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Queer Saint Lonnie Frisbee

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Introducing our newest Queer Saint, the original hippie preacher himself Saint Lonnie Frisbee. Shunned by his fellow ministers for being gay, this artist, missionary and evangelist transformed the Jesus Movement through his charismatic approach to spreading the gospel.

Yass, Jesus! is hosted by Danny Franzese and Azariah Southworth. Our producers are Ross Murray and Meredith Paulley. Sound, music, and post-production by Chris Heckman. Special thanks to Sophie Serrano and Sam Isfan.

Yass, Jesus! is brought to you by Audity. Audity execs are Ryann Lauckner, Steve Michaels, and Jessica Bustillos.

Get to know us better:

Daniel Franzese

Azariah Southworth

Ross Murray

Daniel: [00:00:00] Hello, Kings and Queens and in-betweens, sinner saints and I don't know if I is or I ain'ts, welcome to another hippie and dippy episode of Yass, Jesus! I'm Daniel Franzese, and as always, I'm here with my dippy...

Azariah: Azariah Southworth.

Daniel: And stick around. Cause we're going to queer Saint somebody today. We're going to a new sainthood in Lonnie Frisbee. So don't worry because here at Yass Jesus, we believe.

Azariah: Saint Lonnie Frisbee put the freak in Jesus freak.

Daniel: Oh baby. I can't wait to hear about this because this is Bible wondering to me, this is like when, when I first learned about Lonnie Frisbee, I was learning about all the hippies in San Francisco just tripping on acid, walking around Haight street, talking about Jesus. And that's the kind of thing I'm going to be talking about today, so if that sounds hippy and dippy for you, stick around, right after Gay Christian news.

Azariah: This comes to us via Franklin Graham is [00:01:00] complaining again that he can't exercise his God given right to harm LGBTQ people. This was posted to Franklin Graham's Facebook page. So let me give you a read and please add your thoughts as I go along Danny.

Daniel: Oh, I will.

Azariah: The Canadian parliament recently passed legislation banning what they refer to as conversion therapy for LGBTQ people. And the law describes as a myth, the belief that heterosexuality is preferrable. They added a stiff penalty that can carry up to a five-year jail sentence and Canadian pastors feel they have been stripped of the religious freedoms. Critics of bill C4 say it was broadly worded and could even encompass private conversations about the topic, such as when a pastor or any Christian shares what the Bible teaches, what the Bible [00:02:00] teaches, about sexuality. One Canadian pastor said 'all socialistic and communistic movements hate the authority and law of God. Much of the church in Canada believes that compliance and compromise will promote peace and freedom. But this attitude only feeds the beast and will increase persecution and eliminate freedom.' Okay girl, whatever. Today, some 4,000 us pastors spoke about it from their pulpits in a show of concern about similar laws coming into effect here.

And so Franklin Graham continues to write: pray for pastors in Canada as this legal opresion continues to grow and pray that all of us as Christians will have the boldness to continue to proclaim the life-changing truth of the word of God, the only hope for this world. The campaign against Canada's law was organized by an anti LGBT, California mega church, pastor famous John [00:03:00] MacArthur, god bless her.

Daniel: And the mega church. I mean, that's insane. Like I honestly was really happy when I heard that Canada had done that. I mean, I'm waiting for America's moment. Like the U S really needs to ban conversion therapy, stat. I mean, it's still legal in several states which is just unacceptable. Well, Franklin, LGBTQ people have the God-given right to be their dang cells without the fear of persecution. Now, this law is good and you know, who else did it besides Canada? France. France and Canada, that is a Francophone movement. So au revoir.

Azariah: Yeah. au revoir to your toxic theology, honey. Honestly, that harms the mental wellbeing, the emotional wellbeing, the spiritual wellbeing of people. You and I both know this from firsthand experience. So Franklin Graham take a seat, sit on a Dick. I don't care what you have to do. But sit this one out. Okay, girl?

