Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Summation of Jesus' Teaching

As many do, I will often put meaningful quotations on my Facebook status. Author and Organic Church spokesperson Neil Cole posted this on his Facebook Status today.
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." ~A. Einstein
This resonates with me especially when Java Journey is measured by conventional standards of "ministry" and "church." It's so difficult to tell some people that we don't have "members"; we don't take "attendance" - yet many lives are being transformed by our obedience to Christ and his commission.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kicking Basketballs

I'm reviewing the book "Church Turned Inside Out" by Linda Bergquist and Allan Karr for the Ministry in Motion website. As I was looking back through the pages, I reread something that serves as a powerful illustration of the cultural need we have to reevaluate our notions and mindsets.

This comes from chapter 7: "Designing in Culture."
...Alvin Toffler says, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot unlearn and relearn." Despite Jesus' teaching about love, humility, and service, this is a really difficult posture for many because we assume ourselves to be teachers rather than learners.

In the summer of 2006, Allan and his family spent a month in Spain. One week, Allan's children helped an American group with a basketball camp in an upscale Alcobendes neighborhood, just north of Madrid. That same week, the World Cup championships were being played in Germany, and Spain was in the championship hunt. The camp was being held in a futbol pitch converted into a basketball court, by adding portable hoops (goals). The Americans rolled out rubber basketballs and all the children started kicking them, taking shots at the soccer goals on the pitch. The Americans running the camp screamed, "Stop kicking the balls!" After a few minutes, the director of the camp called the children into a meeting and told them that it was against the rules of basketball. Allan asked another leader, "Why don't you just play soccer on the pitch; the goals are already there? The American leader said they couldn't play soccer because no one from their group knew how to teach soccer. Allan asked, "Why don't you let them teach you? You will still have the missionary contact you hope to have with them." The leader said, "We are the ones here to teach; we're supposed to be the experts."

...Proverbs 1:5 says, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning." Being a learner is the convergence of two qualities: humility and the understanding that in order to evolve into an indigenized servant of the people group, the people have much to teach the missionary about sharing the truth with contextual relevance.
When I think about designing in culture, I also think about how the landscape has changed drastically within my own lifetime. The need for adjusting our mindset and challenging our notions persists. We need to watch and learn.

In the "Church Planting" classes and seminars I have attended throughout my "career" - it was consistently taught that the best way to "grow" a "church" was to begin in a sprawling community (most often a large metropolitan suburb). From what I've observed, it takes a large amount of capital resources to commence, operate and maintain. But when the desired mushrooming effect occurs (most often from other churches), it seems to diminish the intimacy, cultural relevance and development of a Kingdom mindset. A very small percentage on the outside are drawn in, but the majority of everyday people drive by gazing at the clever marquee wondering what those people do in there every week. A pattern develops where 3 in 1 oil is needed for both the front door and the back door.

Many in our American culture today are kicking basketballs. Many are still screaming that it is against the rules.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Order Out of Order

How difficult is letting our "yes" be "yes" and our "no" - "no" ? Very difficult today. Authenticity is simple but very rigorous. Breaking it down, it involves the putting aside of self and the fear of what others may think about us (me). Sounds like the sneaky shroud of pride. How would I know? BTDT!

Jesus addresses his followers in Matthew 23 and dresses down those who serve as a negative example. When I peel the proverbial onion, I see more of myself in the latter than I do the former.

What makes it difficult is the cultural mind-set that surrounds us. Pretentiousness is an epidemic plague. But Jesus addresses that in Matthew 23 and in rather harsh fashion.

The picture above this post is that of Henry Martyn Robert. He invented the beauty that transformed into beast called "Robert's Rule of Order."

I know, I KNOW! We need guidelines to avoid chaos. That's all I hear when I take potshots at RR (can't put that second one backward). But when I read verses 16-22, All I can think of is the parliamentary gibberish I hear when I am present at official meetings.

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it."

I am presently experiencing the amazing spirit of cooperation - resulting in productivity - that comes about when like-minded people work on placing aside their pride and self-proposed will to allow God to accomplish divine desires. The "yes" "yes" - "no" "no" principle actually works. It just takes work.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A What Church?

