A Place to Belong
Communes sprang up where evryone
shared everything, and returned to the simple life.We tilled
the soil and planted crops, scraping at he dirt and scratching
out a living. We built simple houses and started families
with varying degrees of propriety.The quiet life,the simple
life, the life of love and pease was our goal.
Is there such a place where we can find all that our hearts
long for — to live together in peace? If this place has
been lost, can it ever be found again? If the true Holy
Spirit of the One who created us could be communicated to
us today, we could experience true life, true community.
Yet since no one has “found it” in Christianity,
where should we turn? Many have boasted for a while that
they “found it” in their little utopias — love
and acceptance. They say, “We share everything. I
matter to people, not for what I’ve got, but for who
I am. I’m wanted, needed, appreciated and never have
been so happy.” Then a few days later they die of
an overdose or get burned out trying to live together and
instead become cynical, bitter, and hopelessly divided.
We fried our brains, wrecked our emotions, and did irreparable
damage to our consciences trying to come together because
the Christian Church did not provide the life of love and
unity we needed. Since Christianity failed, drugs, sex,
and rock & roll were the only hope we had.
“If by being Christians, we must live as Christians
live, then we will not be Christians at all,” we said.
But if we could have had the Spirit of their Christ with
his promises and the life of his first followers that was
recorded to have been in the beginning, then we would have
All of those first disciples who believed were of one
heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that any of
his belongings were his own, but all things were common
property to them. There was not a needy person among them
because all who were owners of land or houses would sell
them (unless they were needed by the community for living
space or farming) and bring the proceeds from the sales,
and give it to the apostles so that they could distribute
it to each individual or household, as anyone had need.
They were continually devoting themselves to the teaching
of the apostles, to fellowship with each other, and daily
they ate their meals together always full of joy and celebration.
The result was that the disciples’ lives affected
all those around them to the point that every day new people
were believing, giving up their lives to Yahshua, and being
rescued from the abnormal society of their day.
But since Christianity, which boasts of being the church
of the living God, has proven that they have not obtained
this life, we cannot accept their Jesus with his empty promises.
Neither can we be sure he came in the flesh without seeing
unity in his followers. How can we even know Acts 2 and
4 is not a myth? We read somewhere one time in the New Testament
that Christ’s followers would be one, and that the
world would believe that the Son did actually come, if this
unity really happened.
But since it hasn’t, that is the reason we chose
Haight-Ashbury over our parents’ miserable Christian
lives, full of selfishness and greed. They could not get
along with anyone, except a few in their own denomination,
much less those who were of another brand. And many of our
own parents were deacons, Sunday school teachers, and on
the board of directors!
So what about the Christ of Christianity? Should we scoff
in his face since he couldn’t save us like the preacher
said? If we had walked down the aisle at a Billy Graham
Crusade, would we have ended up like all the rest, without
a hint of the oneness with others that was promised to all
who would follow him? If we did give our lives to him,
a myth, what then?
So now, all these years later, we’re looking for
another Movement to come along. We’ve tried everything
and we’ve gone everywhere. We’re still looking
for that precious so-called elusive dream called “Brotherhood”
— that strange, indefinable something that makes men of
all conceivable differences become one in love. What a noble
search! What a thrilling objective and a wholesale condemnation
of a materialistic, selfish Jesus! And what a slap in the
face for all of Christianity today ał every pastor, every
elder, evangelist and healer, deacon and Sunday school teacher,
and whoever else talks about love and doesn’t deliver
the goods! So don’t tell us of your Jesus who died
on a cross to save sinners unless you can show us who he
has saved lately that actually lives by his teachings! Don’t
talk of a true brotherhood found in Christ unless you can
show us where we can find it. Otherwise it’s just
a fantastic, unreal myth. So since the life Christianity
promises is just a myth, we must go on until we find our
dream come true.
Or maybe there is a way we can go back in time to a place
that we once read about in an ancient manuscript, the place
where the amazing community life of Acts 2 and 4 were being
practiced. But since that is impossible, what can we do?
What if we never find that life we read about? Who will
judge us guilty enough for the sea of fire if we don’t
accept the Christ of Christianity? Will not the whole of
Christianity go there before us? Will we not get to heaven
Yes, utopia means no place, but so does a Jesus and a
church today called Christianity. It is no place, but preached
as a utopia of sweet fellowship and joy, one with another.
It promises much, but delivers nothing. Sir Thomas More’s
island is much more promising than Christianity’s
many independent islands.
That’s why Haight-Ashbury was a valid alternative
to Christianity thirty-five years ago. But both have been
destroyed by greed and selfishness, and divided beyond redemption.
Where have all the flowers gone? Have they not gone to the
funeral of Christianity today? Are they not right up there
on the altar under the podium where the biggest propaganda
of false promises ever heard is being proclaimed today?
They gave us more talk and more lies than communism or any
politician we’ve every heard. They lied to us all
our lives. They left us without hope. It was a different
gospel, another Jesus, a different spirit.
That’s why we left and headed for San Francisco,
or to the hills, or to Woodstock. That’s why we went
wherever someone would offer us a little hope, a little
kindness, a little love, where we could find clothing and
shelter and daily food; where we would not be told, “go
your way and be warm and well fed;” where we could
find people who could give us what we needed. We were really
looking for hope, not dope, or myths, or fantasies. That’s
why we headed East into mysticism, I Ching, and Zen. That’s
why we turned to Tarot cards, and to following the Beatles,
especially when they took off to India. There they sat at
the feet of their favorite guru, clad in full-length white
robes, long-haired and garlanded, as far from Christianity
today as possible. Jane Fonda, the darling of the activists,
even made her pilgrimage. Mia Farrow, after her divorce
from Franky, headed East too. It was the in thing.
But it ended like everything else — in disappointment;
and worst of all, compromise. We just weren’t stoned
enough. Even Stephen couldn’t get us stoned enough
to stick together down on The Farm in Tennessee. Some say
it was not important that the dream of the Movement didn’t
come true. They say that the experience of trying was all
that mattered because it taught us what we never knew before.
But we all know that’s a cop out. If that hope and
that dream of human beings from every race, the strong and
the weak, the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate,
living together in true unity, loving one another and constantly
striving for justice in their midst is not possible, then
everything we say and everything we do is meaningless. In
reality, we haven’t learned anything of value. All
of our tripping, protesting, meditating, and getting back
to the land led us nowhere.
Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-34
2 Corinthians 11:4