Monday, November 19, 2007

Where ar they Now?

When the Little Children Came to Him

I often think about our friends from the Jesus Movement and wonder what happened to them. Then, when Deb Smith, one of the midwives of the Movement, died, dozens of them contacted the blog set up to pray for her and many returned to honor her and Tom at the Celebration of the Resurrection.

It seems to me that a very large percentage of the people who were touched deeply by the Lord back then have remained faithful to Him and have tried to follow His ways. Some have fallen by the wayside but that is a minority.

Quite a few of our friends have been in Helping Ministries of one kind or another. Some chose a pastoral or teaching ministry while others became missionaries and worship leaders. It seems that not a few heard the call into counseling and healing ministries. That was always a focus in the old days and it excited us.

This listing and conversations reveal that almost everyone of the Jesus Community caught a lot of compassion from direct contact with the Spirit or from His word. One man told me, "I blame Tom Smith for my lifelong commitment to love and mercy. He pounded that message into our heads at every service."

No matter what career these folks have chosen, and the variety is almost endless, a streak of interest in helping the poor and downtrodden is usually present in their lives. When I read that a reporter has discovered for the very first time that "Evangelical Christians have just recently started being interested in issues other than abortion," I want to write a letter to the editor.

Ministry to the poor has ALWAYS been central to the lives of the Jesus People. It is not a new thing but a constant factor and a deep one. It is new to the political writers but not to us.

The same can be said for our interest in caring for creation. We have always been interested in what God made. We are also interested in and committed to life because God gives it. These same values continue to resonate with aging Boomers and Builders.

However, we are also skeptical of too much governmental intrusion. We saw what happened at Kent State when the government tried to slap down a student protest. By and large we want to see individuals care for other individuals and we volunteer to help people and donate to help people. Maybe it is our individualism that seems suspicious of big government. We came to Christ individually and personally and we like it that way.

The Jesus People have always been special to me and special to the Lord and His heart for hurting people. Now is the time for these Seasoned Believers to Re fire and not Retire. We need another Movement.


paula clare said...

Hi Gary,
I was on the tail end of the boomer generation...(born in 1957) so the unrest and changes during the 60s are but a childhood memory. I remember watching on TV news the Kent State Riots, President Kennedy's assassination,and the unrest on the Indian Reservations in the west. I also remember hippies and "flower children" and thought them to be an interesting anomaly in society...and not much more.

THEN I met several of the "Jesus People" and began reading books by David Wilkerson...WOW! Now THESE were radicals I could relate to! Even as a young child and teenager I remember thinking, "If I could incorporate the love and peace of the hippies and flower children, into my life as a Jesus Person, THAT would be a lifestyle I could live with!" My friends in the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans tell me this is when I first began to hear the faint whisper of my calling to follow Jesus by walking in the little way of Francis of Assisi.

Now, quickly approaching the tender age of 50, I find I am back at that same place again...wanting to incorporate my love for people and the earth into a lifestyle lived for Jesus Christ! WHO KNEW being a radical for Jesus could be so much fun?!?!

Gary Sweeten said...

The Lord did a great thing back in the day. We said daily that, "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will raise up a standard" and that is what happened. Never have I seen or heard of a more rebellious, sexually active, doped up and angry generation in American history. But, there was a revival of enormous size also occurring at the same time.

Groups of faculty, counselors and administrators met for prayer and fellowship as the rioters attacked and the picketers walked the streets. Men and women cried out to God to pour out His Spirit on the campus and He did.

Where are they now? Most of the faculty and staff are retired from teaching but many are doing what they can to minister to the poor, preach the gospel and strengthen their churches. That which God birthed 40 years ago is maturing into the Awakening that this world so desperately needs today.