Tuesday, February 28, 2023

You Say You Want a Jesus Revolution

I’m marginally attached enough to evangelicalism through family that I’ve been hearing a lot of radio ads about the so-called “Jesus Revolution.” And sure, the Jesus Movement itself was pretty cool with all the communes and the actual, you know, living out of Jesus’ teachings (because, surprisingly enough, Jesus was a proto-hippy – I mean, “love your enemies?”).

But I’m reluctant to see the movie.

Because from what I’ve read online, it feels like another evangelical Trojan Horse. Greg Laurie, who apparently is the hero of the movie – and, fair enough, I guess if you write the book it’s okay to be the hero – even mentions that he hopes it’s a way to stuff Millennials and Zoomers back into the evangelical box start a new Jesus Movement among Millennials and Zoomers.

And that’s kind of the problem.

Because what the original Jesus Movement did was take a bunch of idealistic kids who saw Jesus and said “lets be like that,” and turned them into a bunch of culture warriors who decided that it was more important to be in power than it was to follow the hippy-dippy Jesus of their youth.

And then there’s the very troubling airbrushing out of the story of Lonnie Frisbee, a bisexual, theologically non-“evangelically orthodox” guy without whom much of evangelicalism’s late-20th century success probably would not have occurred. I mean, for the love of God, the guy was instrumental in launching not one, but two evangelical church movements.

Let that sink in. If you take evangelical theology seriously, which I don’t, but humor me here, God used a gay man who didn’t believe all the right things to start a revival among a group of disenchanted post-Christians.

And if you don’t have a particularly evangelical theology, you can still admire the fact that large numbers of people saw Christ through Lonnie Frisbee – did I mention he was gay and didn’t believe all the “right things” – and decided that Jesus’ way was a life they wanted to live.

It’s almost like you can be Christ-like and gay. You know, you don’t have to be something you aren’t to follow God? But that’s what all those backslidden Progressive Christians say so it can’t be right, amiright?

One would think that at some point that might cause some self-reflection among evangelicals, but fifty years of history would show that one would be mistaken.

But Kelsey Grammer is cool and I find it funny that he’s playing a 40-year old Chuck Smith and the 40-year-old Jesus guy is playing 20-year old Lonnie Frisbee so I may still see it.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Remember those “He Gets Us” ads? You know, the ones that assume that the problem is that Jesus needs a PR campaign? Never mind the fact that his bad PR basically comes from his most well-known followers. Well, it looks like the PR campaign boils down to the standard evangelical bait and switch*:

“He Gets Us is a subsidiary of the Servant Foundation, a Kansas-based charity also known as The Signatry that says it “exists to inspire and facilitate revolutionary, biblical generosity.”

Between 2018 and 2020, the Servant Foundation donated more than $50 million to the Alliance Defending Freedom — a nonprofit that’s led big policy fights over abortion and nondiscrimination laws at the Supreme Court and in states around the country. The nonprofit is designated as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

One of the primary things that drove me out of evangelicalism was all of the fine print at the end of the contract:

  • God Loves You… so much that he will send you to a hell of eternal conscious torment if you don’t believe the doctrines I am teaching you.
  • For God so Loved the World… except the gays, you know, because The Bible Is Clear that they are an abomination.
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor Free, for all are one in Christ Jesus… except for those woke people. Why can’t they just accept that white Jesus loves them and just be more like us?
  • All Are Welcome… but only as long as you don’t ask too many questions, that you sign on to our statement of faith, and that you don’t speak up too much about ways you disagree with us.

I could go on, but I won’t. But my main point is that it’s totally unsurprising that an evangelical group would put forth a message of love and acceptance while at the same time working to exclude and other large numbers of people.

It’s kind of what they do.

* For those already saying, “Jacobin is just one of those leftist woke publications so what they have to say doesn’t count,” well, they have the receipts.