’tis andrew jones’ birthday! so celebrate, already!

’tis andrew jones’ birthday today.  i think i’ll set up a post and add to it all day. that should be fun, eh?

check his blog – the one, the only, the world-and-wikipedia-famous tallskinnykiwi to see who else knows andrew and what wunnerful things they have to say ’bout ‘im today, and everyday, of course.

let me just start off with the fact that i’ve known andrew since before he was a blogger. in fact, i’ve known him a third of his life! so you can imagine i have more than a few things to say ’bout ‘im – so check on back for some little known facts! i’ll be filling in the details as the day goes on …

so, how did you meet the Joneses?

well, i’ve just got to say that it was sooo last century, as well as last decade and millennium – 1995 if i remember right. andrew and debbie contacted the organization i worked for at the as a resource and publication specialist, as they were considering a move to the san francisco bay area and i happened to have a lot of info about specific cultural issues of interest to them. so i guess you’d have to say we’ve had a cultured friendship from the start.”

what’s the funnest or funniest memory you have of andrew?

oh! great question! the first thing that comes to mind is when andrew and i and linda b were all scheduled to teach at a ‘perspectives’ conference at 1st baptist san francisco.  it was one of the first ‘glocal’ events, about 1997 or 1998, organized by carol davis. i think two or all three of us were scheduled to conduct workshops simultaneously on somewhat similar topics related to subcultures and postmodernity and such. so linda b suggested instead of divide the potential audiences, we combine. so here’s what happened …

we all end up in one of the medium-sized rooms, rather jam-packed with people. linda b facilitated and set up the session, talking a bit on the subject of global cultural/paradigm shifts … and in those days, we talked mostly about ‘postmodernity,’ so when she introduced andrew and me, we were ‘representative postmoderns.’ our job was to demonstrate what pomos thought about, talked about, and talked like. that kind of thing.

so, andrew had brought a magazine photo collage that used the four categories of his now-famous, but then-fresh ‘GodSpace 4 the New Edge’ chart. [more about that later.] and then the two of us just did this riff on different edges within ’emerging/edge culture.’ it was quite the dialog! i remember us talking really fast, and sort of seeing out of my peripheral vision how people were bobbling their head back and forth between andrew and me like they were watching a verbal tennis match.

after about 20 minutes, linda b broke in and said, ‘okay, that’s enough to give us the flavor of who postmoderns are. let’s talk – what just happened here? how did that come across to you?’ i turned and looked full-face at the crowd. half of them looked as though they’d just witnessed the beatific vision; turns out they were elated, mostly because they ‘got it’ because they ‘were it’ and it may have been the first time they were validated as ‘postmoderns.’ the other half looked panicked, as if they’d seen their future and it scared the modernist in them.

but andrew and i had a really great time, just being who we were, talking about stuff that interested us, at an espresso-pace with lots of random bunny-trails. one of my best, and most funnest memories in 15 years of knowing andrew …

so tell us more about this ‘GodSpace 4 the New Edge’ stuff.

The ‘GodSpace’ title comes from Andrew’s leading-edge work with youth cultures in the mid-1990s. He had a chance to beta-test his understanding when a group of 30-40-somethings moved into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury in February 1997, and were there for 12 months. I had the opportunity to interview members of the residential community at “My Phather’s House,” and eventually published a case study with a fairly lengthy and boring name: GodSpace 4 The New Edge: Neo-Celtic Christian Community and Outreach to “Alternatives” in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District; and Andrew Jones/”My Phather’s House.”

Sorry, it’s no longer in print, and the best I can do at the mo is offer some material I produced that talks about material Andrew produced … his 4 Spiritual Journeys for Alternative Youth. [Hey, Andrew – I don’t have access to a copy of The Actual Chart to post. Do you? If so, post it if you wanna so people can see what you produced.]

Anyway, I wrote the following summary for the first version of Andrew’s “Four Spiritual Journeys” concepts and chart, with Andrew’s permission, to use in a proposal for a specialized Master of Divinity program in postmodern studies, structures, and strategies. Ummm … that project proposal was, shall we say, way too ahead of its time, but was still quite interesting to think through!

