I used to think hippies were very cool. I grew up in the 60’s and though I was really too young to have been much of a hippie I thought their goals and lifestyle were very groovy, in general.
I liked the fact that they stood for less government intervention in people’s lives, never trusting anyone over 30, free drugs and sex, youth ruled, etc. I liked the way they lived, talked (“far out man”), carried themselves. The fact that a bunch of them could close down a whole college or town was somehow appealing. I did always wonder how a wild gang of students and young people could tell a bunch of grown up college administrators and police how to live. I wondered why the schools didn’t just flunk them and throw them out.
Now that I’m grown up I live around a bunch of folks who clearly used to be hippies. Actually, they never stopped being hippies, at least in appearance. They still wear tie died t-shirts and have long hair and straggly beards (I’m talking about the men). But there’s a difference. Now they are the government (John Kerry is a good example of this on the national stage). Instead of trying to get the government out of our lives, they are trying to get the government into every facet and aspect of life. I never hear about not trusting anyone over 30 anymore. What’s that about?
The thing I’ve realized in all of this is that the hippies never really cared about government at all. What they’ve always cared about is getting what they want, when they want it, because they are the center of their lives and want to be the center of everyone else’s life. You never hear about peace, love, marijuana anymore. Alright you do hear about marijuana, but it’s a function of government control not freedom from government like it was back in the day.
The Bible says that men are worshippers. It says we worship whatever rules us and we bow down to whatever our passions will allow. Hippies, like everyone as it turns out, have a certain agenda—they want to be in the place of God. And while in the old days it appeared that they cared about world peace, it was really just about their not going to Viet Nam, not for any reason other than that they didn’t want to get shot at themselves (which if that were all there was, isn’t a really a bad reason).
Ultimately it was never about being cool or smart or protective or wanting to be free of government. It has always been about who gets to be in charge? God, or others, or me? And because we are self centered, it is about me. I want what I want when I want it. And no one is going to stand in my way.
The hippies lied to us, to themselves and to the rest of the world. They were never really interested in the country, or the world, or peace, or the draft (or bras). What they have always been interested in is being in charge of their own lives and everyone around them. They are not givers, they are takers. They are not gracious because they have not received grace. They are just like the “establishment” they overthrew back in the 60’s. Instead of flat top haircuts, they are balding with long pony tails running down their backs, but otherwise nothing has changed. The hippies and hippy wannabes are now the establishment, man, and they need to be overthrown by another generation. But let’s not forget that there is a kingdom whose reign is glorious, does give, really does love, and does fill its citizens with joy. It is the kingdom of God whose ruler is Jesus Christ. Amen.