Seek First the Kingdom of God
1974: Born again while serving in U.S. Air Force and stationed at Castle Air Force Base, Atwater, California. Saw Billy Graham Evangelistic Association film, "Time to Run" in a local Merced (1) theater and made public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Decision was catalyst after two years of critically reading "Reach Out -- The Living New Testament," "Good News for Modern Man," (specifically the four Gospels and Romans) Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Bible tracts, being witnessed to by evangelical Christians (and cults), and having a personal conviction of sin.
Decision for faith in Jesus Christ was also a culmination of ten years (1965-1974) experience growing up in middle class America in the 60s (San Diego, California), rebelling, searching and yet hearing about "Jesus" in the 60s music from 12 year's old on.. (2)
At 18 - 19 years old, realized there was an inherent problem roadblocking a genuine 60s revolution of peace, love and music in the world. What was the problem? The Bible calls it sin -- a sin nature inherited from Adam and Eve's fall. "My Generation" with all the answers -- was self-destructing. The "All You Need is Love" Beatle's were suing each other in a bitter band split, American war protesters throwing rocks, bottles and expletives at police to "Stop the War Now" in Vietnam wasn't good PR for a peace movement -- and Mick Jagger and the Stones were not exactly "fighting in the streets."
Rock stars weren't known for building universities or hospitals
Rock bands -- the pied piper troubadours of the 60s revolution -- like Jefferson Airplane ("Volunteers"), Rolling Stones ("Street Fighting Man"), Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ("Ohio," "Chicago") and others, sang protest songs in studios and rock venues, but weren't among protestors arrested in street demonstrations (as were folk singers), and weren't known at that time for using their riches to help the sick, poor, needy or build hospitals and universities.
Instead, rich rock stars were too often self-indulgent, self-righteous hypocrites buying mansions, Ferrari's, Lear jets, popularizing drug and alcohol abuse, pre-marital -- even teenage -- sex, yet pointing a defiant finger at "the Establishment" and calling them "pigs."
In their personal pursuit of happiness, rock stars were free to spend their riches as they chose, but their choices didn't ring true with the song sung philosophy of a movement toward a new America. And it was not exactly "peace and love." For example, a heckler confronting CSNY over their wealth at Celebration of Big Sur was pushed and shoved by Stephen Stills. He apologized to the audience, saying the band does question their success, wealth and nice guitars, but we all need to just "let it be."
The 60s generation experienced a watershed of music and musicians combining sound and lyrics to generate rock sermonites, but coupled with the loosening of morals, some genres of rock -- like the song of the Sirens -- encouraged the shipwreck of millions (teen pregnancies, abortions, drug addictions, drug arrests, suicides, overdoses, DUI's, homelessness, divorces, adultery, violent acts) who didn't plug their ears in time -- or hear "Jesus" in the music.
One example are the lyrics to The Doors' "The End," the last song of their first album released January 4, 1967. In that song, rock icon Jim Morrison monologues about a son going room-to-room killing off his family:
"The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on ... and he came to a door, and he looked inside, father, yes son, I want to kill you, mother, I want to ... (several lines later) kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill -- this is the end, beautiful friend."
The monologue is Poe-like -- suggesting murderous freedom -- but without a moral-ending twist, no condemnation. Morrison is said to have used the lyrics as a metaphor of breaking free of repression. Yet, in the LSD-laced Summer of Love during the same year as the release of the album, a copycat murder was committed in Texas (see: Professor Who Killed His Family 46 Years Ago Gets to Keep His Job).
Was murder, chaos and mayhem embedded in the minds of drug-abusing, emotionally-confused youth by playing songs like "The End" over and over? Perhaps the Manson cult? Columbine? Newtown ...?
The Bible says: "A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother" and "He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness." - Proverbs 15:20, 20:20
60s "Age of Aquarius" not all it seemed
We were made to believe Woodstock was three days of peace and love in the 60s biggest PR movie. Three-hundred-to-500 thousand people drunk, stoned, hungry and short on toilets in the rain did not go without altercations -- eyewitness accounts verify that fact. The rock festival was declared a free concert, not from promoter generosity, but because over 50,000 rock fans climbing or tearing down fences and resisting gate security would have been a PR nightmare.