This summary of 4 Spiritual Journeys Version 1.0 was done late in 1996, several months before Andrew, Debbie, their family (then just three children), and seven other adults had moved into the huge flat that was My Phather’s House on Ashbury Street. Like all good trenchworker-theorists, Andrew made refinements in his approach during the course of well over a year, and he released Version 2.0 in about late 1997 or early 1998. Part of those changes came out of the actual experiences at My Phather’s House, which turned out … shall we say …morphed into something different from what everyone anticipated would happen once they moved into the Haight-Ashbury. But that’s another story …

Meanwhile, as a culturologist and futurist, I’d say that Andrew’s work was revolutionary for the period. If anything, people were talking about “GenX ministry” back in the mid-1990s, and it’d take a couple years before that would transmute into “postmodern ministry.” But, as an astute “culture reader” and practitioner – not just a theologian and theorist – Andrew contributed much more than most to the ongoing conversations. Also, by talking about what he thought he was “reading” from cultures, he helped lead the way to eventual conversations on contexualization for “emerging cultures.” He was one of the first to talk about both the fragmentation of youth culture into tribes, and the new synthesis that was occurring through “gathering of the tribes.”

(We had some great conversations on subcultural studies – one of my passions – and Andrew has joked on occasion that I have the largest library on Punk of any Christian he knows … to which I typically respond, “Yeah – three books.” Actually, more like three very full bookshelves – 10 running board feet at least, but not at all bored.) (Sadly, at the moment, it’s all in storage …)

Oh! But I digress …

… every chance I get …

(Speaking of which, have I blogged already about why I think subcultures are important? The gist is, they are “espresso versions” of shifts in critical values that draw together those who are dissatisfied with The Standard Mainstream Situation, and thus dramatize the missing or otherwise neglected values which have therefore shaped this new tribes’ identity. If that’s accurate, that means we can use the emergence of subcultures as a start-point for predicting an eventual value shift within the mainstream: emerge-point + 15 years = mainstream value shift.) (Oops, there I went again!)

So, here’s my summary of V 1.0, from late 1996, unedited.

Overview of Andrew Jones’ Four Spiritual Journeys Model

Andrew Jones is a GenXer, a student at Golden Gate Seminary, and pastor of a church operating in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. He reaches out to young people from the street, many of whom are adherents of such “alternative subcultures” as Punk, Skinhead, Goth, Pomo (postmodern) Pagan, Wiccan (witchcraft), homosexuality, Vegan (ethical vegetarians who refuse to use any animal by-products, such as leather), etc. Andrew even posts “office hours” when he will be available to talk with people – at two of the district’s alternative coffee houses!

He and his family are in the process of preparing to move into the upper floor of an Ashbury Street Victorian house owned by The Prodigal Project. Here they will be working with several other individuals and The Prodigal Project to establish an alternative ministry called My Phather’s House, which will meet in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and reach out to people of a “green persuasion” (vegans, monists, animists, nature worshippers).

Out of this work in the trenches, Andrew has developed a ministry model: “Four Spiritual Journeys for Alternative New Age Youth.” The four subcultures are:

  • Going Up to Cloud Nine. This attracts mystics. Shamanism is their core worldview, and they frequently seek for mind-expanding/altering experiences through psychedelic drugs, tantric sex, etc.
  • Going Back to the Enchanted Forest. This scene is frequented by Hippies, many of whom are “ethical vegetarians,” which means that they believe animals are mistreated (viciously abused, actually) in the animal food and by-products industry, and they consider this to be unethical. Therefore they refuse to eat any kind of animal food products and often refuse to use by-products, such as leather. Monism – “all is connected” – is their core worldview, and they tend to be very “organic” in their lifestyle.
  • Going Down to the Black Hole. Here you will find the Punks and Goths (short for Gothics, who tend to wear black clothes, dye their hair black, and the women wear white make-up with accents of black, brown, purple, or red). Nihilism is their worldview, and they tend to be obsessed with violence and death, as evidenced in part by their involvement in body piercing, heroin, acid rock and heavy metal music, and sado-masochistic sexuality.
  • Going Forward to the Brave New World. These are the Technos and Skinheads. Fascism is their core worldview, and their lifestyle tends to revolve around hi-technology, futurism, and “adrenaline rushes,” as evidenced by their draw toward clubs’ “house music,” which is fast-paced music at up to 220 beats per minute.