I recently posted on Facebook that I joined the Organic Church Today network (which itself has a Facebook format). I've had many people do the Victrola dog head tilt when I've mentioned "Organic Church," but a long-time friend from high school days, had a response that made me "Lol."

Her post: "organic ~ like, you don't spray anything on it?" She later asked for a definition.

Another friend stated that he did not like the term "organic" since he had heard it used too often as a marketing ploy in reference to food and such by "self-absorbed people."

"Organic" has been a word and concept for longer than any trendish reference to it - just as "gay" was before the 1960s.

I believe the use of the concept in describing the effort to recapture the deeper purpose of God's intention for the Church is warranted. But I have also discovered that it is difficult to "define" what it means probably because of the challenging combination of a person's idea of "organic" coupled with a person's idea of "church."

I am thankful for the great effort done at the CrossLife website to define what cannot really be defined. Perhaps this is part of what Jesus meant in giving God's Kingdom a cryptic (woops! - stumbling block buzzword) *secretive* character.

This is not so much a definition. Instead, it serves somewhat as a manifesto; at least, a manifesto for CrossLife. We do not consider ourselves revolutionaries. We are certainly not the first people to question the status quo. We are, by far, not the first people to leave the institution of established religion. We are not the first to ignore long-held traditions of men while choosing, rather, to be led by a sincere desire to follow Christ alone. We are not the first to make many mistakes in a pioneering journey away from the acceptable and known, and into the freedom of the unknown. We are not at the forefront of any movement.1 We are not charismatic leaders with great hordes of followers. We are few, simple, normal, marginally educated, yet passionate lovers of God and people.

Now that we have cleared the air of clich├ęd platitudes, false impressions, and hollow humility, we can be very real.

First, and we think foremost, organic church is not reactionary, against-everything-traditional, or change-for-the-sake-of-change. It is not all about “doing” church outside of institutional structures such as buildings, budgets, programs, traditions, and hierarchical leadership. It is not about being different, better, or new. These are issues that tend to attract the most attention, but they are not central to the practice of organic forms of church. Organic church is not an attempt to avoid perceived wrongs, but is rather a significant, Spirit-lead moving of God toward “being” the church of God in real life.

Second, organic church is not a model. It is not a structure. It is not a system of actions that can be manipulated for a desired gain or outcome. It is not a scheme into which we plug people into for the purpose of making them into something else. It is not so much a way of “doing” church as it is the Way to “be” the church every day. It is a holistic approach to life, spirituality, and the Kingdom of God through a personal and communal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Third, it has become obvious to us that organic church is probably not for everyone, everywhere. While we believe our practices are direct applications of Scripture for our 21st Century setting, we find that many Christians reject some of these positions. Whether these reactions are substantiated by the Spirit or are just a reaction to anything perceived to be “different” is a matter of opinion. We are not here to convince, but only to share and follow God’s leadership in our lives. You must decide for yourself through Scripture and historical evidence whether these concepts represent the Truth or man-made fabrications.

Fourth, we don’t have a chip on our shoulder. We are not against institutional forms of church.2 While our ideas, values, practices, and often vocabulary stand in contrast to institutional expression, we believe ourselves to be a part of Christ’s collective family of the redeemed. We love our brothers and sisters in Christ and only hope to offer the world a candid view of what Jesus taught and the Way He lived. While few would debate the various post-third century, Constantinian structures adopted by most medieval and modern institutional churches, we are convinced that these systems often prevail as subtle substitutes for authentically living the Way of Jesus.

Finally, we, in no way, claim to have this whole thing figured out. We are in process. We are on a journey. We are discovering increasingly more the freedom Christ offers from sin, the trappings of the world system, and the religious bondage that holds many captive. We have much to learn. We claim no authority or exclusivity. God is working in and through His people all over the world to bring the Kingdom into our reality. We only offer ourselves to be a tool in His hands to accomplish His work.