Aside from the film edited PR outtakes, the Woodstock festival itself, was however the highlight -- and it is masterfull documentary -- of the 60s philosophy the world could be changed through music, drugs and sexual freedom. Capturing that theme on film in its essence were bands like Santana, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Canned Heat, The Who, Ten Years After, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills and Nash -- and Hendrix.
However, other events of 1969 were red flags the 60s dream was not all it seemed.
For example, on July 3, ex-Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool. Ruled as an accidental drowning resulting from an asthma attack and intoxication, he had reportedly just quit the Stones on June 8 stating in Rolling Stone, "The music Mick and Keith have been writing has progressed at a tangent, as far as my own taste is concerned," (RS, June 12, 1969).
And then Jones was dead at 27 years old (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison would also join the "dead at 27" club). Wealth, women and fame were not enough to keep this once talented man, whose speech was reportedly reduced to a garble from years of drug and alcohol abuse, satisfied and alive. Why?
The Bible says: "Vanity of vanities [emptiness]," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 1:2
And the Bible also says: "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing." - Ecclesiastes 1:8
And just weeks before Woodstock, the three-day rock fest "Newport '69" was held in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge at the old "Devonshire Downs" race track -- with Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jethro Tull, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Spirit and Johnny Winter among those who performed.
The festival promoters hired the Los Angeles-based "Street Racer" biker gang to stop would-be gate crashers. It erupted into a rock-and-bottle Sunday riot as police in riot gear and bullhorns from helicopters called the area outside the fence an unlawful assembly.
Why did hundreds of rock fans risk personal injury and arrest to storm the concert fence -- and bikers -- to get in free, and then spark a riot by throwing rocks and bottles at an arriving police car?
And then the 60's image was stained with murder. On August 8th and 9th, the hippie-looking Manson-gang druggers terrorized Hollywood Hills by murdering the rich and famous in their homes and making the murders appear like revenge killings from radicals in the black community.
Manson's crazed-look on his arrest photo in October 1969 and the subsequent circus-trial transmitted on virtually every news outlet in America until his conviction in 1971 was a seismic shift in the perception of long-haired hippies. How could one hippie-type compel other hippie-types to murder for him? And then act defiantly unrepentant ... like it was all street theater?
And perhaps the final nail in the "Age of Aquarius" coffin was December 1969 at Altamont Speedway just outside San Francisco. Hell's Angels hired as security by the Rolling Stones for a free concert roughed-up musicians, unruly fans and then stabbed to death a concert-goer brandishing a handgun near the stage during the Rolling Stones performance. The Stones' set included "Sympathy for the Devil."
Altamont was the flip side of Woodstock.
The "Yellow Submarine," the "Magic Bus," the "All You Need is Love" generation holding hands and singing "Kumbaya," forever in reality was a myth, a wishdream, entertainment industry propaganda ... a lie. The carnage was -- and is -- inescapable. In the attempt to be morally and sexually free from biblical norms, the 60s revolution was dismantling the traditional American family -- the heart of America. It was the catapult for empty marriage vows, acceptable teenage sex with birth control, mass divorce and single parenting. All this in the name of freedom, peace and love?
Captain America (Peter Fonda) spoke prophetically of the 60s generation missing the mark in the 1969 movie "Easy Rider" when he said to his biker buddy Billy (Dennis Hopper) a few hours before they were murdered by rednecks, "We blew it."
They blew it because life was not about the freedom they had experienced on the road, passing by, having a few laughs, good times and moving on. Real life was about that farmer back there a few scenes earlier enjoying his family. He was the good Samaritan who took them in and fed them.
"Love is patient, love is kind ..."
The Bible says: "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails ..." 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 8
And the Bible also says: "By this we know we love the children of God, when we love God and observe his commandments." 1 John 5:2
[Sun Tzu: "Plans and projects for harming the enemy are not confined to anyone method. Sometimes entice his wise and virtuous men away so that he has no counselors. Or send treacherous people to his country to wreck his administration. Sometimes use cunning deceptions to alienate his ministers from the sovereign. Or send skilled craftsmen to encourage his people to exhaust their wealth. Or present him with licentious musicians and dancers to change his customs. Or give him beautiful women to bewilder him ... he [the wise general] wearies them [his enemy] by keeping them constantly occupied. " Sun Tzu, "The Art of War" chp. VIII The Nine Variables (written in China 500 B.C.)]
