“Jesus Revolution” — some thoughts

This post is an edited version of my comments to a recent Facebook discussion of the movie.

I just watched the movie last night. Yes, it seemed well done and compelling, and it filled me with nostalgia, but there were some areas where I wish they had been more accurate.

I’m not sure why they chose to cast Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee as decades older than they actually were, and I thought this added a kind of weird dimension to the story. Chuck Smith was only 40 at the time, and he wasn’t some cranky old boring guy. Lonnie was a kid, not someone who was so much older than most of the hippies that he seemed like a has-been himself, or some weird hanger-on who, instead of acting his age, was trying to pretend he was still cool.

So I found that aspect a bit jarring and distracting. I left the movie trying to figure out what the main message or even the main story was. Was it that Lonnie had issues with pride and tried to take over? Was it the “theatrics”, that things would have all been fine if they had just stuck to the Bible and left out the healing stuff? Was it that God can use anyone, from brand new converts with major issues to elderly, boring preachers? Or was the real story the romance between Greg Laurie and Cathe, and the “Jesus Revolution” was just a backdrop to that?

I was a a young teenager during the early 1970’s, and I was hugely impacted by the Jesus Movement. It was an exciting time. But I saw most if not all of the hippie kids “fall away” afterwards. I think one of the big reasons is because — as the movie showed — so much was based on feelings and finding a replacement for drugs. So many kids I knew would go on and on about “getting high on Jesus” or about how the music made them feel, or about how Jesus was the most far-out guru ever. Also, many of the well-meaning Christians who ministered to the hippies ended up catering to them, changing church to attract and suit them, watering down the gospel, and not emphasizing the need for all believers to walk out a lifestyle of repentance, and to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Once the “high” wore off, many of these hippies simply went on their hippy ways. The root causes of their rebellion and lack of purpose had never been fully addressed. For every Greg Laurie who managed to make it despite being thrust into leadership as an unqualified, unschooled, newbie convert kid, there were all sorts of similar stories where the kid crashed and burned and took a bunch of other kids down with him.

The huge “falling away” after the Jesus Movement shook a lot of us to our very core. It took me until later adulthood to realize how much a truncated version of the gospel, a focus on emotionalism, and a lack of emphasis on spiritual growth and maturity played a role in that.

I think sin was not, as a whole, addressed enough during that time. And it was a major issue. Promiscuity among the hippies was far more extreme than in the youth of today. The Bible describes rebellion as a “sin of witchcraft”, yet this sin was rarely preached against and was often coddled if not encouraged. (For example, rather than modeling respect for elders, some Christians adopted and encouraged the hippie’s lack of respect.) Many hippies survived on the streets through panhandling, thievery, drug dealing, and even prostitution — suffice it to say that sin was rampant. The mistake of many who wanted to attract hippies is that they presented a false view of Christianity. It’s not all about replacing the cross with a dove, or about cool music that makes you feel good, or about feeling accepted just the way you are. It’s not about turning church services into something that is “culturally relevant” and makes us feel good.

Deny yourself. Take up your cross daily. Be holy as Jesus is holy. His way is narrow.

The Epistles warn the church leaders not to be too quick to lay hands on someone and have them step into leadership and ministry. The story of Lonnie Frisbee should serve as a cautionary tale, only the movie didn’t tell the whole story. This young kid may have been able to attract a crowd and God may have used him, but he disqualified himself when it came to ministry. He divorced his wife and eventually died of AIDS. His story, because of his popularity and influence, is dramatic. But he’s not the only one thrust into some sort of limelight he couldn’t handle, while living a double life, and who never gained the victory over sin that is possible for those who, day after day, walk in the humble repentance and self-denial required of us.

Unfortunately, the movie didn’t offer itself as a cautionary tale. I’m not sure what message we were supposed to take away from it. Yes, it was a trip down memory lane for people like me (although I would have preferred more of that rather than the romance — perhaps the movie is really Greg Laurie’s “love letter” to his wife?) but I’m not sure what young people of today are supposed to take away — other than that churches need to change and embrace their culture, rather than requiring anything of the young people themselves. And I’m not sure that is a good message for these times… or any times.

Edited to add:

While most of the “Jesus People” that I knew left their Christian life, that was obviously not what happened to everyone. This article is one of many that describes what a huge impact the Jesus Movement still has to this day.

Too much weekend! | Move it Monday

The holiday weekend was wonderful — so wonderful, and so full of celebratory feasting, that I was reluctant to step on the scale this morning. Sure enough, some of those pesky pounds I’d worked off had returned to haunt me…or taunt me…I’m not sure which. Of course, it’s not like this came as a complete surprise; I hadn’t even made an effort to eat sensible portion sizes, nor had I bothered logging my food intake.

Back when I’d lost what was for me a substantial amount of weight, I had worked with a fitness trainer who insisted I kept track of everything that I ate. There were things I was tempted to eat, but didn’t just because I didn’t want her to tease me about them, or point out how many empty calories they contained and what it would take to work them off.

I no longer have my fitness trainer, but I do have this great app:

MyNetDiary app — the editorial comment about my weight is mine.

MyNetDiary app — the editorial comment about my weight is mine.

For more info, you can visit their website at mynetdiary.com

What I like about the app and website, besides its ease of use and the detailed and useful info it generates for me, is that it links to my Fitbit account. All in all, it’s very customizable and as comprehensive as I could ever want. Even though I don’t have diabetes, I would recommend it to those who do, because it has a special module that looks excellent.

It’s very easy to log my meals because the food database is HUGE. I can scan bar codes, search the database, or enter my own foods and recipes. I’ve tried various other food-logging apps in the past, and this is the only one I want to keep using. It also gives me the most detailed summaries of whatever nutritional data I care to track.

This was today’s lunch:


And now I’m off to the gym!