So, what is organic church?3 Frank Viola4, an innovative organic thinker and practitioner, offers one of the best statements as to what organic church is and looks like practically:

“By ‘organic church,’ I mean a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of being constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic church life is a grass roots experience that is marked by face-to-face community, every member functioning, open-participatory meetings (opposed to pastor-to-pew services), non-hierarchical leadership, and the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ as the functional Leader and Head of the gatherings. Put another way, organic church life is the experience of the Body of Christ. In its purest form, it’s the fellowship of the Triune God brought to earth and experienced by human beings.”5

Organic forms of church life are appearing everywhere. They are as diverse as they are numerous. No single definition exists, which leads to a valid conclusion: organic church is not definable. The leading thinkers and practitioners of organic churches offer no methods to copy or systems to implement. The basic meaning of ‘organic’ offers some direction: natural. Something that is truly organic has not been manipulated by people in order to yield a particular outcome. True, organic church is simply the result of obeying the final command of Jesus:

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, NLT)

Jesus never said to go start churches. In fact, earlier in the Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus said,

“I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18, NLT)

Jesus clearly gave His disciples instructions to make disciples for His Kingdom, while He would be about the work of building His church. Jesus doesn’t need our systems, organizations, hierarchies of power, budgets, or any other institutional structures.

Be sure, this doesn’t mean that any random, free-for-all gathering of believers is considered a church. Organic doesn’t imply that no structure or organization exists. In fact, an overview of early church history in the book of Acts illustrates the developing organization of early churches. These churches were growing and multiplying at astronomical rates. By Acts 6:7 we can see that the number of Christ-followers had exploded and were indeed being multiplied, not just added. As organization was needed, churches made the appropriate choices. This organization wasn’t derived and forced; it was spontaneous and fit specific needs.6 One would expect that if the need for a particular structure no longer existed, that structure would be put aside. In like manner, as various forms of organization were needed they would be added with a specific purpose.7

History, however, reveals that structure after structure and tradition after tradition was added to church life with few, if any of them, being tossed aside when their usefulness concluded. Organic, spontaneous, Spirit-driven life was slowly and inadvertently replaced by layers of bureaucracy and tradition. These rigid structures replaced servant leadership with positional authority, free-will offerings with budget demands, spontaneous gatherings throughout the week with program-driven schedules of performance activities, the priesthood of all believers with a separated clergy who is hired by the church to produce spiritual goods for the consuming audience, and the list continues. While various factions and denominations developed their own versions of institutionalism, the effect was pretty much the same: only the few (the clergy) had a “special” calling to run the institution. This, in turn, left everyone else to occupy a pew and volunteer for programs.8

Today, we are convinced that God is breathing a fresh wind into the world. Some observe this development as a passing fad. Some see a turning away from the faith. Yet, many recognize this as a great opportunity to bring freshness to the cause of Christ.9 Some see the situation as the challenge of our generation to show the relevance of the Master who gave His life for the world 2,000 years ago. Our passion is to see people follow Christ into His work of expanding His Kingdom.

One thing is for certain, church is changing. For years culture wars have been waging within churches over dress codes, music styles, various programs, and budgetary issues. Many people have been caught in the crossfire and burned by situations outside of their control, often leaving a negative impression of church. Years of institutional struggles have left a new generation desperate for authenticity. From the ashes of unfortunate battles rises a cry to simplify. A fresh question has emerged: What can churches eliminate and still be the church of the New Testament? Church planters, pastors, and even ordinary Christians are asking this question in one way or another in ever-growing numbers. While the debate will always wage among theologians, we have come to understand that the church, at the cellular level, is simply a gathering of believers who seek to follow the Way of Jesus. Yet, this transition to simplicity is not easy, often becoming a great source of pain for those on the journey. Leaving that which is accepted is not popular. As Dresden James said,

“A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”10

We must not, however, throw caution to the wind. We must not gather up everything we don’t like about church, bundle it together, and toss it into the burn pile. We must be students of history. We must be clear about our objectives. We must be careful with our criticisms, and focus more on what Jesus Christ is calling us to be, rather than to be against. As stated earlier, organic church is not so much about what is better or worse organizationally, but rather concerns expressing the life of Christ in all that we do. Our focus must be on making and developing disciples of Christ. Let Jesus build His church. Let organization develop naturally without human manipulation to get the “results” we think are right. Let us break free from the institutional mold developed over the years, while remaining faithful to the Word of God.

This is but skimming the surface of what “organic church” is…
I hope someone comes up with a better word/term, but for now, I think "Organic" is very appropriate.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Most Interesting Question

A good friend of mine recently sent me this "Christian Quote of the Day (CQOD) from George Barna (Evangelism that Works - 1995). I'm not sure if I can answer the question, but it certainly makes me ponder the possibility.

