Catchin' the wave

"Catchin' the wave" Continued...

Issue: "Building a city," March 24, 2007

A third ingredient to the city's conservatism is the strong influence of evangelicals, many of whom are the original Jesus People. When the Jesus Movement in the late '60s rolled south from Calvary Chapel, Pastor Chuck Smith's Costa Mesa church, the sun-kissed youth culture here embraced it as "something fresh and authentic . . . that moved from merely the information level of church history and doctrine to the heart," said Ray Bentley, 49, a San Diego native and senior pastor of Maranatha Chapel.

Along with its emphasis on biblical literalism and Christ's imminent return, the San Diego wave wrapped in ocean baptisms, bare feet in church, surfside prayer meetings. Jesus as Truth, yes, but also as compassionate, sandaled rebel who gave His followers permission to wear their hair long and surf outside their parents' spiritual lines.

Now those followers are all grown up. Many still wear board shorts to church, and today they are still active outside the pews. "They don't compartmentalize their faith, but put it into action in politics and in the community," Bentley said.

Mike Farres saw the Jesus wave come through. Christians still minister to the homeless and the lost on some of the downtown property he owns. Farres won't say how much he's worth, or even how much he paid for that first block. But Paul Karcho, a Michigan transplant who bought the Wine Bank from Farres in 2006 (after haggling with him for eight years), divulged the broad outlines of a long-term land-lease that Farres recently inked with Marriott.

The resort giant is building a hotel on a tiny parking lot that Farres owns. Every year of the lease, Marriott will pay him twice the amount he paid in 1976 for the entire block on which the Wine Bank sits.

"I'm looking for more land to buy," Farres told WORLD. Then he allowed himself a chuckle: "I can afford it."

Lynn Vincent
Lynn Vincent

Lynn is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine and the best-selling author of 10 non-fiction books.


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