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Jesus freak is a term arising from the late 1960s and early 1970s counterculture and is used as a pejorative for those involved in the Jesus movement. As Tom Wolfe illustrates in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, the term "freak" with a preceding qualifier was a strictly neutral term and described any counterculture member with a specific interest in a given subject; hence "acid freak" "Jesus freak." The term "freak" was in common enough currency that Hunter S. Thompson's failed bid for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado was as a member of the "Freak Power" party. However, many later members of the movement, misunderstanding the countercultural roots believed the term to be negative, and co-opted and embraced the term, and its usage broadened to describe a Christian subculture throughout the hippie and back-to-the-land movements that focused on universal love and pacifism, and relished the radical nature of Jesus' message. Jesus freaks often carried and distributed copies of the "Good News for Modern Man," a 1966 translation of the New Testament written in modern English. In Australia, and other countries, the term Jesus freak, along with Bible basher, is still used in a derogatory manner. In Germany, there is a Christian youth culture, also called Jesus Freaks, that claims to have its roots in the American movement.
The Elton John song "Tiny Dancer" (1971) refers to Jesus freaks, as does Felt's 1986 single "Ballad of the Band". There is an entire line about Jesus Freaks in Frank Zappa's 1978 song "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing". The term also appeared in song "Nothing to Fear" by Oingo Boingo in 1982. The term has recently been used frequently by Ted Turner and Howard Stern, referring mainly to fundamentalists. Another use of the phrase was in Kevin Michael's song "We All Want the Same Thing". Black Sabbath in "Under the Sun" also used the phrase.
Lisdoonvarna (1984) by Irish folk singer Christy Moore mentions Jesus freaks as being among the diverse attendants of the famous Lisdoonvarna music festival in County Clare, along with Arab sheiks and Hindu Sikhs.
In 1995, a Christian rock/rap group, dc Talk, released an album titled Jesus Freak and its title song has since been covered by other Christian bands such as Newsboys, which features DC Talk member Michael Tait, Toby Mac as a solo artist and Chasing Victory.
In 1996, John DiBiase created a Christian record label website titled Jesus Freak Hideout.
The lyrics of the 1978 version of Convoy, recorded for the film of the same name, include a reference to "seven long-haired Jesus freaks in a chartreuse micro-bus".
In 2009, Su Presencia, a Colombian Christian band released an album title Jesus Freak, which contains a song with the same name.
Jesus Freaks, written by dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs, is also the name of a series of books that examines the lives of Christian martyrs. The series is published by Bethany House, a Christian publishing company.
Sara Miles wrote Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing and Raising The Dead.
- Musician Barry McGuire's Testimony: Eve of Destruction Accessed December 8, 2011
- Official site of Noel Gallagher
- Amazon.com: Jesus freak: Books
- Amazon.com: Jesus Freak:Feeding Healing and Raising The Dead: Books
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- Young, Shawn David, Hippies, Jesus Freaks, and Music (Ann Arbor: Xanedu/Copley Original Works, 2005). ISBN 1-59399-201-7.
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- Jeub, Cynthia. "Jesus Freaks: a new definition of Martyr." Review of DC Talk's book Jesus Freak. 7 July 2009.
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