The Jesus Revolution, Revival, and Asbury

The just released movie Jesus Revolution is well done and inspiring. It is a story of three men in 1970s, men with vastly different backgrounds and life stories who were drawn together to bring California hippies to Jesus. The movie portrays the movement’s initial impetus, one which eventually expanded far beyond one California town.

Headline from Time Magazine: 1971.

I grew up in the 1970s myself, but had never heard of this revolution. I was pleased to finally learn of it fifty years later.

Perhaps it is not “woke” to recount this portion of our national history. Our woke brethren ignore anything not feeding their narrative–or instead they remind us Jesus is a fairy tale, so why bother with such nonsense? Occasionally, they show their expansiveness by allowing that Jesus was a good man with an interesting philosophy, but they will go no further than that.

One-channel media, of course, hopes for the movie’s failure. The LA Times naturally panned it:

Unfortunately, despite the interesting history, the film itself is a dry, scattered slog, neutered of all the thorny, contradictory details of the real story. Give Lonnie Frisbee’s Wikipedia page a quick scan to see just how much material the filmmakers excised from his fascinating, troubled life. Though the intent is to focus on Greg Laurie’s life, including flashbacks to his childhood, screenwriters Erwin and Gunn can’t quite pick a lane, giving us three rather shallow storylines about three different men, with often unnecessary details that bog down the film’s momentum — at two hours, it feels long.

Lonnie Frisbee is the hippie street preacher who convinced Pastor Chuck Smith to bring “his people” into church. Smith’s sleepy little traditional church is soon inundated with hippies who Frisbee says have been looking for God in all the wrong places. The 1970’s mantra: “turn on, tune in, and drop out” from Harvard Professor Timothy Leary, is one Frisbee contradicts. Frisbee appeals to his people by using their vernacular, swaying them in a way someone like Chuck Smith never could have done on his own.

The main characters come into conflict with each other at various times, and their flaws are displayed. It makes them genuine, not sappy, one dimensional characters. They were all imperfect people struggling to do good, and occasionally failing. In other words, they were like the rest of us, not saints on a pedestal, not righteous people holding themselves apart. They even disappoint us at various points.

The movie has no real villains; it is not self-righteous and does not try to condemn anyone. The only hero I detected is God. The LA Times cannot possibly understand how people like me are amazed the Holy Spirit guided these disparate and flawed people, using even their faults and sins to bring them together for good. They must think I am nut for even believing in God.

The LA Times and the rest of the one-channel media is looking for an entertaining story. Another super-hero movie would suit them better; this one doesn’t even have direct clashes between good and evil. Maybe it would have been better drama if someone had died, but I found it inspiring to watch the characters learn something of themselves and appreciate the value of others so very different from themselves. That’s a message a culture like today’s could apply, but the one-channel media cannot possibly comprehend subtlety.

As the article recommends, I read Frisbee’s Wikipedia page. It mentions a troubled past, and while the movie alludes to Frisbee’s troubled past, it picks up his story after he has changed and encounters Smith. The only other “thorny” details covered by Wikipedia are rumors of Frisbee’s homosexuality. This alone might be enough for one-channel media to elevate him in every other circumstance, but since he proclaimed to be a man of God and not Secretary of Transportation, they imply this trait makes him a hypocrite.

Pastor Greg Laurie, the other main protagonist, says he saw no evidence of Frisbee’s homosexuality during this period. This topic wasn’t part of the movie, but so what? How is this omission “neutering” the real story? This is not a story about anyone’s sexuality. Why corrupt it with sex?

Even if the homosexual rumors are true, we still shouldn’t discount the rest of Frisbee’s story. As a Christian, I believe homosexuality is a sin, but sinners can be church members, even church leaders. Of course, that’s such an obvious statement; without sinners, the church would have no members, but I say it only to avoid the hypocrite label. Christians are criticized for hating homosexuals and transgenders, but this notion is so untrue. Father Mike Schmitz tells us homosexuals belong in church, but we cannot affirm their sexual behavior is good. This simple view is not accepted and is continuously distorted: Fr. Mike Schmitz Tackles the Transgender Question In This Helpful Video | (

Frisbee as a homosexual church leader is problematic only if he denies homosexuality is a sin or attempts to lead others into that sin. The particular sin doesn’t matter. We can’t excuse ourselves from any sin. There is a problem with any pastor, no matter his orientation, who says: following only nine of the ten commandments is good enough. Nine of ten is good enough for math class, but it is not good enough for our faith. We all fall short repeatedly, but it’s our intent to do better that matters.