Daniel: Oh, I love that sit on a dick is appropriace [00:04:00] advice in gay Christian news segment. Um, we do things differently here at Yass Jesus sit tight or sit on a dick, whatever you want to do as we move on to our next segment of the show, which is the praise report and prayer requests. This is where if you have a little something extra, you wanna ask God for and want our listeners to pray along with us for you, we will pray. And if you have a little praise report, you want to thank God, a little hallelujah, a little extra hallelujah, hallelujah, uh, we will hallelujah, hallelujah, along with you. So, first of all, we went out on social media to collect some prayer requests and praise reports. Now, remember you could send us messages on your own @yassjesuspod, um, anywhere social media is sold or you can submit a written message. It could be, you could leave your name or it could be anonymous or even better, you can give us an audio recording. We love audio recordings. We love hearing your voice. Sometimes, you know, just hearing someone's voice, lets our other listeners know that there's other people just like you, me and Azzie out there. So, go to, scroll [00:05:00] to the bottom and let us hear your beautiful voice with either a prayer request, a praise report, or just a hello. So we're going to start with a prayer request. Azzie, tell me about it.

Azariah: Yeah. So this prayer request came from us on social media and is from Jacob, Jacob wants to pray for a new job. Jacob says 'we don't know any more details. Like what Jacob has coming from or going to, but we want it to be a job that pays well is fulfilling and can do some good in the world.'

Daniel: A common thing in today's time. People want to know what it's going to be, you know? Um, but like that's what it takes. It takes an open heart and open mind and just, you know, Keep one foot in front of the other and that faiththe size of a mustard seed, and you know, you never know what is in store for you. Sometimes people have drastic changes and they get so upset. I know, I remember I was fired from my first Broadway tour, Azzie. Um, but if I wasn't and I was so upset and I was standing up for my rights, it wasn't something I did wrong and I was standing up for my rights and they were like, you know what, [00:06:00] we, we don't want to hear from you. We're just going to fire you. Um, that's it, you know, and I was like, dang. And it was so depressed and so sad. But shortly after I was discovered for my first movie and had I not been, you know, had I had I still been on that tour, I never would have been, who knows how long it would have taken me to get into film. So you never know what God has in store for you, you know? Definitely. Uh, God closes the door and opens the window. So we'll see what's next for you.

Um, we also have appraised report. This one is from Tabitha and it is super sweet and I'm ready to get my praise on with you Tabitha. So Tabitha says 'I just started Yass Jesus and I have never laughed or cried so hard. I have never felt more understood. I always thought it was some weird oxymoron for still loving God and being a flaming homo and you and your co-host Azzie you have made me feel so much more comfortable in my religion. So thank you immensely. I've always been a huge fan of yours, but now I couldn't love you more. Thank you again.'

Oh, Tabitha. I felt it. Um, that's awesome. And that is a praise [00:07:00] report. You know, we do this as an act of service and love, and honestly, that's what it's all about, Tabitha is hearing that we've reached other flaming homos out there that love God and know that God loves them. So, uh, thank you for joining us. Doesn't that make you just feel good down to your toes, Azzie?

Azariah: Yass queen, give it to us, give it all to us. I love that.

Daniel: Well, we love you Tabitha, and we're so glad that you, uh, went and shared that with us on And you guys can do the same. We'll be right back after this message with the scripture of the day.

Azzie it's that time for the scripture of the day [repeat 3x]. It's soul food. You should just be quiet with it.

Azariah: Wow.

Daniel: No, the fact that you actually like attempted to beat box is just Sad and appropriating, but we're going to move on. Um, [00:08:00] this, um, this scripture of the day is the soul food that we need, maybe not that song, but, um, tell us about Matthew.

Azariah: Matthew chapter 11 verse 19- the son of man came eating and drinking and beatboxing and they say: look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors. Yet, wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

Daniel: Oh see, well, we do got good deeds. Um, look, it's time for another queer Christian Saint episode. Now we've gotten to talk about Saint dolly Parton. We've Sainted Tammy Faye and Betty White. And now it's time to canonize yet another queer Saint. Yes. Let's talk about Saint Lonnie Frisbee.

Azariah: Okay. I been wanting to talk about Lonnie Frisbee and the Jesus movement. [00:09:00] It's been awhile.

Daniel: You're the one who brought Lonnie Frisbee to light for me. And honestly, this was in our early research, before we started the pod, we were watching a Lonnie Frisbee documentary, and we were like into it. And honestly it really sort of created the perspective of Bible wondering as opposed to Bible studying for me.

