They are the subject of a June 21, 1971 cover story of TIME Magazine titled “The Jesus Revolution.” “There was an unusual freshness on the morning of this movement, a happy atmosphere of hope and love with the usual insurgent enthusiasm,” the story gushes. “Their love seems more sincere than a slogan, deeper than the fast-fading feelings of flower children; what surprises the outsider is the incredible sense of joy they can express.”
That is the story and message of a new film, also called “Jesus Revolution,” based on a book by one of the leaders of the “Jesus freaks.” Greg Laurie. This film is not about some details, such as one of the characters real life homosexuality and history of substance abuse and instability. Nor does this film explore difficult questions about how baptismal cleansing does not necessarily lead to a perpetual “joyous state of hope and love.” Rather, it is a mildly told story that preaches to converts, who believe that evangelical Christianity is the perfect answer without considering that this particular form of worship may not be the answer for everyone.
Kelsey Grammer Chuck Smith, a minister in California who leads a traditional church named Calvary Chapel. Smith’s daughter persuades him to talk to the long-haired and possibly named Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie). At first certain that Frisbee was just an irresponsible hippie, Smith was impressed by his sincerity, humility, and dedication to the messages of Jesus about generosity and a spirit of welcome. Frisbee told Smith that there was an opportunity to reach the hippies because of all the things that worried him, their rejection of the values of their parents. Their experimentation with drugs was looking for “all the right things in all the wrong places.” He believed he could show them that the right place was God.
Smith took Frisbee and his followers to his home and to his church. When the parishioners complain about the new arrivals being dirty with no feet, the pastor does what Jesus did: he washes their feet. Some members of the church left in anger. Others were touched by the sincerity of the newcomers.
And there are many new ones. There were joyful mass baptisms in the Pacific Ocean. Smith’s promise was huge: “It doesn’t need to be explained. It is something to experience. What you see is a symbol of new life. Every doubt, every regret, all washed away forever. ”