Fifty years ago this month, I was beginning my final semester at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and getting ready to stay for two weeks after graduation to record my first album with players from the Old Town School of Folk Music in nearby downtown Chicago. The new record was published the following September, 1969, by a Catholic recording company, F.E.L. Publications and it became part of the sound track for a spiritual revolution.

The reason it was a Catholic company was because the evangelical Christian record companies were not yet ready to bring out contemporary Christian music — not for another year at least. Why the Catholics? The Catholic church was experiencing a youth renaissance due to the rise of very popular folk masses. Priests and nuns took up guitars, and because the Vatican had recently approved of English liturgy in churches, new folk music about faith was springing up everywhere. Thus the Catholics were hungry for material. The new masses were dubbed “folk masses” and wherever they sprang up young people flocked to church. Everyone has their own theory for when and where the Jesus Movement started, but I believe it was first evidenced in the folk masses of the Catholic Church. Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act movies would come years later, but they captured, in many ways, what was going on all over the country in 1969.

So are we engaging in a look back for nostalgia’s sake? By no means. There is no value in looking back except in order to bring forward that which is relevant to today, and our own future, and in this case, there is much. Especially when you think in terms of the proven and documented connection between boomers and millennials. We know this because it has come up in social research and it’s been proven by the fact that many millennials come to our site, though we are largely boomer-supported. They find something real with us — something that rings true in their own understanding of spiritual reality. The things we talk about — like the Sermon on the Mount, the Twelve Steps, the book of Acts, the Red Letter Christians, and the centrality of Jesus — all ring true with millennials. And the biggest connection is the fact that most millennials are not attending church, yet they are finding a level of commonality with us.

So we are going to focus, for the next few weeks, on some of the main characteristics of the Jesus Movement that we believe are a big part of where we are headed. In some ways we may be like Moses, spying out the land, looking into the new frontier, and if we are not able to pass in, we can encourage and inspire the generation that will.

To that end, we look for the next frontier to unify believers from various theological bents and denominational identities to drop their differences and unite around the centrality of Christ. It’s all about Jesus — not creeds, or dogmas, or moral doctrines — it’s all of us unified in Christ, and taught and instructed by the Holy Spirit. I’m thinking of one of the most influential leaders of the early Jesus Movement in the San Francisco Bay Area who was a man who came to Christ through a vision from God while on an acid trip, and who went off for months and studied his Bible with only the Holy Spirit to guide him, and when he finally turned up at a church that was embracing the movement, he spoke truth with unprecedented clarity through words and phrases we had never heard because he was not evangelically trained. He didn’t know how Christians talked. He just knew truth. That’s a paradigm-breaker for the future.

So look for people to be taught of the Holy Spirit, as we focus everything around Jesus as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the scriptures. What was important to Jesus? What were His priorities? Look for more on this tomorrow.


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10 Responses to 50

  1. Lance says:

    My son Calden, who you prayed for over the past 4 years; has been accepted to Wheaton College for Fall 2019 to study for his Masters degree in Church History. He is very excited and I am so thankful for your ministry and your prayers. He is doing well (still struggling some) and has advanced his understanding of himself and God’s will for his life. Thanks so much!

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    What’s important to Jesus in 2019? You’re right that only the Holy Spirit can answer. Leave it to us and we would fall back on our own stock answers. The world needs something better. Let’s pray for Spirit led people to arise in our churches and culture. Great Catch, John. I look forward to tomorrow.

  3. Gary Mintchell says:

    In 1969 I took a year before grad school to make some money. Wound up the only Protestant on the block teaching history and writing to 7th graders at a Catholic school. There I was introduced to Catholic folk music (Ray Repp, Sebastian Temple and others I’d have to look up). Changed my music life. Thanks for bringing a moment in time back to me. I loved that early Christian music, but later grew disenchanted with much of it.