Azariah: And I'm excited for you to get into this. And I learned about it through our mutual friend, Ben, Ben Finn, and lonnie Frisbee has impacted me as a queer Christian, a free loving altered state kind of fella. You know, knowing that like my parents got saved as a result of the Jesus movement, my first radio internship was with a Christian rock radio station that was owned by Calvary chapel, which Calvary chapel only exists today because of Lonnie Frisbee.

Daniel: There's like a Calvary chapel Boulevard not even too far from my house right now.

Azariah: Probably, it was a worldwide movement. [00:10:00]

Daniel: Yeah. So the Jesus movement, just to touch on it just a little bit. So in the seventies, there was this huge movement of people coming to Christ through, um, through this progressive movement of young people.

Azariah: Yeah. Lonnie Frisbee. They describe it as the Jesus movement was like, God set up kindling, you know, all over the world, right? And Lonnie was the match and he was just a dynamic, engaging personable person. And he hung out with the hippies.

Daniel: That was this thing is everyone kind of just like the hippies were smelly and didn't wear shoes and they were kind of like, they didn't want to read about war, man, and they were trying to like stay away from all of that stuff. And he, they were sort of a really hard group of people to reach, uh, you know, the authorities had a hard time reaching them, like elders had a hard time reaching them, people had hard time reaching them, but Lonnie Frisbee was able to get to those folks. He was able to get to those folks.

Azariah: Yeah. And calvary chapel was a dying church, [00:11:00] just a one, one church in orange county. And it was a dying congregation and they saw. Chuck Smith, the pastor of the church, I forget how he met Lonnie Frisbee, but they ended up joining forces and Lonnie brought in the young hippies and, uh, brought in really the spirit into the church. And is the reason why Calvary chapel is now a worldwide denomination instead of just one dying congregation.

Daniel: You know, it's just a really good time to talk about Lonnie Frisbee because since his death day is coming up soon and he died on March 12th, 1993. So we're really close to his death anniversary.

Azariah: Yeah. And in honor of Saint Lonnie, we should take our shoes off, drop some acid and dance around a bonfire naked because that's what Lonnie would want.

Daniel: Done already, did that already.

Azariah: That's my morning ritual.

Daniel: So first off, I think of the saints that [00:12:00] we've done so far-, he may not be as well-known as some of the other ones, so tell me a little bit more about this Lonnie Frisbee guy.

Azariah: Okay. Here's the basics. Lonnie Ray Frisbee was an evangelist missionary artist and the original hippie preacher of the early seventies jesus people movement. I'm going to give some historical information about his life, but if you want to learn more, there is a 2007 documentary titled Frisbee: the life and death of a hippie preacher. I believe you can rent it streaming on Amazon prime. It's well worthwhile to learn about this super queer Christian movement.

Daniel: Now you can watch Frisbee: the life and death of a hippie preacher. Uh, you know, I'm looking at a photo of him right now, and I need to ask one thing. Did Lonnie Frisbee become the model for white Jesus? Because that's a pretty, pretty white Jesus looking face.

Pretty much

uh, you know, he's got that white Jesus look about him, like sorta like like, uh, like I'm, [00:13:00] I'm a little more of like a Jonathan van ness, but like a little more, you know, mysterious.

Azariah: Yeah, his long hair, the long beard. Yeah. All of it. Lonnie was in San Francisco during the famous 1967 summer of love. It was wild and this was a sexual liberation moment. And we had a preacher in the middle of it all.

Daniel: But Saint lonnie, wasn't just a preacher in the middle of it. I mean, that sounds like those preachers that show up at private events just to hold signs and yell at us through bullhorns about how awful we are. But he was really there in the middle doing all of the things, like, all, you know, of the people in the culture and the drugs and the love.

Azariah: Saint lonnie was also a nudist. He was a vegetarian and he was a hippie. All of those are terms he used to describe himself.

Daniel: He was getting attention and winning awards for his paintings and he was dancing and doing drugs and prancing and [00:14:00] all the free love all while he was preaching Jesus to the masses.

Azariah: And he was a powerful speaker and preacher, but he was also just so real. He turned the hippie movement into his evangelism.

