Hippies and Jesus Movement: How?

With due respect (and I mean that) to those sacrificing themselves and loved ones regarding the Vietnam War I find rare mention among those who came to saving faith in Jesus in those days mentioning that such was partly how they reached the conclusion to “eat, drink (and drug), be merry (all sex in whatever fashion) for tomorrow we die”.

Part of the sense of hopelessness, despair and spiritual vacuum so many of us felt and truly experienced then was of course fed via broken homes, a broken and largely business-enterprise system running political you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours deals, what Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex”, plenty of surfaced, blatant racism and certainly sin nature and not only imago dei in us all. And yes, a war many Americans did not believe in nor voted to ensue.

See, when nothing else makes sense and finally life seems meaningless, if anything, searching for love (whatever that really is or means at least to us as individuals) is about all that’s left.

So we hippies headed for spiritual experiences, things like I’ve listed above. The mantra (from Timothy Leary) “Turn on, tune in, drop out” in such scenarios a possible cool freaking option. Only it wasn’t. Nor were eastern and other religious/quasi-religious experiences we flocked to.

If as an old preacher said, “God’s address is at the end of yourself” I reckon those of us who reached it were deeply affected by all this.

Sanitizing the reasons, the forces other than demonic (which I fully believe in by the way) are often not brought to bear in discussions of the mass of hippies, students, street people who came by the thousands to faith in the crucified, risen Jesus Christ and who began to follow Him as their Lord and Savior.

Was all immediately or even later fully “well” with us? Is it now?? Look at your own life, then the churches (and I mean ANY form of supposed Christian gathering) and the other issues I’ve listed above. So similar and perhaps advanced into chains and pains have so many come even today as I write in January, 2023. Consider white suburban housewives and others working legal 9-5 jobs make up a if not the major demographic of opioid-addicted people in the United States.

Following Jesus has always gone beyond headlines, sound-bites, slogans or even church membership. It did in Jesus’ teaching and His example, His daily walk in relation to God the Father and his disciples.

As so many celebrate a sort of 50th anniversary of what I believe the most significant, genuine move of God the Holy Spirit in terms of authentic conversion to Christian faith of the last century, let us not remain ignorant of how it came about.

As I just said, of course God the Spirit moved. We sometimes skip over the practical realities of those days and I think it important to not merely spiritualize what happened.

Individual and corporate sin and injustice are nothing new. They were part of the ferile soil for the Holy Spirit and are so today.

I suggest we at least on occasion take sober inventory of the events that cracked open hard, lost, wandering, wondering hearts in the late sixties and early seventies. As per other times of severe calamities on earth such as war and pandemics, political turmoil and violence, when those things we placed trust in over God Himself are what we think shall save or sustain us fail -and they will… it is the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, resurrected and coming again – Who must.be.our.focus!

The Living Word Himself IS and has given us true words of life.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Advertisement

10 thoughts on “Hippies and Jesus Movement: How?

  1. In those days of the Jesus Movement, choosing Jesus was counter-cultural. Our youth culture mostly chose sex, drugs, and rock and roll as a way to escape the times, and this “free” life became the norm for many of us. Then we encountered Jesus, who as in New Testament times, called us from that culture, and He showed us a better way. Jesus freed us from the culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. We had truly encountered “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Choosing Jesus today does not feel as counter cultural. Somehow we have entailed the Gospel of Jesus with political expectations. Jesus came to set us free. Free from sin, but also free from the expectations of the culture that keeps us bound. He is the Truth, and we need Him to set our expectations. The sooner we separate the message of Jesus from the message of politics, the sooner the church can once again be a powerful force of true evangelism.

    (BTW, when I met Jesus, I gave away my whole music collection because it was part of my enslavement. The music was not evil, but it was a distraction for me. I used the term “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” because it best describes the times we were in.)

    1. Thanks for your comments. I don’t entirely disagree or agree with you Rich, but will me put a follow-up piece I wrote about being apolitical here perhaps tomorrow night or the next day as a follow-up to this one. Following Jesus as He reveals Himself in the four Gospels as well as the disciples in the Book of Acts, etc., it seems to political issues aren’t something we can or even should entirely avoid -yet not confuse poitics with salvation or personal relationship with the Lord. More soon, thx, -Glenn

      1. Glenn, I do not disagree with your OP or with your reply. Our actions as Christians are often by default political. When we become too partisan in our politics, that is when we get in trouble. We should sacrifice our beliefs, or our actions, for the right or the left. I look forward to you upcoming post.

      2. Our faith in Jesus and commitment to Him and His Word must be the accent in our life and decisions, not mere partisan politics. Yup. -Glenn

  2. “Was all immediately or even later fully “well” with us? Is it now?? Look at your own life, then the churches (and I mean ANY form of supposed Christian gathering) and the other issues I’ve listed above. So similar and perhaps advanced into chains and pains have so many come even today as I write in January, 2023. Consider white suburban housewives and others working legal 9-5 jobs make up a if not the major demographic of opioid-addicted people in the United States.” Wow! I will be thinking about this quote, and chewing on it for a while. I really enjoyed reading your thought on this matter.

    1. Thank you Jael Dawn… not always fun to write elements of this but I think important. A great many otherwise educated people have done very little re. Jesus Movement and present-day church issues. There was amazing, glory-of-God stuff and rank nonsense as there has been right throughout history. The very same goes for the U.S. and any nation I’m aware of. Such balance/sense seems often lacking in our time, maybe most of the time. -Glenn

      1. I think it will always been that way. From the beginning God has wanted humanity to eat from the tree of life, but we, and especially “Jesus followers” insist on eating and teaching from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I admit I don’t know what the Jesus movement was like, I didn’t live it, but I want to think it did start with people excited about the life and peace that the Holy Sprit can bring you no matter who you are or where you are at, but then people got caught up in what they were freed from and how others could be freed from, and should be freed from that same thing as well. The gospel quickly became “follow me as I follow Christ”, and we followed very broken people into their version of what they felt like the Holy Spirit wanted for OUR lives. I wonder if it would have continued on the path of just letting the Holy Spirit meet people where they are at in their life that we know nothing about, if it would have had a bigger impact on the church, politics, our country and more?

      2. I hear you but would add “as I follow Christ” meaning as Paul really, actually and accurately did -follow- Jesus. I do like the focus on Jesus’ Words in the four Gospels but of course He called the disciples to preach the kingdom and taught them how to do so. But indeed human blunders (including mine!) are going to happen regardless. We must pray, study His Word, work to grow and apply it better in daily service. One day at a time, best we can do. -Glenn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s