The Alternative Jesus: Psychedelic Christ

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The Jesus Revolution

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the baptized were young, tanned and casual in cut-off blue jeans, pullovers and even an occasional bikini. A freshly dunked teenager, water streaming from her tie-dyed shirt, threw her arms around a woman and cried, "Mother, I love you!" A teen-age drug user who had been suffering from recurring unscheduled trips suddenly screamed, "My flashbacks are gone!" As the baptisms ended, the crowd slowly climbed a narrow stairway up the cliff, singing a moving Lord's Prayer in the twilight.

> At Novato, Calif., the new Solid Rock house is perhaps typical of the communal Christian houses. Though none is quite the same as another, they all insist that premarital sex and drugs are out, and many have quite strict rules: up early, to bed by ten or eleven, assigned chores, a certain number of mandatory Bible readings or prayer gatherings. Yet they generally are happy places. "It is a gentle place, this Solid Rock," reports TIME Correspondent Karsten Prager. "The voices are quiet, the words that recur are 'love' and 'blessing' and 'the Lord' and 'sharing' and 'peace' and 'brothers and sisters.'" Twelve "brothers and sisters" live in Solid Rock, six men, four women, two babies, the children of unmarried mothers. The men of the commune work at house painting and construction to meet the bills, but the main business of the house is to order the lives within it around Christ. One of the mothers describes the success of that effort simply: "When I first came to the house, I didn't know Jesus. But it turned out that I grew. I guess I trust now."

TV and Grass

The path to the movement, in or out of communes, is often littered with drugs. The Way, an 18-year-old, offbeat and minor theological group now virtually taken over and greatly expanded by the Jesus People, has two staunch supporters in Wichita, Kans.: prominent Lawyer Dale Fair and his wife, who got involved when a Way evangelist helped their daughter off drugs. One of the San Francisco pioneers, Ted Wise, has been so successful with drug cures that he now has a new clinic in Menlo Park. Washington, D.C., movement leader Denny Flanders tells drug users: "You can use drugs after Jesus, but you won't need them. If you become Christians, this is what has to happen." Convert Connie Sue McCartney, 21, of Louisiana, describes how "the devil came to me" and tempted her to return to speed. She had kept some in hand just in case, but she was up to the temptation: "I took it, flushed it down the John in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost." Former Houston Speed Freak Terry Vincent says: "Man, God turned me around from the darkness to the light. That's all I know. That is all I want to know."

Drug cures are not the only attraction for conversion. There are a disproportionate number of Roman Catholics among the Jesus People, attracted by the movement's direct approach to Christ. Many Jews have also joined, claiming that they are not quitting but fulfilling their Judaism. Few spiritual Odysseys, though, are as circuitous as that of Christopher Pike, 21, the younger son of the late Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike. In 1967 he began combining marijuana highs with nonstop television watching: "TV and grass, that was my god," he says. Then came acid,

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