The children of the '60s were seeking an alternative way of living, far from the Judeo-Christian traditions in which they were raised. That deep desire in everyone's heart to get back to a life that respects, not just the earth and its resources, but the people of the earth, is exactly what the community of believers was supposed to be. The first century communities were meant to be the light of life, the light of the world.1 Instead, they deteriorated into the dead institution of Christianity which is not what it boasts to be. This is why the children of the '60s are still craving a life that produces love.
Back in the '60s communes sprang up where everyone shared everything, simply looking for love. We tilled the soil and planted crops, scraping at the dirt, and scratching out a living. We built simple houses and started families. A quiet simple life of love and peace was our goal. But when our best friend or lover died of an overdose, or we got burned out trying to live together, our little utopias faded away and we were a little worn and torn by the wear. As a generation, we remain obsessed with searching for the alternative that works — be it intentional community, organic diet, or whatever you are willing to try and trust — one more time. The institution of Christianity did not provide the life of love and unity that it promised. It should have. It would have if it were true.2 We needed it desperately. Instead we took hope in drugs, sex, and rock & roll, frying our brains, wrecking our emotions, and doing irreparable damage to our consciences in the process.
Where do we find love anyway? And the power to actually do it? If only the Holy Spirit of God could be made real to us, then we would have true life, true community, and true love. It would surely satisfy our craving for a real alternative to the rat race and a plastic Jesus.
If we could just find that place where the life of unity described in the ancient manuscripts of Acts 2 and 4 was practiced, what hope we would have! But what if we never find that life we read about in the Bible? Will we be sent to the sea of fire as guilty because we did not accept the unreal Jesus that Christian churches proclaim? Surely the real Savior who brought the seed of love demonstrated in the Jerusalem communities in 30 AD will not send us there.
Just like utopia is found "no place," there is no place where the boast of Christianity as a life of love exists as an alternative to the evils of the world. That's why Haight-Ashbury seemed like a valid alternative to Christianity back then. But today both have been destroyed by greed and selfishness and divided beyond redemption. Instead, its clergy gave us more talk and more lies than communism or any politician we've ever heard, and left us without hope. They preached a different gospel, another Jesus, a different spirit.3
That's why we headed for San Francisco, or to the hills, or to Woodstock, as far from Christianity today as possible. But it ended like everything else — in disappointment and worst of all, compromise. If the hope and 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 happening, where can we go? Where can we look?
Can the longing in our hearts to live together in peace ever be satisfied? Is there such a place? Looking for it has become a multi-million dollar pastime while we spend the rest of our lives making other plans.
We were raised in the pews of Christianity, heard the recorded words of some dead man that we now had to honor once a week, looked forward to the day when we could sell life insurance too, just like Dad. We knew well what the word "hypocrite" meant because we had been steeped in it from birth, a senseless blend of moral sayings that had little to do with our everyday life. So our trek began, departing from Christianity to seek for the very things which she claimed to have for the whole world. We knew better. We had heard the words "love, joy & peace" long enough, so when we grew up enough to do something about it, man we flew out of those stained-glass tombs called "church" looking for a better way, an alternative.
We learned in church that Christianity was the way that God wanted us to live, but we could not reconcile the beauty of creation with the dull behavior required by their god. So we did not believe in him. He was a phony, at least how he was presented to us, and we just couldn't buy it. The love in Christianity was only shown around the coffee pot before service, the peace was clouded over by the talk about one another, and about the greatest expression of joy we knew was when we filed out the chapel doors, free for another week.
So we struck out on our own, seekers of truth. If only we could find truth, some light in our spirits, it would pave the way for all our other needs as human beings. But our search, in the long run, only left us disappointed and very hurt. We, the children of the 60s, have found ourselves without hope, and the religion that promised, yea, boasted of that hope, did not and could not deliver the goods.
We have suffered a great evil. Surely we have to account for whatever choices we made that hurt others, but the religion of Christianity claims to stand in the place of the God of Love. And we know that it was not love, or the God of Love, which drove us away. Christianity had promised to be the alternative to living a pointless or damaging life, but we were compelled in the name of love to find an alternative to Christianity!
Now, decades later, many have returned back to the fold, just about brain-dead from a hopeless search. Perhaps Dad was right after all. Perhaps there is no real alternative to just making a living, being comfortable. And this is exactly why the Messiah told those of a similar dead religion, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but since you claim to see, your guilt remains."4 Christianity is dead, but claims to be alive. That's why the Scriptures call it a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit.5 It claims to have the alternative to death, but here the children remain, still hoping for an alternative.
Seekers look for a new social order where people can live together in peace, just like the song asked us to "Imagine." But a new social order cannot exist unless all the things that divided us can somehow be rendered powerless. If it were possible, then people would be able to live together in community, actual community. Actual community is real community, one that exists in reality at the present time, where all the people share a common life together.
This only happened one time, for a brief moment, in the first actual community established by the disciples of Yahshua 2,000 years ago. These men and women had life. They were forgiven people in whom all the barriers of sin that forever divide people had been knocked down by Yahshua's death on the cross. They experienced a real common life together. This was the life of love that shook the foundation of the old social order. A radically new way of relating to one another had broken into this age. Love was its essence, the kind of love that Yahshua demonstrated for us — one of giving yourself up, laying down your life for each other every day.
When actual community ceases to exist, the new social order is held in abeyance. When we see people being real, being able to share a common life together, then we will know that this new social order is being restored here on earth. It is the seed of eternal life, the foothold of the light of the world.
As the prophet Daniel foretold 2,500 years ago, this new social order would be restored on the earth without human hands. Its emergence is what will bring the old social order to its final end.6 Then the new social order will become a great mountain that will fill the whole earth.
This is what we are living for. It is what we were created for. It is the only hope for the world. We want to be real — actual. We want the actual Kingdom of God to rule the earth forever and ever.