Imagine it: A community of folks living on some rural land. Nothing kinky, just sharing some space and working the land in harmony with nature, and maybe some folks working in other places. They educate their own children, worship together and share like family. Their kids grow up in the heart-led way and develop a wholly different consciousness from the rest of humanity.
I have no idea if this is even feasible, but I wonder what kind of world it would be for children who grow up that way. It’s not the idea of withdrawing completely from the world, but of warding off the secular world’s demand we sacrifice ourselves and our children to Molech. It’s pulling away far enough for shalom to grow and bear moral fruit. In other words, it’s not so much we have a command from God to hide away, but the sheer scale and depth of perversion in the world that demands it. And we would surely recognize that and prepare ourselves to face it with divine strength, not simply hiding away from it.
The original image of having a witness to the fallen world was not what most modern evangelical Christians imagine it. The Bible does not envision a bunch of individuals, but a community of faith as a whole that lives the mission. The original mission of revelation was delivered to a nation. The wording itself in the Hebrew language focuses on Abraham not as a single man, but as the head of a large household living in shalom. As the succeeding generations were born, it became a whole covenant nation. It was never exclusive in the sense of clannish rejection of outsiders; the Covenant always held the door open to people being adopted into the family.
We have to surrender that “rugged individual” imagery, the foundation of Western society. God didn’t design us like that; it’s a pagan myth. We were designed for communal living and interdependence. All the rest of Creation lives linked together like that. It requires a fallen nature to imagine wanting isolation. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the image of a powerful hero leading a group of adoring fans is just another form of isolation, but with slaves. The biblical shepherd never sees himself separate from the flock. Their welfare is his welfare.
But think about it a moment: What would it have been like to grow up heart-led and fully communing with the natural world? What would it be like to grow up the instinctive trust in the Creator? It might not look all that different in one sense, given that so much of what humans do isn’t inherently sinful. What destroys is false motivation disconnected from the heart. What does it look like; what would be the differences between someone walking in the ways of this world as it is now, and the same person growing up as a living agent of shalom? Now picture a whole community like that.
I’m not much enthused by most of the dreams for a better future that you can find today. I doubt it would make much difference for our human existence if people were stronger or smarter or even wiser, so long as the reference point excludes the reckoning of the heart. But I find it very compelling to imagine a world where everything is just the same as it is now, but where some portion of the people grew up never knowing what it’s like to be without the leading of the conscious heart of faith.
Let’s pray that the Lord add to our number.