What Is the Message?

I won’t spoil the plot any further, but we should ask what did Frisbee and others discover about their time? First, that drugs were a dead-end. Pastor Smith didn’t need to experience drugs to know this, but Frisbee and Laurie knew this because they had experienced them. The hippie slogans: “Peace and Love” and “Make Love, Not War” are fine, but turning on, tuning out, and dropping out are not the way to find peace and love. The 1960s turned America into a self-indulgent society, something we have never turned back from. Do what feels good to you. It’s all about you.

The goals of an intelligent life, according to Socrates, is to pursue the philosophic quest—to increase one’s knowledge of self and world.” ― Timothy Leary, Your Brain Is God

Christianity talks about peace and love extensively as well, but a self-sacrificing not a self-indulgent love. It is your life, but is not about you. Everyone also wants to avoid pain and find happiness, but these should not be our main goals. Life is about fulfilling your role, the role ordained for you by God. The hippie movement was about escaping: from reality (drugs), from authority (drop out), from responsibility and pain (turn on). Frisbee, Smith, and Laurie ran towards the hard things while the hippie movement sought escape. The three evangelists left a positive legacy, but I cannot name anything of note the hippie movement accomplished. The hippies of the 1970s may have known themselves, but they learned little else.

“Any reality is an opinion-we make up our own reality” Timothy Leary.

“Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities, the political, the religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness; chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself.― Timothy Leary

You can object to God’s role for you, curse him for setting your agenda, but without following it, it is very likely you will not be fulfilled, and consequently not happy. The hippie movement attempted to shortcut the path: to use drugs to seek God or perhaps even to become God themselves. This movement was ultimately about self: self awareness and a rejection of those who knew better.

What is the message of today and how does it relate to the hippies message? There is a different message and a different slogan, but we have similar results.

Everyone knows something is going to happen. The seeds of the Sixties have taken root underground. The blossoming is to come.” ― Timothy Leary, Neuropolitique

The culture of today is just as lost as the culture was then. Leary was certainly right about the blossoming of the notions of the Sixties. The main difference I see today is that the lies are more sophisticated, more ubiquitous, and harder to unravel, but they are still lies nonetheless. For instance, the sixties notion of casual sex and free love was perverted, but today this belief has devolved into the absolute chaos of whatever sexual deviancy feels good or right must be affirmed.

Ironically, Timothy Leary from fifty years ago would instantly recognize some of today’s problems. Many of today’s notions run counter to his philosophy. Leary’s belief that it is better to think for yourself seems to be lost completely. Our culture has outsourced thinking to our favorite celebrities, media, and politicians. Furthermore, Leary turned against the authority, the authority then being a more conservative and religious authority. Today, his generation, the baby boomers, are in authority and are abusing power in the way Leary criticized the conservative authority of his day.

Today, people believe men can have periods and breast feed children. They believe children know their “true” gender before they are even able to speak. They believe a protest, violent at times, which lasted about three hours and never stopped the day’s planned proceedings, was almost the end of democracy. They believe hurricanes are racist and that climate change affects women and children more than others. They believe carbon dioxide, a gas essential to all life, is a pollutant. They believe a pandemic that was never all it was supposed to be was among the worst in human history. They believe a vaccine that doesn’t prevent disease saved millions of lives and should be mandated. They believe flimsy masks that have large gaps when fitted will protect from a virus that floats in air for hours and is measured in microns. They believe social workers can replace police officers in violent neighborhoods. They’ve been lied to so much, they no longer know who to believe. Timothy Leary was a crappy role model in the 1970s, but today we have so many more crappy role models; they are easier to find and harder to avoid. Still, the lie is the problem today as it was in the 1970s.

Find the Truth and you will understand life so much better. Pick your role model carefully. Jesus never lied to us. Jesus holds one standard for everyone, one that cannot be manipulated to suit yourself (as your own standard can). Find Him. Follow Him. His followers might let you down at times, but He won’t.

Revival Today

Where is the Jesus Revolution of today? Where can it be found?

Change can happen at any time for any individual. Revival is always present: in your neighborhood, your local church, your school, your community–if you take the time to look for it. What you need may be in the Bible or in a book on Amazon or even on a website–if you only take the time to look.

Let’s look also at three notable examples from the last couple of months.

During last month’s Super Bowl several “Jesus Gets Us” ads were aired; there were a total of seven ads created in all.