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A need for community-based InterChurch communications
Fueling the 60s revolution were community-based underground media. Biweekly and weeklies such as San Diego's "Free Door" (writer-director Cameron Crowe ("Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Almost Famous") started his career by writing music reviews and articles for The Door), "San Diego Free Press," and "Ocean Beach People's Rag" double-teamed with San Diego's FM community-supported radio KPRI (KNX 1070 AM radio financial consultant Gabriel Wisdom worked as a DJ for KPRI where new albums were aired commercial free) and zeroed-in on local movement news and events including city council and school board meetings, concerts, love-in's and demonstrations.
The First Amendment grants Christian media the opportunity to gather timely local news to inform and empower pastors and the Christian community about issues affecting all taxpayers. No organization has the power of public assembly one day each week -- 52 weeks a year -- to inform and mobilize as many voting taxpayers on legislative issues as does the sleeping giant -- the church.
InterChurch News reported there is a concerted "assault against Christianity" in Sacramento (see Melendez). Much needed California petitions and initiatives fail for lack of publicity and signatures (see "Pro Life," "Redefine person" and "Parental notification"). Nehemiah's Jerusalem wall builders held a sword in one hand, and carried building supplies with the other (Neh. 4:17).
The Bible says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
[Sun Tzu: "Do not allow your enemies to get together ... Look into the matter of his alliances and cause them to be severed and dissolved. If an enemy has alliances, the problem is grave and the enemy's position strong; if he has no alliances the problem is minor and the enemy's position weak." Sun Tzu, "The Art of War" chp. III Offensive Strategy (written in China 500 B.C.)]
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1972: "God if You're for real, let me know"
It took two years after 1969 to begin to turn off and tune out the anarchist 60s movement, and focus on what was truth -- a quieter, simplicity of life. Began to read about Gandhi, his life and teachings. Also began to look into the possible truth of astrology, and search out the faith of Buddhists, Hari Krishnas, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and evangelical Christians.
Since Jesus is the central figure of the human race (historical time line is based on his life (B.C., A.D.) and the Hindu nonviolent protest leader Mohandas K Gandhi highly regarded Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and even had a picture of Jesus among his few possessions), decided to find out first if Jesus Christ was for real.
Raised with a good foundation in the Catholic faith, as a nonpracticing Catholic, Jesus Christ needed to be proved personally. Was He "the only begotten son of God," even a real historical person, and if not, then move on.
The Bible says: "Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction." - Matthew 7:13
The turning point was in reading the New Testament and saying a quick prayer.
Receiving $25 a week unemployed checks a year out of high school after serving as the ASB president, with no career focus, affected over the deaths of the Kennedys, King, the Manson victims, rock stars, Kent State students, classmates and friends, concerned about the possibility of eternity in hell with "no hope" (having read portions of Dante's "Inferno"), was moved by reading the Sermon on the Mount, and prayed a short, sincere prayer: "God, if You're for real, let me know."
Less than a month later, number pulled for the last draft lottery for Vietnam was number one -- remembered that prayer. (3)
The Bible says: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33
Enlisted in the USAF. Went from unemployment checks and TV dinners to full-time service as jet engine mechanic / documentation clerk. Returned stateside from tour of duty in Guam, and within two years obtained a loan backed by GI Bill for two-on-one property. Total 1975 price: $19,500. After renting out extra two bedroom house, total out-of-pocket mortgage payment for two houses was $50.
1975: 30-year mortgage payment for 2 on 1 property was $175
So, less than three years since the "God if your'e for real" prayer was said while unemployed paying $125 for one bedroom house rental, was now collecting $125 a month as a landlord and had a secure full time job. Situation never would have happened without God. Never. Military service was not on radar. Thank you God for opening the door.
Locating the two-on-one property was through a tip by an evangelical Christian utility worker who had shut off utilities to the vacant one bedroom house. The owner of the property was an evangelical Christian.
