Sally Thomas, who is a pretty groovy homeschooling mom and poet, writes a review of Preston Shires' recent book HIPPIES OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT in which she discusses what happened to many of those hippies-turned-evangelists of the seventies. Where are they now?
"Their conversions to Bible-believing Christianity were not the sort to rejoice the hearts of suburban, middle-class parents. The intelligence that one’s runaway daughter had given her life to Christ, been baptized in a bathtub, and taken up residence with a bunch of barefoot, long-haired, guitar-strumming, tongues-speaking twenty-year-olds in a place called Maranatha House was only marginally less disturbing to the average Methodist mother than the news that the same daughter had moved in with a professional tabla drummer and changed her name to Windflower."
When the hippies turned "from evangelizing the street to evangelizing the Church", as Thomas puts it, something not so pretty happened, in retrospect.
"...Not surprisingly, this ...was light on bishops and heavy on extemporaneous prayer, direct interventions of the Holy Spirit, and beanbag chairs. Given a certain orientation toward an emotive, experiential, eschatological, not to say hallucinogenic flavor of Christianity, heavy on baptisms in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, and anticipating the imminent Rapture, the majority of those who did integrate into churches gravitated toward churches with a greater degree of innate ecclesial fluidity: Pentecostal, charismatic, and evangelical. But wherever they went in those heady days, they remade the Church in their image."
My friend pastor Bill Mack likes to tell the story of attending his first church as a young adult, a pentecostal affair in which he worked, if memory serves, as a janitor. He began to notice there weren't any old people in the church. Upon being asked about this, a member shrugged, "Ah, after awhile they realize they just can't keep up anymore."