie Herenton told Memphis that God was his main consultant, then earlier this year, the Creator told "on your side" reporter Andy Wise to go on television to discuss Herenton's politically damaging paternity problems. And the list of divine discussions doesn't stop there. You don't have to watch the Trinity Broadcast Network to hear about conversations with the Almighty anymore. All you have to do is tune in to the nightly news. The Lord of Hosts, having been rather loose with the logos, has told many prominent people to do and say some rather unusual, not entirely God-like things.

And then along comes Keith Blanchard, a humble Memphis rock-and-roll musician who plays guitar for King's Trio and Lavender Soul. Blanchard's also been talking to God and receiving very different messages from the ones going out over the airwaves of late. God has given Blanchard one principal directive: Go out into the world and love people.

Blanchard claims to have had visions of celestial beings since he was a child, but in June 1996, he got a glimpse of something even bigger. He says God woke him up one morning and asked him to sit down and take a little dictation. Blanchard's book, The Divine Principle, recounts these conversations and seeks to explain how each and every person on earth can have regular, private audiences with God and see the divine light of the universe moving through all things.

At its best, The Divine Principle - like so many spiritual texts - reminds us that harmony, not discord, is mankind's ultimate calling. At its worst, the book sounds like George Lucas attempting a scientific explanation for the "Force." The author knows that much of his writing may seem far-fetched to a lot of people and that some will instantly assume he's a crackpot. Early on, he even had concerns about his own sanity. These days, however, Blanchard refers to himself as a "Light Worker" and has dedicated himself not to public evangelism but to simply living according to "The Divine Principle," as he understands it.

Flyer: What was your life like before God started talking to you?

Keith Blanchard: All my life I pursued a spiritual path. I was an altar boy. As a teenager, I seriously thought about becoming a priest. And then my father introduced me to the electric guitar, and I started making music my life. [After a longtime relationship went sour], things got pretty dark until I met a friend who turned me on to a path of personal spiritual development.

And God just started talking to you?

I was in my bed asleep, and I heard this voice in my head saying, "Keith, it's time for you to awaken." I thought I was still dreaming, or that it might have been my wife or a friend who snuck into my room. And then the voice said, "If you think the voice you're hearing is outside your head, you're mistaken." God's presence was everywhere. It permeated the bed, my face, my clothes, the molecules in the wall. The voice was audible, but I wasn't just hearing it. It was also light, and smell, and everything.

At first I was afraid. I thought I might be schizophrenic. I thought, What am I supposed to do about this? This is too much of a cross to bear. But then I started seeing miracles. ... I started to see God moving in the world. People would ask me, How is it that you can hear God? I'd answer, How is it that you can't?

Did people treat you differently after you told them you spoke with God?

At first I was too gung-ho and not careful with my mouth. I had ego problems and a real sense of being special. But I've matured. When people hear this sort of thing they have obvious and honest concerns. But when they get to know me as a person, they discover that I'm not trying to convert anybody to anything. If you want to read my book as fiction, that's fine with me.

Can you describe God?

God is everywhere. There is no place it is not. It's love in totality - everything that moves the universe. The only thing that it is not is fear.

Have you ever met the devil?

I don't believe in the devil. My entire focus is on God. Fear can be defined as a kind of reverence, and if you bow down to a power other than divinity, that's the devil. Fear is a tangible negative energy. n

The Divine Principle is available through thedivineprinciple.com.

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