"God, if You're for real, let me know" prayer was answered -- even before the property purchase. Witnessed healings, met and knew authentic evangelical Christians. Worked with good people in the service. Was baptized in the back country of Yosemite National Park. (4) God provided. And God continues to prove the Bible is reliable.
The Bible says: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." -- Matthew 7:7
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1977-1978: Merced College, under GI Bill, staff reporter, photographer for campus student newspaper, "The Mercury." Served as correspondent reporting from "The Longest Walk," a native American protest walk in 1978 from Sacramento to Washington D.C.
1979-1980: Calvary Chapel San Diego/pastor Mike MacIntosh (renamed Horizon Christian Fellowship. Saw the importance to communicate and meet needs in the household of faith by receiving a vision in prayer while enrolled in "Guidance" School of Evangelism class taught by Neal Pirolo (Emmaus Road International). With the approval of then Assistant Pastor Bill Goodrich, founded, published, and edited The Grapevine job and housing needs sheet-bulletin, distributed semimonthly to over 30 Calvary Chapel San Diego home Bible studies based on Galatians 6:10, Acts 4:34 and Romans 12:13.
1981-1983: Peninsula Christian Fellowship/pastor Glen Gundert. Edited and distributed "The Grapevine" needs sheet / bulletin insert semimonthly to Ocean Beach congregation.
1984-1988: Pepperdine University, matriculated under special achievement award scholarship and GI Bill, journalism major/religion minor; graduated 1988. Staff reporter and photographer for weekly campus newspaper, "The Graphic," 1987 yearbook photo editor. California Intercollegiate Press Awards (CIPA) for Best Opinion Column (1st Place) and Best Fiction Article (2nd Place).
1988-1993: Internship with "The Malibu Times," reporter and photographer (contributed a series on local religion), freelance reporter and photographer for "The Malibu Surfside News;" bookseller at Logos of Westwood, Butler-Gabriel's (Westwood).
1993-2001: Founded, published, and edited "The Grapevine - West L.A. Edition," a 3000 circulation semimonthly micro-newspaper with job and housing classifieds distributed in church bulletins to 17 subscriber churches in West L.A., Santa Monica, Venice and Pacific Palisades areas. Distributed freely to up to 80 satellite distribution sites throughout Los Angeles.
Paid-subscriber churches included: First Baptist Church WLA, University Bible Church, Trinity Baptist Church, Grace Lutheran, Palisades Lutheran, Metro Calvary Chapel, Sojourners (a Calvary Chapel), Chinese Bible Church, Santa Monica Church of the Nazarene, Culver City Lighthouse, House Upon the Rock, New Life Full Gospel, WLA Christian Center, The Shepherd's Gate, Venice Foursquare, Mt. Olive Lutheran and Westside Vineyard.
Monitored job and housing hot line, incorporated weekly fax supplement "Weekly Dispatch" listing current classifieds and news articles to subscriber churches and satellite sites. Advisors: The late Sherwood ("Woody") E. Wirt (author, Editor Emeritus of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association "Decision" magazine, founder of San Diego Christian Writers Guild), and the late John Whorrall, pastor of University Bible Church, illustrator.
September 20, 2013: Founded "InterChurch News Service."
"Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength." -- Psalm 29:1
W. Keith Sloane
This site is dedicated in keeping the vow to the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Savior for the birth of our daughter, Chasya.
"When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay." - Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.
"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end -- it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." - Habakkuk 2:2-3
1. Merced (Spanish) means "favor, grace."
2. 1972 - 1974 book reads (searching for "What is truth?' John 18:38): "Reach Out - The Living New Testament (Illustrated)," "Good News For Modern Man (Illustrated)," "The Movement Towards A New America - A History," by Mitchell Goodman; "The Story of My Experiments With Truth," by Mahatma Gandhi; "The Passover Plot," by Hugh J. Schonfield, "How to Talk Dirty and Influence People," autobiography of Lenny Bruce, "The Teaching of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge," by Don Castaneda, "A Separate Reality," by Don Castaneda; "Fountains of Faith," by William A. Ward; Confucius quotations; "Interior Castle," by St. Teresa of Avila.
