Superstar

December 1, 1970
1970 HFP, Volume 2 Number 23

As 1970 hurtled headlong toward 1971, violence and death continued to dominate the news, underscoring the world's desperate need for Jesus.

Lt. William Calley went on trial for his participation in the My Lai massacre in which hundreds of Vietnamese civilians, mostly women and children, were murdered. U.S. Army special forces raided the Son Tay prison camp in North Vietnam but found no prisoners. They had been moved to another location prior to the raid. The U.S. continued its widespread bombing raids on North Vietnam. In Manila, Philippines, a Bolivian surrealist painter named Benjamín Mendoza attempted to assassinate Pope Paul VI while disguised as a priest, but failed.

Our main story focused on the new Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar," written from the point of view of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders. The opera followed the gospel accounts of the final weeks of Jesus' life until His crucifixion and death at the hands of the Romans, ending with the orchestral anthem "John 19:41", a reference to the passage in the gospel of John that describes the burial of Jesus in a borrowed tomb. But what of the resurrection? Jesus came "to experience our death sentence for us," we wrote, but without the resurrection we're left in a hopeless world of violence and corruption where Jesus is dead and "the voice of Judas is still alive."

Moviegoers were lining up to see the Cornel Wilde sci-fi drama "No Blade of Grass," an oddly prescient film about the post-apocalyptic warfare that erupts after a plant virus wipes out most of the earth's wheat, rice and other grain crops and the world descends into famine and chaos. Our HFP article found it "an intensely disturbing film because it not only paints a believable picture of what could happen if the ecological situation isn't solved immediately, but it also exposes the true selfish nature of man." Human complancency, selfishness and "the depravity of human nature" in the face of global crisis, we wrote, is our real "number one enemy."

An important new voice was emerging in the music of the Jesus Movement, and with the release of the album "Street Level" more and more Jesus People were becoming familiar with it. It was the voice of 23 year old singer-songwriter Larry Norman, and he was creating a whole new genre of song. Magazine reviewers saw him as "a combination of lyricist, composer, performer, backwoods preacher [and] poet." Larry himself, we wrote, would "rather talk about someone else, someone named Jesus. That's what his new album is about. It's called Street Level."

The first annual Jesus People Festival of Music was scheduled for December 27 at the Hollywood Palladium. A "Happy Birthday Jesus" march was planned for mid-December in Ventura. We were hosting potluck dinners and Bible studies at our new home on Fountain Street. Week by week, more Jesus houses, Bible studies, rap sessions and more were appearing across the United States and were being listed in our "switchboard" section, The Wall.

Dale Yancy created the cartoon pictured at right, contrasting the positive promises of victory through Jesus to the sadness of the death of the unsaved. Dale also drew our exciting poster, "Jesus Is Alive", pictured at lower right.

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