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Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Jan 01, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Imagine if John the Baptist came of age during the 1960s counter culture, the charisma of Jim Morrison flowing from the mantle of an Old Testament prophet. Meet Lonnie Frisbee, a seeker turned Jesus freak evangelist who compelled thousands towards a profession of Christian faith. It was during a trip into a canyon that Frisbee claimed that God gave him a vision of his future as an influential evangelist to the hippie generation. Four years later the vision would be fulfilled as pictures of Lonnie baptizing teenage converts were splashed across the pages of Time and Life magazines forever celebrating him as an icon of the Jesus movement. Despite the stories of spiritual prowess that surround his life, his enduring struggles overwhelmed him. And even though he was the charismatic sparkplug igniting the rise of two worldwide denominations (Calvary Chapel & Vineyard), his name has all but been removed from their histories. Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher is the powerful story revealing the risk-taking nature of God, aligning himself with the most unlikely of characters as if to send out the message (yet again) that everyone is invited to participate.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lonnie Frisbee, Connie Bremer-Murray, Chuck Smith Jr., Ron Zauneker (Editor), Sandy Mahlow
  • Directors: David Di Sabatino
  • Producers: David Di Sabatino
  • Format: NTSC, Color
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Jester Media
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MK6ADY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,599 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on January 15, 2007
Format: DVD
I gotta say, there's no way I can be unbiased in this review. My dad, Jim Palosaari, did the narration, so take everything with a grain of salt.

Loved it. David di Sabatino is the premier historian of the Jesus Movement, having more copiously researched this unique event more than any other. He was the one to do this project. He meticulously reveals who Lonnie was and how he was treated, framing his story within the larger thematic genre of Biblical literature.

This film is about the guy who comes the closest to being the founding father of the Jesus Movement. It was due to him that Calvary Chapel and Vineyard exist at all. He was there not only on the nights when the Spirit came down initially in those two churches, back when they were an Assembly of God and a Calvary respectively, but he was the impetus for their growth and the movement of the Spirit. He was the evangelist, healer, and exorcist of those churches- not Chuck Smith or John Wimbur, for all the good that they did do. He was there at Fuller Seminary the night Peter Wagner first realized about Signs and Wonders. This movie describes the power that flowed through Lonnie, which even the skeptics couldn't deny. People wary of charlatans were impressed at how the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable when Lonnie was present.

As the film's website asks, What do you do when the founder of your church turns out to be gay? What do you do when the impetus of the growth of your movement struggles with bitterness and doesn't seem to care about working on a healthy relationship with his wife? What do you do when a man obviously filled with the Holy Spirit dies of AIDS? This is the story the movie addresses.
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Format: DVD
I met Lonnie in 1985 when he ministered at my youth group in Maple Valley, WA. In 1990 I stayed in the same house in Poway for a month while Lonnie and several other people were living there.

I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of this movie, even though there are some very significant events that the movie leaves out or glosses over. The film style is disjointed, and the soundtrack is very loud when the music is playing and too soft when people are speaking; we had to keep toggling the volume. Still, the footage and photographs are phenomenal and the movie manages to show only authentic time period images for almost all (all?) of the non-interview footage. Then, at a point near the end of the movie, it's almost like somebody flicks a switch and suddenly the message of the film - and supposedly of Lonnie's life - is implied to be that the Christian church needs to consider embracing homosexual behavior as normal. I find this very unfortunate because neither Lonnie nor most of his associates would have agreed with such a conclusion. The film could have been very good without bringing in activists and selectively editing interviews in what appears to be a bid to produce controversy over this issue.

Some of the things which were left out of this movie are as stunning as the things that were included.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had the privilege of knowing Lonnie Frisbee in the late 60s, early 70s when he preached in the streets of Southern California and began attracting thousands of barefooted hippies to the Calvary Chapel Movement. After seeing this film in a couple of it's incarnations I can say that it not only captures the sights, sounds and emotions of the Jesus People Revolution but it also challenges us today in our presuppositions of what it means to be "a Christian." My life was changed by the ministry of this man of God, Lonnie Frisbee. I hope many will see this film and be encouraged to seek for themselves the love of God found in Jesus.
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The old saying about 'God working in mysterious ways' seems to be the point of this fine and thought provoking film. Was/is Frisbee's message of the power of God's love made moot by his failings? Or, is the message validated because of what Frisbee went through? I attend a Vineyard church and when I found out about Frisbee and his early association with Vineyard, I started asking "The Elders" about Frisbee, and was met with...blank looks. Of course, that peeked my interest, so the movie was an eye opener. After viewing i was left with numerous questions and thoughts. Question: is Frisbee dismissed nowadays because he freely admitted that his path to God was fueled by drugs? Or is it because he was Gay? Or, my God, was there some sort of political battle going on (ego-battles? In the church family? Unbelievable!). Either way, whatever the truth was, or how history is written by those that remain, the Truth, as this film conveys, is that God does work in mysterious ways, and does use, at times, the most unexpected or peculiar messenger. Like Jesus, Lonnie was a radical who shook up the establishment and caused people to think about what being a Christian was all about. After mulling over the film and it's message for a few days, I had a thought: maybe God, all knowing, all about love, foreseeing the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic just a decade away, used Lonnie as his messenger--a Gay, acid imbibing hippie? Sure. God's like that.
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