It occurred to me that in our work with secular organizations, the leader shapes the heart and passion of the corporate entity. In our work with non-profit organizations, we have found the same principle to be operative. When it comes to the focus of the organization, the people who serve there tend to take on many of the core personality traits of the leader toward fulfilling the mandate of the organization. If this is true, and most churches seem to lack the fervor and focus for evangelism, is it reasonable to conclude that it may be because of the lack of zeal most pastors have for identifying, befriending, loving and evangelizing non-Christian people?

Interesting that "my job" starting out at a previous church was to pick this area ("Evangelism") up. Strange that it didn't really happen as "designed" and we wound up (just before I left and after a building went up) just being a vacuum for disgruntled consumers from other ecclesiastical venues.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ahead of the Growing Pack

I was just now introduced today to another "Ecclesiastical Recalibration" voice - one who has been around for awhile. This resourceful and insightful person is from Europe. His name is Wolfgang (obviously Deutch) Simson. Wolfgang is of Hungarian, German and Jewish descent, and is married to Mercy (Indian).

In 1998 (twelve years ago!) he published an insightful work that has been echoed in various writings since. It is called: "Fifteen Theses towards a Re-Incarnation of Church." The sentence the precedes the block of the theses is amazing prophetic.
God is changing the Church, and that, in turn, will change the world. Millions of Christians around the world are aware of an imminent reformation of global proportions. They say, in effect: "Church as we know it is preventing Church as God wants it."

1. Church is a Way of Life, not a series of religious meetings.

Before they where called Christians, followers of Christ have been called "The Way". One of the reasons was, that they have literally found "the way to live." The nature of Church is not reflected in a constant series of religious meetings lead by professional clergy in holy rooms specially reserved to experience Jesus, but in the prophetic way followers of Christ live their everyday life in spiritually extended families as a vivid answer to the questions society faces, at the place where it counts most: in their homes.

2. Time to change the system

In aligning itself to the religious patterns of the day, the historic Orthodox Church after Constantine in the 4th century AD adopted a religious system which was in essence Old Testament, complete with priests, altar, a Christian temple (cathedral), frankincense and a Jewish, synagogue-style worship pattern. The Roman Catholic Church went on to canonize the system. Luther did reform the content of the gospel, but left the outer forms of "church" remarkably untouched; the Free-Churches freed the system from the State, the Baptists then baptized it, the Quakers dry-cleaned it, the Salvation Army put it into a uniform, the Pentecostals anointed it and the Charismatics renewed it, but until today nobody has really changed the superstructure. It is about time to do just that.

3. The Third Reformation.

In rediscovering the gospel of salvation by faith and grace alone, Luther started to reform the Church through a reformation of theology. In the 18th century through movements like the Moravians there was a recovery of a new intimacy with God, which led to a reformation of spirituality, the Second Reformation. Now God is touching the wineskins themselves, initiating a Third Reformation, a reformation of structure.

4. From Church-Houses to house-churches

Since New Testament times, there is no such thing as "a house of God". At the cost of his life, Stephen reminded unequivocally: God does not live in temples made by human hands. The Church is the people of God. The Church, therefore, was and is at home where people are at home: in ordinary houses. There, the people of God: share their lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, have "meetings," that is, they eat when they meet; they often do not even hesitate to sell private property and share material and spiritual blessings, teach each other in real-life situations how to obey God's word—dialogue- and not professor-style, pray and prophesy with each other, baptize, 'lose their face' and their ego by confessing their sins, regaining a new corporate identity by experiencing love, acceptance and forgiveness.

5. The church has to become small in order to grow big.

Most churches of today are simply too big to provide real fellowship. They have too often become "fellowships without fellowship." The New Testament Church was a mass of small groups, typically between 10 and 15 people. It grew not upward into big congregations between 20 and 300 people filling a cathedral and making real, mutual communication improbable. Instead, it multiplied "sideward"—like organic cells—once these groups reached around 15-20 people. Then, if possible, it drew all the Christians together into citywide celebrations, as with Solomon's Temple court in Jerusalem. The traditional congregational church as we know it is, statistically speaking, neither big nor beautiful, but rather a sad compromise, an overgrown house-church and an under-grown celebration, often missing the dynamics of both.

