Consider how this virtual parish began. One introverted outcast mumbles to himself online and attracts a few others like himself. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew it couldn’t be back into the mainstream. The longer I kept at it and the farther I went on my path, the more sense it made. That meant that I had something to say about moving away from the mainstream.
At some point it caught on with quite a few others. It became obvious there were others with a similar yearning for something different from the mainstream. But I kept bumping into problems with the old instincts trying to drag me back, so my reflexes kept making false starts on what this was to become. I got some bruises from those mistakes. Somehow, a number of you have stayed with me. I can’t promise that what I envision now is any better, but it’s certainly different.
One of our signature differences is a serious effort to reclaim what was given to us back in the New Testament times. We do what we can to ditch all the false assumptions and just study what life was like for the disciples. Then we try to figure out what that means for us, because it’s painfully obvious our context is quite different. Instead of getting stuck on the particulars of the first century Christian activities, we are trying to understand the soul of their mission.
And I’ve tried to make it clear my answers don’t have to be your answers. As always, I warn that the teaching here is more meta-religion, a serious effort to study what religion should be, how it’s supposed to work. I like to think of it as not reinventing the wheel, but choosing how to design wings instead. In my mind, the single biggest failure of the religion around us is a bad approach, asking the wrong questions.
The gospel of Christ was quite new in the first century after His Ascension. So the idea of missionary journeys to spread the message was the obvious answer. People had never heard, nor had they seen the miracles that went with it. But to be honest, it didn’t explode in most places. The relative number of Christians remained tiny in the Mediterranean Basin. Indeed, a significant element in growing beyond that tiny number was a compromise with worldly ways. Part of that was the fault of Judaizer influences, recreating the failures of Judaism that amounted to perverting the true Old Testament religion into something else.
So we went from a tiny minority called by genuine faith, to a massive conversion based on civil law. And it is this brand of Christian religion that has most certainly spread itself across the globe. We live in a time when virtually every human has heard some version of the gospel. Any different version is discounted pretty quickly, simply because there is a proliferation of highly varied “gospels” out there. It takes a special arrogance to pretend yours is the only true version, and I have no interest in going there.
I’m not interested in using the methods of fallen humanity to spread our message. There’s enough of that crap already. It’s not elitism, except in the sense that only God can bring new souls to our parish. We live in a very strange time, a world radically different from the New Testament. What we do here is about as public as it can be already. Sending missionaries is merely an anachronism, when the message by itself travels to places we could never go. Granted, it’s pretty much overwhelmed by all the other noise people are making, but it’s there.
To my knowledge, none of us live close enough to another member of the parish to have face-to-face fellowship. Yet several of you have already begun spreading the word simply by living it where you are. Right now, most of the world is distracted. Something will have to get their attention, and we know from history that it usually requires some kind of tribulation before people start hearing the cry of their hearts.
So this first planting of seeds of faith happens to be a bunch of mavericks and loners; very few of us are extroverts. If we were, we would not have come to the point of soul-searching and introspection so that we could hear how we don’t belong to the mainstream. Extroverts just don’t think that way. Yep, God chose as His first wave a bunch of cranks and weirdos. I have no doubt our way of faith will spread sooner or later, but it’s simply not in our nature to go out and campaign for attention. God can add people like that later.
Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that we the norm for what our message produces. We have no business trying to make Radix Fidem something that reflects our peculiarities, as if someone joining later can’t add some attributes that we don’t have. Let our distinguishing features be the power of our new and ancient faith in the heart-led way. That kind of change is already very radical compared to the mainstream. Let that define us.
When tribulation hits, an awful lot of people are going to question whether their religion is sufficient for the needs of their convictions. Some portion of those who start to question that way are going to find us, either online or individually in real life. God alone knows what Radix Fidem will look like in years to come. Don’t be afraid. Just keep your fellowship boundaries where they have to be and give thanks when folks step out on their own.