    • John A Fagliano says:

      Growing up going to Catholic folk masses in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I never heard the names Sebastian Temple or Ray Repp but I sure knew their songs. Among my all time favorites are Temple’s “Prayer For Peace”, “How Great is Your Name”, and “The Living God” And from Repp, “Sons of God (hear His Holy Word)” “Forevermore” and “To Be Alive”.

  4. jwfisch says:

    Yes, I remember Ray and Sebastian. Ray was another F.E.L. artist. I’m surprised you weren’t introduced to my music as well. Maybe that didn’t get out there until a little later … 1970. You might have remembered “Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?” You might like the playlist on our new Music that Matters radio station. www.http://musicthatmattersradio.com It has a high concentration of early Christian music.

  5. “The undisciplined is a headache to himself and a heartache to others, and is unprepared to face the stern realities of life.” – Wheaton College Bulletin

    My apologies if I return to “Memory Lane” too often but the relevance between then and now is essentially the same; nothing has really separated the connection except for time (and maybe our attitude) – and time is in God’s control.

    So, returning to the Wayback Machine…
    Today’s Catch invokes in me memories of the two devoted and musically talented brothers: John-Michael and Terry Talbot, one a robed Catholic monk and the other a leather-wearing Christian “rocker” (by the standards back then).
    I don’t know how close they are these days but despite their outward appearances and, perhaps, some theological differences, they were (and are) related as brothers by blood and are still united as brothers in Christ.
    Maybe there’s a connection there for us Boomers, Millennials, Gen-Z’ers, and…

    Create in me a clean heart oh God
    Let me be like You in all my ways
    Give me Your strength
    Teach my Your song
    Shelter me in the shadow of Your wings
    For we are Your righteousness
    If we’ve died to ourselves
    And live through Your death
    Then we shall be born again
    To be blessed in your love

    P.S.: If you get a chance soon, listen to the song “One Faith” sung by Michael Card and John-Michael Talbot from their album: “Brother to Brother”.
    You’ll be blessed, stirred, and inspired!

    There is one faith, one hope, one baptism…


    • Sandie says:

      Love Michael Card’s music and books. We’ve covered Jesus Let Us Come To Know You, God’s Own Fool, The Final Word, The Nazarene, Celebrate The Child .Am now reading his Reflections on The Life of Christ again. Speaking of Brother To Brother, Scott Roley did a song by that name.

    • Instead of making you hunt for it, here is “One Faith” as sung by Michael Card and John-Michael Talbot. This is not from the 1996 “Brother to Brother” album but was recorded at a live performance by them in 2013. Enjoy…

      He is the good Shepherd
      He’s laid down his life for His sheep
      So out of many nations
      He’s gathered one fold and one faith

      And He has built His church
      On the rock foundation of faith
      On apostles and prophets
      Who shepherd the people in His place

      There is one faith, one hope, and one baptism
      One God and Father of all
      There is one church, one body, one life in the Spirit
      Now given so freely to all

      He gave to Simon Peter
      And to all of the twelve
      The keys of the Kingdom
      So darkness would never prevail

      But some of the shepherds
      Have pastured themselves on their sheep
      So He has come out against them
      And scattered His people of faith

      But there still is one faith, one hope, and one baptism
      One God and Father of all
      There is one church, one body, one life in the Spirit
      Now given so freely to all

      In good pasture
      He will shepherd His people
      On the mountain tops
      He feeds His sheep
      He will heal the poor and afflicted
      To the prisoner He brings release

      There is one faith, one hope, and one baptism
      One God and Father of all
      There is one church, one body, one life in the Spirit
      Now given so freely to all

      But He’ll not forsake His people
      He’ll claim His sheep for His own
      He’ll send out His Word to the nations
      Regather His people back home

      For He is the good Shepherd
      He’s laid down His life for His sheep
      So out of many nations
      He’s gathered one fold and one faith

      There is one faith, one hope, and one baptism
      One God and Father of all
      There is one church, one body, one life in the Spirit
      Now given so freely to all

      There is one faith, one hope, and one baptism
      One God and Father of all
      There is one church, one body, one life in the Spirit
      Now given so freely, give so freely to all….

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