Hippies aren’t always popular among evangelical Christians. Mark Driscoll has famously said: “Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. […] I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” I do agree that Jesus wouldn’t shop shoes or be a Buddhist, but He surely would be able to beat up. In fact, that’s what they actually did with Him on Easter.
The hippie movement emerged in the 60’s and 70’s in the United States and spread quickly to Europe and other parts of the world. It was a youth movement with international influences that emphasized love, peace and understanding, freedom and environmentalism, music, sex and drugs. It was influenced by eastern religions and sparked both new age occultism and the sexual revolution. These latter bits make it understandable why Dricoll doesn’t like hippies very much.
However, in the early 70’s thousands of hippies were saved in what is simply called the Jesus Movement, or the Jesus People Revival. They protested against both drugs and occultism, saying that we should “get high on Jesus” and be baptized in the Holy Spirit instead, but they preserved the hippie passion for peace, justice and a simple lifestyle. Over 100 000 Jesus hippies lived together in communal houses, they were preaching the Gospel in the streets and on the beaches, and many miracles happened as they prayed for the sick and prophesied.
Not everyone liked them though. Cessationist pastor John MacArthur, who thinks that most people in the global charismatic movement are possessed by demons, have said that the Jesus People were “informal, barefoot, beach, drug-induced kind of young people that told the church how we should act. Hymns went out. Suits went out. For the first time in the history of the church, the conduct of the church was conformed in a subculture that was formed on LSD”. This is, however, entirely wrong.
Jesus neither had a suit nor hymns. He had a nomadic church with His disciples that went around on the beaches, in the countrysides and on the streets, healing the sick, raising the dead, preaching the Gospel and helping the widows and orphans. Jesus emphasized compassion, enemy love, economic equality and freedom from religious bondage. He criticized the evange… sorry, pharisees for being judgemental and not realizing that the core command of the Word of God was love.
When we look at the early Christians, we see that they were pacifists, communists and charismatics. These three ingredients are resurrected over and over again in church history, among the monks and nuns, among the Waldensians and Anabaptists, among the Pentecostals and Jesus Hippies. They’re all part of the biblical movement that wants to combine non-violence, community of goods and signs and wonders. This is not a subculture formed on LSD, it’s a prophetic culture formed on the Holy Ghost!