Daniel: Yeah. Today we look at worship production values, you know, like, like I said, there's a big church here that has a crane camera that like flies over the audience. Um, you know, there's lights and the bands, you know, these are all a reflection of our culture so that worship feels like a rock concert. Well, Saint Lonnie also did that in the sixties and seventies. He was reflecting the culture around him and still preaching the gospel. So I also think that today we have Christian versions of secular things. There's Christian death metal, Christian plumbers with Christian plumber crack and Christian movies. But Lonnie Frisbee was someone who could find God in his own culture and in his own context.

Azariah: Yeah. It reminds me of like, [00:15:00] like the drag shows that are happening in churches now where it's reflecting the culture around us, you know?

Daniel: Times are changing.

Azariah: Yeah. And a few of Saint Lonnie's contemporaries were Chuck Smith, the pastor of that dying congregation in orange county of Calvary chapel and John Wimber. And I'm going to say the uncomfortable truth. They were struggling pastors of tiny churches until Lonnie Frisbee came along and brought the holy spirit to their ministries, Chuck Smith and John Wimber learned from Saint lonnie how to listen to, and respond to the promptings of the spirit. Saint lonnie taught them a new way to understand scripture and theology.

Daniel: The entire history you will hear about the Jesus movement and Calvary chapel are because Saint Lonnie brought the holy spirit there. Millions of American evangelicals and charismatics have been impacted as a result.

Azariah: [00:16:00] Yes. And he not only launched Calvary chapel as a worldwide movement, he also launched the vineyard church, which is a worldwide denomination as well. And Lonnie still gets a lot of credit for using the Jesus movement to advance Christianity, but he was also, and we haven't mentioned this yet- one of us, a homosexual.

Daniel: Whaat?, see, I was so shocked right now at that information, actually, I'm not at all because I saw the documentary and this is an episode of queer Saints, but I was, but I did, I was shocked when I heard it. See now, yes, as a teen Saint Lonnie got into drag. Uh, he was known in what was called the gay underground. Now, remember y'all this is before Stonewall. This is like gay before Stonewall.

Azariah: And as co-leaders would start to try to discredit him when his affairs with men were made known, I watched a two and a half hour autobiography on Lonnie Frisbee. It's available [00:17:00] on YouTube. It was done by Calvary Chapel.

Daniel: He created it?

Azariah: Well, it was really a taping of the event launching a three book autobiography on Lonnie Frisbee done by Calvary chapel. So done from their perspective with their white washing.

Daniel: So biography. Not an autobiography.

Azariah: Yes.

Daniel: So maybe a lot of it was, uh, how he had it. He was, he was filming something to be that, but then they edited it. So it's, it's a semi autobiography right?

Azariah: Yes. I guess

Daniel: I'm just wondering, I'm just wondering, because I, you know, all the footage that I have seen of Lonnie has been fascinating. He seemed like a gentle creature and like just a good person. And he did look like Jesus. So when he would stand up and like a group of hippies and speak, when there was something over to him on television, once and I was just like wow, he was getting a lot of attention for just his... you know, he reminded me, there was this guy in the nineties. Um, if anyone else here, um, is of my generation of generation Y there was a guy in the [00:18:00] nineties who won the MTV, want to be a DJ contest named Jesse. And he was like real skinny, and he wore like a million pieces of jewelry. And he was just like this like charismatic and like kind of adorable little hippy dude. And he ended up like, it was really weird. He was up against Dave Holmes, who is like, he ended up Dave Holmes is so like, he's also queer, but so knowledgeable about music and the music and people's discographies and songwriters that even though Dave Holmes did not, he lost to this guy, Jesse, the MTV want to be a DJ contest that they still hired Dave Holmes anyway, to be a DJ. And Dave Holmes is now the co-host of the homophelia podcast. This guy, Jesse was so charismatic that, and, unapologetically stupid. Almost like the kind of character like Paris Hilton was playing on like simple life that like, he was, but not like rich, but like in the hippie version. And he was so like, you guys, like, it's be great [00:19:00] to be here, like, and he was just, but he was so adorable that like American just like fell in love with him. And when I saw Lonnie Frisbee get up, he wasn't as like, you know, he was more intelligent and more grounded, but like he had that thing, you know? That like it factor that people had had. I thought it was so incredible to see him, uh, be that way and be that way and just have that kind of charisma.

