LIFTED UP TO BE THE SERVANT OF ALL
Brant Baker - Shekinah Fellowship - the best time of our lives - the end of a move of God
There are some interesting web sites which explain a lot about Brant's life early-on and the formation of
Shekinah Fellowship. They're fascinating to me because I knew little of that. Brant was reluctant to share
much of his past. I was at the other end of the ministry and sometimes wonder how things would have
turned out if I had known Brant at the beginning, kind of sitting with my arms folded stupefied like the angels
will be when we tell them about salvation. The common denominator to these internet testimonies and
attributions which take on various forms such as blogs, videos and music, is the craving to grab even a slice
of what once was, another touch of the Holy Spirit, one more sense of belonging, anything to combat the
void deep down inside.
My friend Susie, a modern day saint in my opinion, will mention names of people I don't remember because
she was involved with Shekinah for such a long time. I remember a lot though - we all do because it was the
best time we ever had. The Lord told me years ago that I had been spared for a reason. Now with
almost all my friends dead, I am acutely aware of my call to share my thoughts so that someone, anyone,
might benefit, understanding that we bring different experiences to the table but serve the same
omniscient Lord of all.
Everyone wanted a piece of him, and I can't help but wonder if it was that way with Jesus too. No wonder
Brant retreated to the security of a handful of guys just like Jesus did with His twelve. He deliberately kept
us separated as best he could from the rest of the ministry. He was attempting to live alternate lifestyles.
Brant was renting the house on Spaulding Ave in West Hollywood that we had vacated. We were in our new
house just down the street and around the corner, and I guess in a way relieved that he was no longer our
housemate. Undoubtedly there was a path worn on the pavement between the two houses. His new
landlords Jay and Don thought he was a nut case, and admittedly Brant's demeanor could be taken as
lacking in social graces on occasion. Let’s face it, you never knew where his head was at.
News flash: gay Christians exist and move in the same spiritual gifts as anyone else. We were his friends.
That’s not to say he didn’t have others. He had plenty, but he needed to confide in guys like himself who
were born-again, Spirit filled, and gay. On a typical early evening, calls would have come in from Forest
and Barbara who were really good to him, the energetic Trish probably on her way to hand out tracks up on
the Boulevard, his mother Jo Ellen, his brother Kevin who seldom got his calls returned, Jan Blessing, and a
number of others all from the ministry. Busy busy. The ministry had grown and the phone calls increased
proportionately. He would decide "no" to responding to all of the above more often than any of them would
want to know. With that, whichever guys were free would meet Brant at our favorite restaurant Chez Claude.
It was adorable and had great food, and it was determined that no one outside our group would ever hear
about it. Too many groupies lurking about. The restaurant is long gone now, but the private moments
linger in my head.
I helped provide an escape route for him whenever he needed it. Brant and I shared a lot of personal times,
the warm friendship kind, talking about life and becoming close enough to comfortably confide in each other.
Yes I saw the growing torment within him and the choices he would need to face, but that would be later.
Soon to come would be the miserable week at the cottage in Laguna with Brant being torn between
what he perceived to be his mother’s dominance versus the ministry’s health, and the horrors of that
week linger heavily in the minds of several of us. Only the few would be privy to those moments,
sparing the others.
We used to go cowboy dancing together up the street at a gay bar and that was hardly a laid back activity
– lots of energy and a few bottles of beer which never affected any of us because we line danced and
two-stepped them off. Lets face it, the ministry groupies would never have thought of stalking us there,
and we knew it. We’d come home exhausted, having laughed all the way home, both of us with our spirited
sense of humor. All of us guys were on the Monday night bowling league which hosted several hundred men
and about three women. The lesbians and gay men in those days hadn’t bonded yet. It wasn’t until
the AIDS epidemic occurred, when the women stepped up to the plate and ministered to the men.
Then we took a good look at each other and decided we were family after all.
