Very few people in this world have what it takes to stand alone — this, despite a cultural mythology admiring and promoting it. Indeed, such stand-alone individuals are usually broken in some way. It’s not the norm.
The Bible assumes a basic human need for communion; it’s fundamental to our design. We might not find much communion, and we dare no compromise morally to get it, but a critical element in revelation is communion with God and His Creation. The Fall complicated things, but didn’t change the basic design element.
Our problem as heart-led believers is that most of our world is deceive and refuses to do communion right. Take this discussion for example. First, we notice that the author expresses a common longing for fellowship around things that truly matter to him. We all know instinctively that we won’t accomplish anything that matters by working alone. Second, there’s a reasoned awareness that this won’t be easy. In order for it work, you have to avoid the failures of everything that didn’t work. So the author proposes gathering elements of what seems to have worked better. Third, there is a distinct purpose that holds the group together.
It’s this third element where he gets everything right and wrong at the same time. Maybe you caught the reference to the Pashtuns. That’s a tribal nation residing mostly in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. While it’s considered a linguistic group, their sense of cohesion and resistance to outside pressure is legendary. Virtually all the Taleban are Pashtun. And maybe you can discern how he completely misses the point of how they retain such a strong sense of identity that frustrates all their enemies.
The Pashtuns adhere to something called “Pashtunwali” — the Way of the Pashtun. If you read academic explanations, you’ll come up with all the wrong answers. Western scholars generally do not recognize the heart as a sensory organ, much less as the physical locus of faith and commitment. Yet it is painfully obvious that descriptions of Pashtunwali point to a heart-led culture so common in the Ancient Near East.
The author also cites Hells Angels, so it’s not as if his dream is impossible, but he’s missing the whole point. It seems obvious his focus is on the effects, not the root nature of how such groups come to exist. The Pashtunwali is a covenant of the heart; its goal is the thing itself, insofar as we can say it has a goal. Criminal gangs like Hells Angels are another manifestation of covenant communion, though a very poor one. Not that they are criminal, but because its whole nature is wrapped up in Western moral values. As such, a gang is inherently oppressive and damaging to the heart-mind, because it assumes there can be no heart-mind. The criminal element is merely a matter of choosing to endure one form of oppression (the gang itself) to reap the benefits of being an insider, as opposed to suffering oppression as a citizen on the outside of official government, which acts like a gang.
An inherent problem here is that opposing gangs infiltrate one another. Their primary vulnerability is their fundamental purpose in seeking material advantage. The author’s search for a gang of sorts invites infiltration by its nature. The Pashtunwali’s greatest power is that the covenant is the whole point; it doesn’t rest on measurable results reaching toward some goal. Everything the Pashtun do to retain their identity is merely a manifestation of their deep moral commitment that transcends the effects. The author’s proposed virtual gang has none of that, and as soon as it starts manifesting any useful effects at all, it will be infiltrated.
It is impossible to infiltrate a heart-led covenant group. You can’t do it without taking some kind of heart-led path yourself, and that changes the whole game. Infiltration of a genuine covenant community forces you to compromise your heart-led moral existence in order to fake it. You’ll notice that when I suggest we who are heart-led infiltrate heart-less institutions, we have no trouble being open and honest, but our listerners aren’t going to hear what we say. We aren’t decieving them; they are already fundamentally deceived in ways we simply cannot remedy.
A heart-led community will hear you. Without total open honesty, you have to surrender the power of the heart-mind, and they will know it. You can have a heart full of lies, but that disables all the power of resolve that carries beyond death. It’s that very power that underlies all the admirable features of covenant communities. You can commit to a lie and willingly die for something, but you cannot commit to a lie and live with full power of conviction; that’s in the nature of reality itself. Significant departure from the fundamental nature of God’s moral character takes you out of heart-land. The whole thing includes an element of proximity; precision is a foreign concept in God’s revelation.
The Devil has no counterfeit for genuine faith. All he has is deception and perversion. Yes, the Pashtuns are Muslim and are deceived about who God is, but that seems to be one issue where our Creator is rather flexible. Proximity to His moral Law on everything else seems to work well enough in this fallen world, as it still weakens Satan’s hand.
The US cannot defeat the Pashtuns as it is, because the US has nothing in the moral realm. This is why we have little to fear from the coming destruction of America. While there are plots aplenty to take over the system, none of them are based in moral reality. You have to believe a lie just to want that kind of power. Genuine power in this world comes only from not caring much about this world.