The year marks the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the crowning moment of the hippie movement. I wasn’t in Woodstock in 1967, but the hippies had already arrived. The hippies in Woodstock quickly turned to a “back to the garden” form of Christianity.
The Woodstock Festival did not take place in Woodstock… and the tourists must be told this over and over. Woodstock has never been friendly to development, or to large events. Bethel, New York, was the actual location of the festival.
One of the more interesting results of publishing a weblog has been that readers contact me, by e-mail, by phone and sometimes in person. I had lunch with a blogger friend in Manhattan recently. And, a few weeks ago, Christopher Cole, tried to contact me during a trip to Woodstock. He was very influenced by Father Francis. Chris send me a copy of his novel, “The Closer’s Song,” which I have been reading. I’ll write a review soon.
When I say “back to the garden” Christianity, I mean a return to the ideals and lifestyle of the 19th century. Hippiedom represented a rebellion against the artificial identity imposed on people by a modern media driven society. So, the hippies of the 1960s sought to return to a time (real or mythical) when people defined themselves. They tried to live a life that would have been very familiar to my grandfathers… subsistence farming, building their own homes and churches, sewing their own clothing, etc.
The Church of the Holy Transfiguration was one of those hand built structures. So, it remains a shrine to one of the driving ideals of the sixties.