Lest you think we were exclusively props for the perfecting of his Houdini style disappearing act, I will take
you to one particular afternoon in his home; my former house. Location: bedroom. Brant and his partner
Michael D were sitting at the head of the bed. Yes, as in significant other. The rest of the bed (surprised it
didn’t collapse) was supporting David who was one of Brant’s body guards, Jerry who was the organist, my
partner Vince who was a word of knowledge minister/prayer warrior and confidante of Brant’s, and me,
appointed as one of the three word of knowledge facilitators. The other Michael C wasn’t there, neither was
Greg the choir director. The Spirit of prophecy flowed from Brant as he imparted knowledge from the Lord
to each of us in a long session. It had to do with God’s directing our lives in light of a new level of the Holy
Spirit which we had already begun and were moving into. In retrospect it all came into being soon enough.
An uncommon anointing of God had come upon the group as the Holy Spirit’s presence filled the room; the
house. At one point I left the bedroom and sat by myself in the living room. There was a reason.
The rest I cannot share because its something I alone must deal with.
The house on Spaulding wasn’t exactly the best kept secret. At one time Brant held a ministry meeting in the
main living room area, and another time he had a ministry party at the house. Ministry in this case meant the
core 45 who were most intricately involved. Most of the rest hadn’t a clue as to what was really going on,
and wouldn’t get it even if we told them.
I have never been one to shy away from questioning anything, and to have a friend so anointed of the Lord
and moving so powerfully within that anointing, well, I learned some spiritual truths and principles unlike
anything I've experienced since, and won't until I'm one with Jesus in the next realm. In short time I became
very involved in Shekinah. In the beginning it had a lot of “ups” and in the end it's share of “downs”. We
have all moved on. As for Brant, God had lifted him up to be His humble servant. Since then I have been
allowed to serve in a different way, but then perhaps maybe not so differently after all.
Of course I knew, we all knew. I remember asking Brant what would happen if his gift left him? We talked
about how long he could move in the overflow or afterglow or whatever you want to call it, before it would be
detected by the masses. We talked about what if this, and what if that. When things started to go bad, when
I could see his torment surfacing so that others were noticing, his struggle, problems from supposed
supporters developing, problems with his overbearing mother, I knew like everyone else close to him that
the end was in sight. We talked about that too. Rick and Brigid were concerned. Randy and Susie were
concerned. Pat and Kare were concerned. Terry and Sue were concerned. Vince and I were concerned.
Everyone who had insider insight cared. I remember our agreeing with each other that none of us would
ever likely be in such an intense and powerful Spirit led ministry again – other ministries yes,
but not the same. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
For an everyday kind of guy to have an anointed faith healer as a pal and intimate friend - I am so blessed
and thank God continually for honoring me by trusting me in this way. To go through life knowing what I
know because of Brant necessitates an uncommon responsibility. Brant knew I could handle it when I didn't.
He spent a lot of time building my confidence. Training me. He prophesied over me numerous times,
privately and in the presence of “the group”. The Shekinah Song includes the phrase "lifted up to be the
servant of all". What a calling to serve the Lord and His people. My journey has led me on roads less
traveled, yet I testify to you that Jesus has led me and the Holy Spirit has directed me. My friend Brant and I
will be together again not so far into the future, and we'll catch up where we left off. Maybe our gang of guys
will sit at the feet of Jesus and have a loving reminiscence along with a lot of laughs. And maybe the whole
conglomeration of Shekinah people can have one big reunion with a revival service bringing the highest glory
and honor to King Jesus. I look forward to it. Kathryn Kuhlman is invited too.
I can’t remember exactly how it was put, but I read something on an internet blog, which went something like
this…..”like a shooting star zooming across the sky on a clear night for all to see, it’s brilliance almost
too much to bear, so was Brant’s presence amoung us. Then darkness snuffed it out.” Whoever wrote
those words had some insight.
As mentioned above, the Lord revealed to me that I have been spared for a reason. David died, Jerry died,
Michael died, and Brant died. I lost contact with Greg, but he could be dead too. All of them young. All of
them talented. All of them undeniably belonging to Jesus. They’re the beginning of a list so long that
I stopped writing the names down after the first 100. Do I miss them? Something awful, but I have to wait.
I am still here because my work isn’t done. Jesus has told me that I must tell the story. I’m working on it.
When book #2 comes out, you’re in for a treat and some answers.
All love, no matter how passionate, pales in comparison when the Holy Spirit fills the room. Kathryn Kuhlman
used to say “You want to know what it requires? It requires everything”. Brant had a conflict with
the "everything." Sadly, so do most of us.