God's forever family : the Jesus People movement in America, 1966-1977
The Jesus People movement arose in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Achieving its initial strength in California, this unique combination of the hippie counterculture and evangelical Christianity eventually spread to many parts of the country and briefly attracted a great deal of contemporary media and scholarly attention. Fading from the cultural spotlight rather quickly and eventually disappearing in the late 1970s, little attention was paid to the Jesus People in subsequent decades as both scholars of American religion and culture tended to either overlook the movement, or dismiss it entirely. This project argues that a closer re-examination of the entirety of the Jesus People phenomena--and not just its transitory period of 'California-heavy' media popularity--reveals that it was one of the most significant national religious movements of the postwar period. The Jesus People impacted both great numbers of young people in the counterculture as well as many young evangelical church youth who adopted the Jesus People persona and made it their own. Just as the lives of a significant number of 'Baby Boomers' were shaped by the counterculture, so the Jesus People movement was another of the major formative forces among American youth who came of age in the late 1960s and 1970s. Moreover, its influence remained significant within the American evangelical subculture in the decades that followed. Not only did burgeoning new groups such as the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard movements originate in the movement, but the Jesus People paved the way for the huge 'Contemporary Christian Music industry' and signalled a new relaxed relationship between evangelicalism and youth culture. Upon reexamination, it is clear that the Jesus People movement played an important role in the resurgence of American evangelicalism in the late twentieth and early twentyfirst centuries.