It’s a parallel society.
Keep in mind that in most biblical usage, “the world” is the fallen human society without redemption. It’s the same Creation, but with a blinding veil of concrete reality, eating from the Forbidden Fruit of Knowledge and not from the Tree of Life. It is nature held captive by the Curse of the Fall; it’s the natural world dominated by moral blindness. It’s a world in which nature is largely inert and unstructured, and requires conquest and taming by human effort. It’s a false construct of human dominion with no useful moral discernment.
Those who follow Christ were supposed to infiltrate the world, not colonize it. We don’t want to take over because it’s not worth having and it cannot be fixed. Our only use for the world is a place to manifest His glory. We strive to live by that higher awareness, which on this blog is referred to as heart-led living. We are in communion with nature and see it as self-aware, active and alive with the character of our Creator. At the same time, we view all things in light of His moral character. To us, He is a real Person we get to know, not some abstraction that has to be taught.
Thus, we are in the world, but not of it. Our hope is to manifest divine glory well enough that God uses it to awaken other souls to a higher awareness.
It’s quite possible you’ll encounter folks who engage the heart-mind but don’t have Christ. They aren’t Spirit-born, but manifest that radically different sense of awareness about reality. Unless you hang out with some genuine pagan believers, you probably won’t see too many of these folks. Of course, they also exist in a few small pockets where it’s the traditional background in some parts of the world. But they do exist and are out there in the world.
Here in America, it’s more likely you’ll run into a lot of Spirit-born folks who aren’t heart-led. It’s a mess. They range all over the place in terms of moral discernment because virtually none of them have a conscious notion that there is such as a thing as heart-led. Further, their training and education tends to make them hostile to the idea. They still believe it’s good and necessary to defend faith rationally, instead of letting faith defend itself.
I’m not telling you there will never be a time to remain aloof and relatively withdrawn from the world. However, it requires a very well tuned moral discernment to realize when conditions make that necessary. I’m certain living in the US these days is not one of those times. Instead, we should take seriously the notion of creating an alternative, parallel society with distinguishing features. We should not withdraw into our own little world, an artificial construct that allows us to pretend the world doesn’t exist under the Curse of the Fall. We aren’t organizing to take over.
Yet, there’s a certain amount of this that is private, just as you would expect a family to keep some stuff behind closed doors. It’s not a secret, but without privacy, we are not human. There are parts of what we can and should do in believer’s communion that should be private, just as there are things between God and each individual member that cannot be shared amongst each other.
But Western Christianity has shoved far too much under that cover of privacy and created a very dysfunctional mini-society that is hardly less corrupt than what’s outside the walls. In many ways, churches are just mirrors of the rest of the world with restrictions, a supposedly better version. Given that you and I are members of a virtual parish, where we scarcely have any two of us meeting in the flesh, we cannot afford much privacy at all. Sure, write those emails, text messages or make those phone calls. But our Creator has programmed us to need a measure of physical contact to get the most out of shared faith. So with us all being so widely scattered over the face of this planet, we hardly know where to start. What we do know is that we cannot do what’s already been done.
If you understand heart-led communion, then you can probably see how this can at least begin. We can share things the world will never understand. It won’t matter how clinical I make my descriptions of things, without actually experiencing it yourself, you’ll never get it. But if you do get it, there is a strength of bond that we cannot share with anyone outside of the heart-led life. This places on each of us the burden of finding our way along this task of glorious living until God sees fit to add to our numbers in meat space.
You don’t have to join this little club, but what I want to do as elder is create a space under divine covering, a moral space without physical restrictions, that becomes our shared identity. I want folks who might have encountered any of us just once to recognize others with the same heart-led life that they might encounter elsewhere. More, I want each of us to be able to recognize each other should we ever stumble across ourselves out there in the world.
Rather than making wild promises, I’m simply going to state that I believe this is how we are wired to operate. Don’t just stand under the shadow of my covering as elder, but extend it so that it’s no longer just mine. Don’t mimic me in word of deed, but see the unifying power we all share. I want to be as inclusive as possible without losing the meaning of covering. By all means, let me recognize or ordain some of you as fellow-elders. If you can get enough heart-led folks in one physical space, we can start ordaining pastors, too. And you don’t need me there to do it; this thing works by itself, if what I believe has any validity. So I’m asking readers to give this some prayer and contemplation.
How about it? Can we create a distinctive parallel society — by whatever nickname folks decide to use — and become recognizable in the world as being consistent in offering a witness of God’s power? Look, this is no franchise; you need not share anything material with me at all. Nor am I looking for fame, so you need not mention my name ever. And if you cannot see how it’s not some power trip, I can’t help you at all. But I’d love to hear back from you. The one thing I admit I need is a little fellowship, a sense that there are some folks out there who see value in this witness and want it for themselves.
And this isn’t a call to fill up the comment section for the sake numbers. If all you have is “me too” that’s okay, but what I’m hoping is that some of you who haven’t commented much in the past could respond with just a few words indicating that we are prayer partners in this thing. Ask questions, too. More than anything, I’d love to visit your blogs or other social media accounts and find your witness shining that same glory, so post a link. But the one thing that we really need is for those who are in on this to know they are not alone. It’s not just me; this is to make yourself known to everyone else who hangs around this parish. I believe it’s time that some of us start finding other members who might be within driving distance.
Here and on Kiln blog (edit: now closed) I’ll be making some effort to provoke your hearts and minds to consider what I mean by building a parallel society in the world.