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Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher

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Reminiscent of an Old Testament prophet, Lonnie Frisbee was a young hippie seeker fully immersed in the counter culture when he experienced a dramatic encounter with God while on an acid trip out in the Tahquitz mountains. This event so transformed him that Lonnie immediately became an itinerant Christian evangelist, something of a John the Baptist of southern California who compelled thousands of fellow spiritual seekers to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

During the 1970s, Lonnie Frisbee became widely known as California's "hippie preacher," the quintessential "Jesus freak" whose pictures frequented such magazines as Time and Life magazines as the media told the story of a burgeoning "Jesus movement" throughout North America. Lonnie was part of one of the first Christian hippie outposts in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district before joining the fledgling Calvary Chapel church in Costa Mesa, California. Though he only stayed there for four years, from 1968 to 1971, Lonnie Frisbee was the charismatic sparkplug that launched the "little country church" into a worldwide ministry, and propelled some of its then fledgling leaders into some of the most powerful movers and shakers of the evangelical movement.

During the 1980s, Lonnie was at the center of the "signs and wonders" movement, one that focused on reviving the practice of spiritual power through divine healing, speaking in tongues and other demonstrative manners of manifesting the power of God. For four years, between 1980 and 1983, Lonnie's prowess in these areas helped launch the Association of Vineyard Churches as a prominent revitalization movement within the evangelical world.

Beside the dynamic influence that Frisbee had over the lives of countless individuals, and beyond the miraculous stories that swirl in the wake of his life, what makes the story most fascinating is that God called Lonnie Frisbee while he was deeply involved in the homosexual lifestyle in Laguna Beach, California. Because of this, however, his spiritual mentors were always skittish about involving him in their ministries even though they could not deny the influence and dramatic results that occurred whenever Lonnie was around. After his death in 1993 from AIDS, he was basically stricken from the written record of those ministries. At his funeral he was eulogized as the biblical character Samson, a man of great spiritual strength whose personal frailties ultimately got the best of him.

Frisbee tells the story of evangelist Lonnie Frisbee, offering insights from his friends and family, and complimented by rare and unseen archival pictures and film footage. The documentary tells the story of a simple man whom God empowered to fulfill a grand purpose, and who suffered the mistreatment of his spiritual overseers because of his honesty and his struggles. For anyone who has suffered the abuses of organized religion but still wants to hold on to faith, Lonnie Frisbee's life is a testament that God still finds favor among the regular everyday people.


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