Like the Jesus Revolution movie, the commercials lack a harsh edge. I sense the commercials go out of the way to be inclusive and inoffensive. There is no righteous tone and no talk of controversial contemporary issues. There isn’t even an emphasis on traditional Christian themes like the need for repentance, the existence of evil, or the divinity of Jesus. The message seems to be: “Take a look at Christianity again. It may not be what you think.”

While reaching out to unbelievers and exposing a side of Jesus previously unrecognized by many are good, people will not get the full notion of Jesus and Christianity from these short clips. I would have delivered a different message, one that may have offended some, but spoken more hard truths, one emphasized that Jesus who, while relatable to all of us, is not like us in all ways (He is fully man and fully God). The problem of our day is that too many churches today have watered down Christianity in order to appeal to more and grow the flock. We need a bit more truth in advertising. Loving your enemy and turning the other cheek are hard messages, not at all easy.

Catholic Bishop Robert Baron ( notes it is difficult to find two consecutive Bible pages which do not mention sin. We should emphasize that sin enslaves us. Sin is the cause of pain and suffering. We all need to recognize our sins, repent of our sins, and attempt to overcome sin.

Our sinner’s souls are given over to producing fortifications to protect the ego and monuments to trumpet its prominence. This enslavement of our best to our worst is sin. Bishop Robert Baron, the Strangest Way.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” Romans 7:15 

One channel media criticizes every Christian message, whether watered down or not. CNN can’t find fault in the “Jesus Gets Us” clips themselves, but still they attempt to diminish the message: “The campaign has connections to anti-LGBT and anti-abortion laws” (

Yes, of course. We hear the same unsubstantiated lie we always get from them. Therefore, why should Christians water down the message when the criticism comes in any case? In the end, the “Jesus Gets Us” messages are a good start but incomplete. I hope the campaign continues, but increases the challenge for non-believers, and does not shrink from criticisms of the one-channel media (that defiance is, in fact, the essence of “turning the other cheek”). Christianity is the path to fulfillment and everlasting life not necessarily the path to happiness so many are looking for.


Last month, there was a revival at Asbury theological seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Twenty students stayed after an evening service to pray a bit longer and then for twelve days they continued worshipping, 24 by 7. People heard of it and came from all over to participate. What made this unique was the spontaneity coming from students, not staff, not outside organizers.

These students have chosen hiddenness and simplicity, selfless hospitality, and a relentless hunger for Jesus. I know this gives me hope for the future, and it should give you hope as well.

Was it real? Was it the start of something that will spread? Should we get excited about it? Yes. Why not? We don’t know what this particular event will lead to, but nothing short of a full-blown revival will save our country from the destructive (i.e. demonic) path it is currently on. Pray for revival to continue. Get involved and encourage it in your community.

I end with one more example of hope. I had lost all faith in Democrats. They increasingly seem the anti-religious party. I judge them by their fruit and the fruit is just awful. So, I was shocked, but nonetheless heartened tremendously, to hear these words from NYC mayor, Eric Adams.


Mayor Adams has done little to impress me as an executive, but his words on faith are outstanding and summarize my own views completely.  I thought such a defense of faith from a Democrat was no longer possible, but Adam’s unashamed defense of faith is wonderful. I am so glad to be wrong on this account. I can’t tell if he is being genuine, but his words are full of hope and common sense.

State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.

Yes, it’s a wonderful analogy. I agree whole-heartedly.

I cannot separate my belief because I am an elected official.

Yes, this is essential. We cannot put our faith on the shelf when acting in our official capacity. If your faith doesn’t guide all you do, it’s not genuine. Many Republicans have expressed this same sentiment but have been compared to Hitler or Mussolini because of it. Adams is, at least, given some grudging credibility when he says it.

Following his speech, CNN’s Dana Bash tries to put him on the defensive, but Adams responds perfectly. A man who genuinely believes as Adams says he does will get many policies right. I am certain of that. We need more public figures, Left and Right, to speak this way and to follow through with action on these beliefs.

I conclude from these recent examples that the Word is seeping out. It will continue to seep out. In fact, it has never stopped seeping and will never stop. The Romans publicly executed the first Christians, yet Rome became the seat of the Christian Church a few hundred years later. What an ironic twist of fate so many today fail to notice.

I told my kids this when they were younger: if you knew ahead of time which team will win the game, which side would you join? Well, God has already won the battle between good and evil. The only question is: which side will we join? I can’t understand why anyone would want to join the losing side.


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