Ripples of the Jesus Movement with Vern Fein

Vern Fein, Author of Radical Faith from the sixtiesa counterculture to jesus


Today’s episode focuses on the Jesus Movement and how Christianity can get back to the heart of the pure love of God. 

Vern Fein has dedicated his life to ridding the modern Christian church of negative influences so that mercy and justice, which we need so much of, can re-surface. 

Kelly and Vern discuss literal and figurative interpretations of the Bible and how to orient ourselves within communities, especially amid times of dizzying political strife. 

Although it’s been more than 50 years since the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, there are ripples of those same inclinations and desires in progressive Christian circles today. Vern has some thoughts on what’s happening in the Christian church and where things might be headed in the next 50 years.

Meet Vern

Vern Fein is an octogenarian who has lived a rich and storied life. He studied American Literature at the graduate level at the University of Illinois in the early 1970s. During that time, he became heavily involved in political activism with the anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movements. And moved from being an atheist to becoming Christian as part of the Jesus Movement. He and his friends were among the many young people who left conventional Christian churches in search of more fulfilling and countercultural spiritual experiences.

These years significantly shaped the rest of Vern’s life and the way the Urbana community looks. Vern served as the outreach pastor for two area churches, and through his work helped to start or sustain area ministries including the Eastern Illinois Food Bank and vegatarian restaurant The Red Herring. 

He’s now retired after 45 years as a special ed teacher at Cunningham Children’s Home. Since retiring, he’s written a book called Radical Faith: From 60s Counterculture to Jesus about the connection between his faith and politics, both of which are still significant in his life. He also writes poetry, essays, and short stories, and is working on his first poetry book. 

Active at New Covenant Fellowship Church in Champaign IL, he’s proud to be involved in their study to implement reparations in our community and nationally. 

Resources We Mention

  • After Evangelism: The Path to a New Christianity by David Gushee
  • Changing Our Mind: The Landmark Call for Inclusion of LGBTQ Christians by David Gushee
  • What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell
  • How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How an Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers–And Why That’s Good News by Peter Enns
  • The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns
  • The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian by Brian McLaren
  • Blue Ocean Faith: The vibrant connection to Jesus that opens up insanely great possibilities in a secularizing world-and might kick off a new Jesus Movement by Dave Schmelzer 
  • Christian author N.T. Wright

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