by Mary Jackson, World Magazine
This year marks the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love — a summer that quickly turned into a winter of discontent, rife with drug overdoses, sexually transmitted diseases, and other miseries. The deteriorating Haight-Ashbury scene proved fertile ground for the Jesus Movement, as disillusioned hippies professed faith in Christ. Many, now old, remember those weird and wonderful days.
In 1966, Rick Sacks was 18, fresh out of the Army, and disgusted with the Vietnam War. He left behind his wealthy Jewish family in Boston and moved to San Francisco “with a whole lot of dreams about a new society.” He spent his days listening to spiritual gurus, feeding people in Golden Gate Park, working for a Haight-Ashbury free store, and “sharing” psychedelic drugs. But he was discouraged: “I couldn’t find a way past the selfishness and greed.”
At a storefront Christian coffeehouse serving soup, doughnuts, and the New Testament, two “straight-looking” men in bow ties told a barefoot Sacks about Jesus. He knelt on a piano bench and asked Jesus to forgive his past and give him a new future. Soon he was telling his friends about his faith.
Ted Wise was a drug-using sailmaker who said he encountered Christ during an LSD trip. After his conversion, he began attending Mill Valley Baptist Church, where his wife and two children already went. He invited Rick Sacks and other hippies to come. Although some conservative congregants didn’t like the hippies, the Baptist pastor took this growing group of converts under his wing.
© 2017 World News Group