The Jesus Freak Movement

Dr. Tom Kersen takes us back to the 1970s and the Jesus Freak movement. According to Kersen, the movement was “primarily a West Coast phenomena linked to Children of God which many people felt was a cult. Duane Pederson was a Greenville native and a JF organizer when he moved out to Hollywood. Two JF’rs would establish Miracle House, a sanctuary for runaways and drug abusers, in Jackson in late 1970. There was also The Holy Order of MANS (HOMS). HOMS would establish an order in Jackson in 1971. That year “The Jesus Freaks” by Jess Moody (1971) and “Jesus People” by Duane Pederson (1971) were two of many books published about Jesus Freaks.

“Remember “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin? The song was recorded in August 1971 and released in February of 1972. The other day I heard the song again. The verse “Jesus freaks/Out in the street/Handing tickets out for God” always struck a chord with me. It was also the time of Jesus Christ Superstar, Ian Gillian’s “Gethsemane” – I would see Ted Neely and others perform it many years later – and Godspell.”

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