You Say You Want a Revolution?

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll feel like you’re reliving your teen years while watching the movie Jesus Revolution. I certainly did. The movie recounts the true story of the Jesus movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This blog isn’t about the movie, so much as it is about my reaction to it. I was moved to tears more than once. I felt excitement, sadness, and a sense of nostalgia. After processing this for a couple of days, I’ve seen how much I yearn to be part of something like this again. It was a time of raw honesty, love, peace, and, most importantly, a moving of God’s spirit.

The music in the movie ranged from Janis Joplin (secular rock) to Love Song (Christian rock) and was amazing! The Jesus movement grew out of the hippie culture. It was counter-cultural. When I was a teenager, I went to a small country church where the pastor was an intellectual with a heart for youth. He opened a coffeehouse in a neighboring town and brought in bands on the weekends. I loved being there and went every chance I got. My soul came alive in this atmosphere, and I felt truly loved and accepted. The memories that came up as I watched the movie were powerful, especially the memories of the pastor who headed the coffeehouse ministry. It moved me to tears. Unfortunately, this pastor died from COVID, but we remained friends until the day he died. I thought about how much he would have enjoyed this movie.

My tears during the movie were about more than memories, though. They were also about my longing for the world to be different; for people to start loving each other again. It’s easy to forget about the negative things associated with positive memories, and it’s unrealistic to think that anything has been, or ever will be, perfect. But that’s okay. Most of us have memories of experiences that continue to affect us in the present. The challenge is in how and how much we allow ourselves to be involved. Maybe something has happened to you that was traumatizing, and you have allowed that experience to become your identity. It’s hard to break free from those types of memories. Maybe the memory is positive, like my Jesus Revolution experience. But positive memories can become our identity, as well. What if I judge every spiritual experience through a Jesus Revolution lens? I’m guessing I’ll feel like some things aren’t good enough if they don’t reflect my past experiences.

I believe that God and our relationship to God is our true identity. As a Christian, Jesus is my identity. That sounds super spiritual, doesn’t it? But it simply means that by modeling myself after Jesus (compassionate, loving, and reaching out to the marginalized people in my community), past experiences become memories rather than becoming my entire identity. So what I’m saying is this:

Live your life with meaning, trusting that God will direct your path.

Learn to let go of your self-created identity as you lean more and more into the reality of your life.

Welcome every experience, learn from every experience, and live in the present moment.

Breathe and experience peace.

© 2023, Deborah Bray Haddock

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