We all remember the Hippies, but do any of you remember the Jesus freaks?
Who were they?
They were a bunch of Hippies who wanted to do Jesus, but didn't dig the suit and tie organized church. They wanted to do Jesus in their won way and decided not to conform to the dead dried up churches they once left. All you needed was a long haired dude to strums some groovy worship songs, another hippie guy or girl, to share out of their Living Bible and have church wherever....streets, beach, someones house, coffee houses, anywhere except in one of those cold buildings adorned with judgmental stares.
They wanted to do it their way and they all felt unaccepted by the church of their parents.
I remember the first time I met one.
One night I attended my church youth group. We had a special guest speaker and it was a real shocker. He had long hair, wore blues jeans and sported a flannel shirt. He brought his guitar and played some really cool tunes he said God gave him. He read a few scriptures from the bible and began to speak from his heart. That kinda of flipped me out! He wasn't some robot with a suit and tie lecturing us from his notes. He wasn't talking down to us or giving us a list of do's and don'ts. He didn't try to scare us with an angry God waiting for us to mess up so he could squash us and cast us into hell. He had a passion and spoke of love, joy, peace and getting high on Jesus. He talked of his struggles with drugs, peer pressure and his searching for life's meaning. His message was full of hope and had us kids on the edge of our seats. We all left feeling groovy. I thought this guy is so cool, this guy is real.
The next day I walked across the street where some long haired hippies were working on a car and smoking cigarettes. I was a grade school kid, but I knew I could impress them with the fact that I knew a cool kid who went to their high school. I walked over and asked them if they knew my guitar playing hippie friend. It didn't go well. They had a look of disgust on their face and said, "we know him, he's a F@#$&%# Jesus Freak." I left sad because I didn't consider my friend a freak and from the tone of their voice I could tell they didn't think Jesus was all that cool either.
The next time at church I asked this cute Marsha Brady look-a-like when she was going to have this Jesus freak dude back to speak at our youth group. She told me that the elders of the church said he couldn't come back because he made the fatal mistake of smoking a cigarette after the youth service. I saw him smoke, but didn't give it much thought. I believed God forgives and the guy just got off drugs, why should I judge him? All I knew was what I felt when he sang and spoke. It was real and how can you argue with the spirit that was within him over a cigarette?
The Jesus freaks arose from the late 60's and early 70's counter culture and began the Jesus movement. The Jesus freaks believed that Christ taught love, joy, peace, pacifism and and had a back to the land approach. They rejected materialism, religious rules and organized religion. They promoted the Living Bible and Good News for modern man version so we could grab a better understanding of the concepts in the Bible.They didn't buy into their parents church and saw Jesus as more of outlaw philosopher than the strict dictator presented in the traditional church. Many viewed the church as a judgmental organization filed with hypocrisy. They wanted to do Jesus their own way.
I miss the Jesus Freaks and I refuse to do traditional church. I dig the teachings of Christ, but I don't dig what how the church turned out. I was raised in a church where we were taught that Jesus wanted us to be white middle class republicans with an axe to grind. Anyone we didn't understand, anyone who didn't dress and act the proper way was cast out from the tribe. To be accepted was the follow the rules, avoid tribal taboos and believe the right doctrines. A whole bunch of laws and very little grace.
I find it quite sad. My first encounter with a Jesus Freak was to discover that he was rejected by the church and rejected by the world. The church rejected him for not conforming and the world rejected him for being into a loving and peaceful Jesus.
Flower Power Spirituality understands that to walk the path might make you a freak.
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