Hearing "Jesus" in the music, 1964 - 1974: "House of the Rising Sun," The Animals, lyric: "There is a house in New Orleans, they call the rising sun, and it's been the ruin of many a poor boy, and God, I know I'm one," also "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," lyric: "I'm just a soul who's intentions are good O Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood;" "Turn, Turn, Turn," The Byrds version of Pete Seeger's song based on the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, "A time to be born, a time to die ... a time for love, a time for hate;" "All Along the Watchtower," Bob Dylan / also Jimi Hendrix's version, lyric: "There are many here among us, who feel that life is but a joke, but you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate, so let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late;" "Frankie Lee and Judas Priest," Bob Dylan (John Wesley Harding), lyric: "So when you see your neighbor carrying somethin', help him with his load, and don't go mistaking Paradise for that home across the road;" "When the Music's Over," The Doors (Strange Days), lyric: "Save us! Jesus! Save us!" "Presence of the Lord," Eric Clapton (Blind Faith), lyric: "I have finally found a way to live ... and I know that I don't have much to give ... everybody knows the secret, everybody knows the score;" "Get Together," The Youngbloods, lyric: "Some will come and some will go and we shall surely pass, when the one that left us here, returns for us at last;" "I'd Love to Change the World," Ten Years After, lyric: "Everywhere is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity, tax the rich, feed the poor till there are no rich no more;" "Fire and Rain," James Taylor (Sweet Baby James), lyric: "Won't You look down upon me, Jesus, you've got to help me make a stand, you've just got to see me through another day ... I won't make it any other way;" "Spirit in the Sky," Norman Greenbaum; "American Pie," Don McLean, lyric: "And the three men I admire most, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day the music died;" "My Sweet Lord," George Harrison; "I really want to know you Lord, but it takes so long;" "On the Road To Find Out," Cat Stevens (Tea for the Tillerman), lyric: "Kick out the devils' sin, pick up, pick up the Good Book now," also, "Father and Son;" "Stairway to Heaven," Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin IV), lyric: "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on ... your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know, the piper's calling you to join him;" "Jesus Is Just Alright," Doobie Brothers; "Ramblin' Man," Allman Brothers (Brothers and Sisters), lyric: "Lord, I was born a ramblin' man, I'm just makin' a livin' and doing the best I can;" "Why Me?" Kris Kristofferson (Jesus Was A Capricorn), lyric: "Lord help me Jesus, I've wasted it so, help me Jesus, I know what I am ... help me Jesus, my soul's is in your hand;" "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," Bob Dylan, "Mama, bury my guns in the ground, I can't shoot them anymore.".
3. "It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27): Rock star deaths: Brian Jones, 27, 1969 (Rolling Stones); Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, 27, 1970 (Canned Heat); Jimi Hendrix, 27, 1970; Janis Joplin, 27, 1970; Jim Morrison, 27, 1971 (The Doors); Duanne Allman, 24, 1971 (Allman Brothers); Berry Oakley, 24, 1972 (Allman Brothers); Death of classmates/friends: Bonnie Warner, 1970 (leukemia), Andy Olive, 1970 (police suicide), Chris Garza, 1970 (single car accident, four teenage passengers in same car killed), Louis R. Franklin (LR), 1971 (suicide), Howard Pierce, 1972 (single car accident), and Kate Bolden (cancer, her last breath she looked upward and said she saw Jesus and said "I'm coming to you, Lord!').
4. "Baptized Into Wilderness: A Christian Perspective on John Muir," by Richard Cartwright, John Knox Press, 1987.
Suggested reading: "Mere Christianity," by C.S. Lewis; "Cost of Discipleship," "Life Together," by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and "Destructive Generation - Second Thoughts About the 60s," by Peter Collier and David Horowitz.
Suggested listening: Bob Dylan sermon, Toronto, 1980. Live performances: "What Can I Do For You?" (Toronto, 1980), "When He Returns" (San Francisco, 1979), "I Ain't Going to Go to Hell for Anybody", "I Believe In You" (1980). Dylan performed "Gotta Serve Somebody" at the 1980 Grammy Awards where he won the "Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male" award -- a music-industry miracle to 'Dylan-as-a-singer' critics.
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