For each subculture, Andrew has identified the core personality types drawn to the particular worldview and lifestyle elements (e.g., diet, fashion, drugs, sexual behaviors, and music) which dominate that subculture. He has also identified key bridges for presenting scriptural truths about who God is, who Jesus is, and how knowing God through Christ can satisfy the deepest felt needs typical of people in that subculture.

His model is dynamic, not just analytical. He shows how individuals tend to cycle through a specific pattern from one worldview/subculture to another when they find their needs unmet where they are at.

How is this model an important tool for 21st-century ministry?

Andrew’s model is particularly helpful because it comes out of hands-on experience in addressing key alternative subcultures that are prevalent right now, especially in urban areas. These subcultures have also been exported worldwide, making them worth noting, as international mission work may engage people from them.

Andrew has also done an excellent job overviewing the major bridges and barriers to presenting the gospel to these groups of individuals with a common worldview. His approach covers four completely different types of worldviews, and shows how people tend to move from one to another when the feel their needs have gone unmet. Another important aspect of his model is the analysis of key lifestyle components: diet, fashion, drugs, sexual behaviors, and music. Each of these items tends to be so distinctive for the four subcultures that you can almost read someone’s worldview either by the clothes they wear or the music they listen to. This model could easily provide the base for developing several different types of field trips or field work experiences.

Another reason this model may be crucial for seminary students to comprehend is that there is a sense among a number of people working with hardcore alternative GenXers and Millennials that a move of the Holy Spirit may soon be coming, similar to the beginnings of the Jesus People Movement in the Haight-Ashbury district and elsewhere. It has been 30 years since this last major move in 1967, and Christian workers need to be prepared to evangelize and disciple all those who begin seeking the Lord. Andrew’s suggestions for the especially pertinent Scriptures and dimensions of Christ’s personhood will help immensely in this task.

to be continued …


5 thoughts on “’tis andrew jones’ birthday! so celebrate, already!

  1. thanks Brad. nice to hear your thoughts.

    those 4 journeys were very sub-culture specific which is how things looked to me in the mid-nineties. it has been suggested that the end of the nineties saw the “death of taste culture” and to some extent the death of pure subcultures as they intermixed and lost identity.

    it would probably be hard today to find purists that fit my model, in our complex world. so i think i will just leave my model to sit and collect dust as a relic of the late 20th century.

    glad you appreciated it.

  2. … and still do appreciate it, dr. andrew!

    maybe that’s a relic of my own theory on “emergence,” which is [as i noted above] that if we pinpoint when a subculture catalyzes, figure out the critical values that brought them together, and then add about 15 years, we’ll see the ‘espresso’ of that subculture turned into the ‘cafe americano’ in the mainstream – same amount of caffeine, but diluted in a larger cuppa-pond.

    i repeat myself on that here, just to note that i’d suggest we’ve seen some of the mainstreaming of the nihilism of punks (emerged mid-1970s), the intolerance of neo-fascism (emerged early 1980s) already in certain secularist movements, and the eco-spirituality of the Enchanted Forest (emerged late 1980s to early 1990s) in the sustainability/green revolutions. i wonder if we’re about due for sightings of the mainstreaming of mysticism. seems it’s being evidenced in heightened involvement in occultism, and demonstrated through the psychodelic and surrealistic fantasy films we’re seeing that tend to lean so much more on the magical realism genre, and perhaps even the Lakeland revival stuff is a manifestation of this …

    you may be saying, ‘alas poor relic, i knew it andrewcio,’ but anyway, your relic may yet have relevance. worth watching, methinks.

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