DAY 16: #40DaysOfReflection on Christ Presence ~ Conversion:
“It’s not something to explain,
It’s something to experience.”
Chuck Smith, Jesus Revolution
Conversion is really an experience of mystical Awakening, it is not just a one time deal—though our initial Calling to Christ is momentous, and life changing. Our inner conversion is where we are won over; again, and again, and again through our development of Trust in the Holy Spirit. It is truly a melting of “the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence.” We intimately exude the “Good News” of Love shared in the gospels.
I had the Grace of one such heart opening watching the Jesus Revolution (2023) movie today. When Lonnie the colorful Jesus like hippie asks Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel’s grey, square minister: What would it take for you to be desperate? My great appreciation about all who threw themselves at Jesus’ feet! The aging pastor recognizes the Spirit speaking, and realizes his doors have become shut. The rest of the first act of the movie is an inspired “opening” to the immediacy of salvation as a reflection of Chuck’s own depth of faith.
Kelsey Grammar’s performance is stellar as the humbled pastor with an empty 50’s church swarmed by the flower children of the 60’s desiring to hear “The Good News” Jesus spoke of.
I was filled with such an expansive experience of Christ Presence in the formerly pompous intellectual Fraizer star’s disarming performance, that I knew I was watching a true convert!
“It’s really uplifting. It’s a good movie,” Grammer says. “My wife and I saw it together. She was just dissolved in tears and said, ‘It’s the best thing you’ve ever done.’ Grammer himself was raised in Christian Science and remembers the “Jesus movement” of the 1960s and ’70s. “They were energized and optimistic, and I thought that was a great thing to see,” said Grammer, 68 told USA Today.
In an interview promoting Jesus Revolution, the three-time Golden Globe and five-time Emmy winner said his faith got him through tough times:
“I’ve had hiccups. I’ve had some tragic times. I have wrestled with those and worked my way through them,” the 68-year-old told USA Today. “Sometimes rejecting faith, sometimes rejecting God even, in a period of being pretty angry about it. Like, ‘Where were you?’ That kind of thing. But I have come to terms with it and have found great peace in my faith and in Jesus. It’s not cavalier. Jesus made a difference in my life. That’s not anything I’ll apologize for,” he added.
In fact Kelsey Grammar had been sitting at home a few years ago feeling he would like—not just another good role but a part in something that mattered, and would make a difference. The next day the Jesus Revolution script was delivered for him to read!
The film depicts the true story of a street minister (Lonnie Frisbee), and a new convert (Greg Laurie), whose Holy Encounter with renewed Calvary Chapel pastor (Chuck Smith) helps the minister to spread the Christian movement across the US in the 1960s and 1970s. The theme of evangelization is strong in the movie with seekers intent on questioning everything who evolve from the drop out / drug culture of Timothy Leary to tune in with Christ. The plot of the movie is retold from the point of view of the journalist writing the article which resulted in a Time magazine story called: The Jesus Revolution. Complete with a psychedelic Jesus cover!
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world.
—Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
I would share mostly the first two thirds of this movie. Keeping the inspiration, calling, and conversion and the ensuing personality clashes of the second act which offer valuable lessons when one becomes too identified as a “personality” bringer of The Message rather than the message and the messenger humbly being one movement.
Take his blessing,
and feel how your heart is lifted
and your fear released.
Do not hold on to it, nor onto him.
He is a Son of God, along with you.
He is no jailer, but a messenger of Christ.
Be this to him, that you may see him thus.
The third act, despite it’s romantic elements is vibrationally a dry husk as it gets into church politics and hierarchies. There are acts of generosity, and leaps of faith, but it never rises to the mystical qualities of the beginning. The dip invites us to forgo man made structures designed expressly for proselytizing which inevitably drain the Spirit due to their focus on outcomes in form, and numbers.
Teaching is but a call to witnesses
to attest to what you believe.
It is a method of conversion.
This is not done by words alone.
Any situation must be to you a chance
to teach others what you are,
and what they are to you.
No more than that,
but also never less.
Better to depart high in the fact that the, “Truth is simple” as Chuck’s wife reminds him. And that those seeking Christ are already looking. Whatever our ministry assignments, roles and backdrops, it is our visibility as disciples of Jesus in our daily devotion that draws. That humble demonstration of Christ’s Presence in every moment Calls us all to be “found” at Home in Heaven where we have never left.
I am a messenger of God,
directed by His Voice,
sustained by Him in love,
and held forever quiet and
at peace within His loving Arms.
Each heartbeat calls His Name,
and every one is answered by His Voice,
assuring me I am at home in Him.
Let me attend Your Answer, not my own.
Father, my heart is beating in
the peace the Heart of Love created.
It is there and only there that I can be at home.
—A Course in Miracles (W-267.1:6–2:3)