6. No church is led by a Pastor alone

The local church is not lead by a Pastor, but fathered by an Elder, a local person of wisdom and reality. The local house-churches are then networked into a movement by the combination of elders and members of the so-called five-fold ministries (Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers) circulating "from house to house," whereby there is a special foundational role to play for the apostolic and prophetic ministries (Eph. 2:20, and 4:11.12). A Pastor (shepherd) is a very necessary part of the whole team, but he cannot fulfill more than a part of the whole task of "equipping the saints for the ministry," and has to be complemented synergistically by the other four ministries in order to function properly.

7. The right pieces – fitted together in the wrong way

In doing a puzzle, we need to have the right original for the pieces, otherwise the final product, the whole picture, turns out wrong, and the individual pieces do not make much sense. This has happened to large parts of the Christian world: we have all the right pieces, but have fitted them together wrong, because of fear, tradition, religious jealousy and a power-and-control mentality. As water is found in three forms—ice, water and steam—the five ministries mentioned in Eph. 4:11-12, the Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists are also found today, but not always in the right forms and in the right places: they are often frozen to ice in the rigid system of institutionalized Christianity; they sometimes exist as clear water; or they have vanished like steam into the thin air of free-flying ministries and "independent" churches, accountable to no-one. As it is best to water flowers with the fluid version of water, these five equipping ministries will have to be transformed back into new—and at the same time age-old—forms, so that the whole spiritual organism can flourish and the individual "ministers" can find their proper role and place in the whole. That is one more reason why we need to return back to the Maker's original and blueprint for the Church.

8. God does not leave the Church in the hands of bureaucratic clergy

No expression of a New Testament church is ever led by just one professional "holy man" doing the business of communicating with God and then feeding some relatively passive religious consumers Moses-style. Christianity has adopted this method from pagan religions, or at best from the Old Testament. The heavy professionalization of the church since Constantine has now been a pervasive influence long enough, dividing the people of God artificially into laity and clergy. According to the New Testament (1 Tim. 2:5), "there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." God simply does not bless religious professionals to force themselves in-between people and God forever. The veil is torn, and God is allowing people to access Himself directly through Jesus Christ, the only Way. To enable the priesthood of all believers, the present system will have to change completely. Bureaucracy is the most dubious of all administrative systems, because it basically asks only two questions: yes or no. There is no room for spontaneity and humanity, no room for real life. This may be OK for politics and companies, but not the Church. God seems to be in the business of delivering His Church from a Babylonian captivity of religious bureaucrats and controlling spirits into the public domain, the hands of ordinary people made extraordinary by God, who, like in the old days, may still smell of fish, perfume and revolution.

9. Return from organized to organic forms of Christianity

The "Body of Christ" is a vivid description of an organic, not an organized, being. Church consists on its local level of a multitude of spiritual families, which are organically related to each other as a network, where the way the pieces are functioning together is an integral part of the message of the whole. What has become a maximum of organization with a minimum of organism, has to be changed into a minimum of organization to allow a maximum of organism. Too much organization has, like a straightjacket, often choked the organism for fear that something might go wrong. Fear is the opposite of faith, and not exactly a Christian virtue. Fear wants to control, faith can trust. Control, therefore, may be good, but trust is better. The Body of Christ is entrusted by God into the hands of steward-minded people with a supernatural charismatic gift to believe God that He is still in control, even if they are not. A development of trust-related regional and national networks, not a new arrangement of political ecumenism is necessary for organic forms of Christianity to reemerge.

10. From worshipping our worship to worshipping God

The image of much of contemporary Christianity can be summarized, a bit euphemistically, as holy people coming regularly to a holy place at a holy day at a holy hour to participate in a holy ritual lead by a holy man dressed in holy clothes against a holy fee. Since this regular performance-oriented enterprise called "worship service" requires a lot of organizational talent and administrative bureaucracy to keep going, formalized and institutionalized patterns developed quickly into rigid traditions. Statistically, a traditional 1-2 hour "worship service" is very resource-hungry but actually produces very little fruit in terms of discipling people, that is, in changed lives. Economically speaking, it might be a "high input and low output" structure. Traditionally, the desire to "worship in the right way" has led to much denominationalism, confessionalism and nominalism. This not only ignores that Christians are called to "worship in truth and in spirit," not in cathedrals holding songbooks, but also ignores that most of life is informal, and so is Christianity as "the Way of Life." Do we need to change from being powerful actors to start "acting powerfully?"

