Jesus Freaks-Haight Ashbury

By February 14, 2015Christianity

 Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (Hab. 3:2).

This week, at the church I pastor, The Road, we have concluded five nights of a lecture series I’ve entitled, “Windstorm—a study of Acts and Awakenings.” I have spoken from Acts chapter two, as a kind of spiritual template and launching point of how the Holy Spirit works throughout history. From Pentecost, through the Reformation, the Moravians, the Great Awakenings, Welsh Revival, Azusa Street, and the 1960’s Jesus People Movement, it has been fascinating to study God’s ways and power during a spiritual windstorm.

Sixty years ago there was a Jesus revolution in America! One of the movements I believe the most overlooked in Christian history is the Jesus People Movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Recently, Christianity Today magazine selected their annual “Book of the Year” award. They chose Gods Forever Family – The Jesus People Movement in America by Larry Eskridge. It boldly proclaims that “the Jesus People Movement was one of the most important American religious movements of the second half of the 20th century” and that it “must be considered one of the formative powers that shaped American youth in the late 1960s and 1970s.” I agree with this assessment.

Maybe because I’m a child of the 70’s and came to know Jesus during that time, I find the history of these hippie Jesus Freaks, as they were labeled, fascinating. In light of my study into awakenings and revivals I thought it interesting to look at this movement in my next few of blogs.

Haight-Ashbury

Although there is no particular reference that is considered to have triggered the whole of this movement, there is one common starting point. In San Francisco within the Haight-Ashbury district, a hub of counterculture hippies and non-conformists had formed. It was in this district amidst acid dropping, rebellious youth that Ted Wise and his wife began evangelizing in late 1966. Soon, Steve Heefner, a disc jockey friend of Wise’s, accepted Jesus. Two other friends of Wise named Jim Doop and Danny Sands, also became Christians. Sands was so impressed by the biblical story of the rich young ruler that he sold everything and drove up and down the coast of California until he and his family eventually moved in with Wise and his wife. In the following year, this group of people formed a commune, dubbed The House of Acts, and started The Living Room mission on Page Street in order to evangelize the area. Over the next few years somewhere between thirty to fifty thousand young people heard the message of the gospel.

One of the Living Room’s early disciples was a young seventeen-year-old hippie named Lonnie Frisbee. Born with a clubfoot, slight of built, the longhaired bearded Frisbee even looked like Jesus. Frisbee was befriended by Wise and his young disciples when they encountered him preaching on a corner in the Haight, waving a Bible, and talking about flying saucers, Jesus, and Christ consciousness. Frisbee shared that only recently he had been walking nude, high on acid and been confronted by Jesus and told that he would “bear the Word of the Lord.”[1] It was from this beginning that God was preparing Frisbee, one of the original Jesus Freaks, to be mightily and powerfully used of God.

Next blog: Hippie Preacher

On the Road,
Steve

Blog: www.steveholtonline.org

The Road: www.theroadcs.org

 

[1] Larry Eskridge, God’s Forever Family, p. 33.