Azariah: Yeah. Like I mentioned earlier in this two and a half hour YouTube documentary about the books that Calvary chapel produced on Lonnie Frisbee's life, they talk about how, you know, God set up the kindling fire or the wood around the world and Lonnie was the match that lit it, right? Well, it all started, it all started with a trip to Copenhagen and it was five guys. So I really feel like this episode should be called five guys go to Copenhagen. So it was five guys. And the way it was described was a [00:20:00] honeymoon. The founder of vineyard church was very close to Lonnie and he called it his honeymoon with Lonnie, this trip. And while he's telling this story, he tries to discredit the rumors that Lonnie was gay. And he does it by refuting that like being gay is not even an option. So like how can he be gay when gay isn't real, basically.

Daniel: This was a church. So Calvary chapel was this church that was designed for hippies and people doing drugs and part of this free love movement, but they just couldn't handle that lonnie Frisbee was gay? Like that was too far for them.

Azariah: Yeah. But Lonnie Frisbee also built Calvary chapel, as we stated. And he made it what it is.

Daniel: You're going to have to tell us a little bit more about Calvary chapel and what it was.

Azariah: Okay. Well, Calvary chapel was because of Saint lonnie Frisbee, the epicenter [00:21:00] of charismatic evangelism in the sixties and seventies. It was designed as a counter to the button down, uptight dress up for Sunday churches. And this was a place for people with no shoes and who hadn't taken a shower, but back to Saint lonnie. He did eventually contract HIV. He died for complications with aids in 1993. And at his funeral, Chuck Smith, the founder of the pastor of Calvary chapel preached that Frisbee was a spiritual son and said he was a Samson like figure.

Daniel: Well, he wasn't exactly like a muscle daddy. I mean, he wasn't like tied to a pillar for all of us to look at it. I mean, isn't that kind of like what a Samson type guy who was?

Azariah: Well, not quite, I think more, a metaphor for like, he had his weakness, right? And his weakness was being gay. And, uh, and when he gave into that weakness, it zapped him of his [00:22:00] strength, right, and was the cause of his downfall. But it was just a nice way to say that Saint lonnie's ministry while calling him a victim of his own struggles and temptations, um, you know, like being a gay man, so.

Daniel: Weeping for elders once again. You know, um, so in their minds he can't be effective in the ministry because he's gay.

Azariah: Yeah. And in their minds, they justify it like he's not gay because being gay just doesn't exist, you know? And it does. But folks called him out for it, especially the fact of criticizing the man at his own funeral. It actually became something of a debate that was happening at the funeral.

Daniel: And this was happening in 1993. The stigma around HIV was still so strong then, and I'm sure that they were still talking about aids as a punishment from God or some other such bullshit, leo.

Azariah: When I was watching this documentary, I could tell that these [00:23:00] people truly loved and care for Lonnie. And these are also people that I think, understand the holy spirit and understand the promptings of the spirit, but fail in the sense that they limit the spirits still, and don't allow themselves to see the fullness of how God can express himself in humanity, even through sexuality. And so I just hope that their hearts will kind of open up eventually and allow them selves to let Lonnie be remembered for who he was, because I empathize with so much with Lonnie, because he was probably someone who was like one of us that knew who he was, but didn't have the chosen family that we know of to let him know that who he is is okay, and that he can operate all of his gifts just as he is, and still just be as [00:24:00] powerful magnetic for the Lord as he ever was. So in a sign of true sainthood, Frisbee forgave those who tried to discredit him before he died.

Daniel: That's lovely. You know, if Lonnie Frisbee started the Jesus movement, can we say that he started the Yass Jesus movement because it's what we, it's what we have here kind of like, I mean, honestly, like, and, um, how exciting.

Azariah: Yeah. He's, I mean, he's, he's a catalyst for so much. He's... the Jesus movement is the reason why we have Christian music today. It's why it's an industry today. It's why so much of what evangelicalism is today. Uh, and I think if Lonnie and that movement would have done the homework and would have been a little bit more sensitive to the spirit, that it could be a place for LGBTQ people today and it's getting there and, and we've had to create our own space in [00:25:00] our own movement, but, you know, um, I think it's, it's something that's ...we're on our way there. Am I making sense, Danny, are you with me?