11. Stop bringing people to church, and start bringing the church to the people

The church is changing back from being a Come-structure to being again a Go-structure. As one result, the Church needs to stop trying to bring people "into the church," and start bringing the Church to the people. The mission of the Church will never be accomplished just by adding to the existing structure; it will take nothing less than a mushrooming of the church through spontaneous multiplication of itself into areas of the population of the world, where Christ is not yet known.

12. Rediscovering the "Lord's Supper" to be a real supper with real food

Church tradition has managed to "celebrate the Lord's Supper" in a homeopathic and deeply religious form, characteristically with a few drops of wine, a tasteless cookie and a sad face. However, the "Lord's Supper" was actually more a substantial supper with a symbolic meaning, than a symbolic supper with a substantial meaning. God is restoring eating back into our meeting.

13. From Denominations to city-wide celebrations

Jesus called a universal movement, and what came was a series of religious companies with global chains marketing their special brands of Christianity and competing with each other. Through this branding of Christianity most of Protestantism has, therefore, become politically insignificant and often more concerned with traditional specialties and religious infighting than with developing a collective testimony before the world. Jesus simply never asked people to organize themselves into denominations. In the early days of the Church, Christians had a dual identity: they were truly His church and vertically converted to God, and then organized themselves according to geography, that is, converting also horizontally to each other on earth. This means not only Christian neighbors organizing themselves into neighborhood- or house-churches, where they share their lives locally, but Christians coming together as a collective identity as much as they can for citywide or regional celebrations expressing the corporateness of the Church of the city or region. Authenticity in the neighborhoods connected with a regional or citywide corporate identity will make the Church not only politically significant and spiritually convincing, but will allow a return to the biblical model of the City-Church.

14. Developing a persecution-proof spirit

They crucified Jesus, the Boss of all the Christians. Today, his followers are often more into titles, medals and social respectability, or, worst of all, they remain silent and are not worth being noticed at all. "Blessed are you when you are persecuted", says Jesus. Biblical Christianity is a healthy threat to pagan godlessness and sinfulness, a world overcome by greed, materialism, jealousy and any amount of demonic standards of ethics, sex, money and power. Contemporary Christianity in many countries is simply too harmless and polite to be worth persecuting. But as Christians again live out New Testament standards of life and, for example, call sin as sin, conversion or persecution has been, is and will be the natural reaction of the world. Instead of nesting comfortably in temporary zones of religious liberty, Christians will have to prepare to be again discovered as the main culprits against global humanism, the modern slavery of having to have fun and the outright worship of Self, the wrong centre of the universe. That is why Christians will and must feel the "repressive tolerance" of a world which has lost any absolutes and therefore refuses to recognize and obey its creator God with his absolute standards. Coupled with the growing ideologization, privatization and spiritualization of politics and economics, Christians will—sooner than most think—have their chance to stand happily accused in the company of Jesus. They need to prepare now for the future by developing a persecution-proof spirit and an even more persecution-proof structure.

15. The Church comes home

Where is the easiest place, say, for a man to be spiritual? Maybe again, is it hiding behind a big pulpit, dressed up in holy robes, preaching holy words to a faceless crowd and then disappearing into an office? And what is the most difficult—and therefore most meaningful—place for a man to be spiritual? At home, in the presence of his wife and children, where everything he does and says is automatically put through a spiritual litmus test against reality, where hypocrisy can be effectively weeded out and authenticity can grow. Much of Christianity has fled the family, often as a place of its own spiritual defeat, and then has organized artificial performances in sacred buildings far from the atmosphere of real life. As God is in the business of recapturing the homes, the church turns back to its roots—back to where it came from. It literally comes home, completing the circle of Church history at the end of world history.

I love his description of "sideward" multiplication of the church. Kind of sounds like yeast in a batch of dough, doesn't it?