We don’t suggest that no one else is called, only that we know for sure God has called us.
We have a mission from God, a mission that has stood since the expulsion from Eden, to establish a culture and community that returns back to Eden. We follow the path of Christ. Others may have done so in the past, but we see little evidence of it. The churches around us are not very different from the rest of the world. We find ourselves with no precedent to follow, no culture to keep alive, but one was must build from scratch.
As the first generation of this call from God to establish a new and ancient covenant community, our evangelism and missions will be focused on inviting people to become heart-led Christian mystics. I’ve said it before — “Christian mysticism” is the most honest label we can use for the kind of religion we profess. It’s not like other brands of mysticism, but it does meet the standard definition:
Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. Mysticism is not so much a doctrine as a method of thought…. The biblical dimension refers to “hidden” or allegorical interpretations of Scriptures.
I quibble with the term “allegorical” in preference for “parabolic” but that’s not the point. Our reading of Scripture isn’t “hidden” in terms of secrecy, but hidden by the failure of people to embrace the heart-led path of subjecting intellect to faith. It’s in plain sight, but hidden by blindness. Cerebral religion that bows the knee to Aristotelian logic is not biblical. The Bible comes to us from an Ancient Near Eastern mystical outlook; the ancient Hebrew people would snicker at the idea of “propositional truth.”
But the key to proceeding into a mystical approach is recognizing that the Hebrew people believed that the convictions of faith in the heart should trump intellect. They considered the heart the seat of faith and conviction, a literal sensory organ that could sense directly the invisible realm of moral truth. Jehovah spoke to the heart, not the mind. Thus, our evangelism fights the lie of Western mythology that makes the heart a mere repository of sentiment and superstition. In the Bible, the heart knows ultimate reality in ways the brain can never understand.
Thus, it is by far the most pragmatic approach to life possible. We do not become spacey, but we do have a certain detachment. We reject the world’s ways, but because there is no hope of fixing this world, we don’t crusade for changes. There is nothing we can do to help people until they become aware of their need for what we have. This has nothing to do with emergency response, but with how we decide what constitutes an emergency. We know that our best hope is to be there in the real world they experience, but demonstrating a divine mastery of reality that is beyond their reach.
So we are the people who will talk to reality as a friend because our hearts tell us that Creation is alive, sentient and willful. The heart is a sensory organ itself and part of sensing the spiritual plane means understand just how literal it is when Scripture says Creation cries out, groans for us to recognize ultimate reality, and sings in celebration with the saints. So we talk to trees and they answer to our hearts, along with rocks and grass and birds and insects and all things God has made.
So we naturally seek to spend time with the unfallen Creation around us to restore our sense of divine justice. Then we go back into to the fallen world of humanity with the renewed clarity and power to live that divine justice in the midst of chaos and failure. We get away from people only to be alone with our God as He calls to us from Creation. He calls for us to shine His glory into a fallen world. Our shalom is our message.
Yes, our message to the world is very strange in their eyes. We need to get used to this and not hesitate to witness the truth. A critical part of our mission is forthrightly broadcasting our weirdness so they aren’t surprised by just how alien our faith is to their approach to things. The majority will be put off by this, because in any given context, the majority are on the way to Hell. There is nothing we can do to change that; it’s always a complete miracle of God when someone gets off that path. We have to wait on Him to prod some soul to be receptive. We need to be ready to share with them the only thing that can reconnect them to Eden.
We aren’t trying to save the world, only helping a few folks escape it.