Monday, October 15, 2007


Bonnie's comment sent me (where else?) to Google. According to Wikipedia, the Jesus Movement
was the major Christian element within the hippie counterculture, or, conversely, the major hippie element within the Christian Church. Members of the movement are called Jesus people, or Jesus freaks.

Wow. I had forgotten all about "Jesus freaks." It was the melding of being "born again" with being a hippie.

I also found this pretty cool website on the Jesus Movement. According to the "History" section of that website,
Though the Jesus People Movement remains relatively neglected by mainstream and religious historians, its influence throughout the church had a profound affect upon shaping many facets of the contemporary evangelical movement.

So, Bonnie, you aren't the only person who hasn't heard of the Jesus Movement! But, thanks to my older sister, it was part of the culture of my childhood. In Texas. Among evangelicals.

And thanks to the One Way website (as well as its Jesus Music site), I'm able to add these images to my on-again, off-again exploration of mystory. I haven't thought about these things in a long, long time:

Don't you love that last one? The appropriation of popular culture was a big part of the Jesus Movement. I remember another poster that riffed off Coke: Jesus, He's the Real Thing.

But "one way," as you can see in the posters above, was the big slogan.

One way. It sounds dogmatic. Only one way. But that first image, from Agape's LP Gospel Hard Rock, was popular exactly because it wasn't clear cut. What is it? Mountains in snow? No: it's Jesus. Yeah. It's Jesus. Yeah. (A snippit of some more lyrics I remember from my sister's record-playing.)

I remember (as a fuzzy emotion, not a definite thought) the Jesus Movement as risky. Not clear cut. My mother didn't like my sister's records. It didn't seem right to mix church with rock and roll. And look at those Jesus freaks in Dallas! One of them is shirtless! That's not my grandmother's worship service!

Another link to explore another time.


Krista said...

Hey, I was an southern evangelical kid too! Funny what sticks with you and what sneaks back up on you, eh?

Jon said...

Heh, as another recovering Evangelical...

There was also the smiley face.

And isn't the point about the first image that it looks a little like Che? There are certainly versions that do. A friend of mine was involved in the (British) campaign that produced this poster, and predictably enough offended the blue rinse brigade.

John said...

I don't know if I'd call this part of the Jesus Freak movement, but there's Black Sabbath's 1971 song "After Forever."

bdegenaro said...

The hippie/Jesus connection made its way into mass culture, too. The Jesus Christ Superstar phenomenon, of course. But also the born-again scammers in the film Vanishing Point. The notion of a "counterculture" had much visibility and caused much anxiety, it seems.

comoprozac said...

I didn't realize this movement had a name. I just thought "Jesus Freak" was a(n) (un)cool t-shirt slogan. Still, they're dirty hippies for Jesus.

The lastest movment seems to be the hipster christian set. Sufjan Stevens is their savior, I believe. R and I like to sing about hc's to the tune of Night Ranger's "Sister Christian".

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

well then, sure, i know that there Jesus Movement.

when we were kids, our parents took us to see lots of musical theater. in the weeks leading up to our trip to see JC Superstar, my mom sewed us be-fringed pleather vests to wear with matching knickers. my 4 sisters and i wore these mathcy outfits. at dinner before the show, 2 older ladies asked if we were a musical group.

we said "yes."

fwiw ;)

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

resurrecting (pun) the JM:

bdegenaro said...

Bonnie: Your mom rocks. Home-sewn hippie vests for JCS. How friggin' cool is that?!

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

they were some p-r-i-t-t-y groovy vests, i tell you. and we wore patent leather zip-up boots too!

one day, i came home and found that my mom had painted my room purple and had sewn a zebra skin (faux fur) bedspread. THAT was cool!

Donna said...

Hey, thanks for all the comments, folks!

But, Zac, keep the hippie-bashing on your own blog, please. This blog is all about peace and love, got it??

And I also think the vests Bonnie's Mom made sound pretty amazing. Not the mention the zebra bedspread. You had a much more exciting childhood than I did, Bonnie.

And Jon and Krista--hey, I knew we had to have some things in common. And don't you think, Jon, that many Marxists (even the Deleuzean kind) are former evangelicals? That's what I've observed.


Yes, the smiley face.

Which also certainly passed into pop culture. I don't know how I forgot about the double-influence, Bill. The Black Sabbath song that John mentions is surely another. Not to mention Bob Dylan.

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