Daniel: You are making sentence beautiful. And we sense and it's a new Saint Saint Lonnie Frisbee. Yass, how awesome. So for our tithe a love offering charity act of good. Tell em about it, Azzie.

Azariah: it's been a little hard to recommend a good charity to support and honor Saint lonnie Frisbee. You can go find a website,, which is connected to Freedom Crusade. They are publishing books about Lonnie Frisbee, but are also partnering with some pretty strong anti LGBTQ leaders. But it is a good, uh, resource, if you want first hand stories about Lonnie, but just know that they're are white washing who he was.

Daniel: Because of that, we cannot in good conscience tell you to donate there, you know, instead of making a donation to, I don't know, a funny queer sex, positive non slut-shaming [00:26:00] podcast, maybe a little bit inspired by him. Think about it. I mean, we have a Patrion and we would love your support. You may have followers, but if your followers are not actively engaging with each other, and learning from each other and like vibing regularly, then you don't have a community. So please reach out to us, be our community and make the reason we have one. We just want to know who you are and we want to feel your presence, uh, and also song and act of praise. We want you to spread the love to other queer Christian music and artists. And we want you to hear them here first. So if you're a queer Christian musician and you to play one of your songs, send us an email to with a link to where we can find an MP3 file of the song that you want us to consider.

Y'all please bow your head in prayer unless you're driving because Jesus can actually take the wheel. Uh, father, God, we want to give thanks for queer Christian Saint lonnie Frisbee for the legacy that he has left behind for Christianity and for queer people. And for all of those counter cultural free love, free spirit [00:27:00] people who still want to love God and have God in their lives who want to live a life, a fulfilled sexual and thriving being, but still honor you. And so listen, sheriff, his spirit and let us use it in our podcast community. Make me share Jesus with just as much joy and passion that Saint Lonnie did. And we'd like to give a prayer of thanks, uh, especially, uh, this episode for Canada and France, just banning conversion therapy outright. Such good news.

Azariah: Yass, Jesus for banning conversion therapy. And give us that some of that mantle of Lonnie Frisbee. And we also ask that you melt Franklin Graham's cold, cold heart. Turn it to your love, lord. Let him get a little bit of that Lonnie Frisbee spirit in him as well, so he can end his persecution of queer people in the U S and around the world.[00:28:00]

And we also pray for Jacob's job search. Let him find a job that meets his needs, touches his great joy and meets the needs of the world. And we pray for Tabitha for her joy at joining our community and continuing to share the love of Jesus as a beautiful homosexual.

Daniel: Made lovingly, made exactly the way Tabitha is. Um, and, and we want to pray also for all of the people listening right now in our community. We want to thank them for their support and for the message that they send us. And we want to wish them all a happy and healthy lives.

Azariah: Amen. Yes. Amen.

Daniel: Amen, Azzie, won't he do it? I feel filled. Don't you feel filled?

Thank you all for listening to another episode of Yass Jesus. You can find us on social media @yassjesuspod or on our wesbite at Now, if you like the show, please consider becoming a monthly sponsor, [00:29:00] we need it. Uh, you can find the link to do so in the show notes. And if you haven't yet, please leave us a review or share us with a friend. Doing so helps us like a Frisbee fly to new people and keep this show running.

Azariah: The hundred dollars a month sponsorship includes us coming to your house to dance around a bonfire naked. Also, you can leave an audio prayer requests or praise report on our website, We would love to share your voice and your prayers on the show, so drop us a line or send us recording on

Daniel: Yeah. Send us your praise reports, prayer request, episode ideas, guest ideas, or even just a hello, toss me that Frisbee. We want to hear from you. Yass,, Jesus is hosted by me, Danny Franzese and as always my field friend...

Azariah: hippy dippy Azariah Southworth, man. Music, sound editing and all things audio are done by Chris Heckman. Our show is produced by the freakin deacon, Ross Murray and Meredith Paulley. [00:30:00] Special thanks to Sophie Serrano and Sam Isfan.

Daniel: Yass, Jesus is brought to you by Audity. Audity execs are Ryann Lauckner, Jessica Bustillos and Steve Michaels. We are streaming and screaming and Frisbee-ing on apple podcast, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Azariah: And remember, god loves you just as you are, even you Franklin Graham.

Daniel: So keep praising the Lord, y'all. See you next time.

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