Thursday, August 17, 2017

Moving Now into the Future

Leaving Olympian society and culture: spiritually and intellectually
“Come out of her [Babylon], my people” (Revelation 18:4, New Revised Standard Version).
I first used this quote in the essay, “Watching TV, Reading Scripture,” posted to this blog on September 15, 2014. Three years ago, Jesus wanted us to step outside the Olympian worldview that we, as Christians and churches, had unwittingly immersed ourselves in. Negatively, this meant ceasing to wallow in the Olympian worldview broadcast universally, constantly, instantaneously, and intensely by all the corporate media as exemplified by TV. Positively, it meant reading the Bible at least one hour each day and developing a far more biblical point of view as Christians and churches.

Leaving Olympian society and culture: physically
Today, we need to understand Christ’s call to “come out” as broadly and deeply as possible.

Negatively, we need to separate (though not isolate) ourselves from our intensely Olympian society and culture because they continue to overwhelm our meaningful witness to Jesus Christ. The Amish are a good example of what I mean: not isolated but definitely separate (and still refusing electricity and cars). Our Olympian society and culture continue to subvert the faithful witness of the Church as Christ’s alternative society and culture. They also continue to strengthen the conventional personality of each one of us (structured in terms of the Olympian gods) even as they weaken the unconventional Christian personality we each have (created in the image of God).

Positively, Jesus is calling us to walk with him on the noble path of freedom by living, learning, and working together in a much more intentional way as his alternative society and culture. He is inviting us as churches to provisionally represent the Kingdom of God now even as we await his definitive return in glory. He is enabling us, today, to develop a way of living together that is a meaningful alternative to the Global Technological System (GTS). This GTS is nothing more than humankind's greatest monument to the six parasitical gods of Olymianity.

Negatively, we also need to separate ourselves from the GTS, in which we are all immersed, because it simply has no future. While it has been growing prodigiously since 1750, its collapse—which began in 2008—continues apace. There is no remedy. The GTS will soon be unable to provide most people with the food and water they need to survive.

Positively, developing a useful alternative, before the GTS collapses, would be prudent. It would provide us, as churches, with a way of surviving. We could also teach others this alternative and help them to survive as well.

Being in but not of the world in this profound way has implications.

1. We need to develop communities of local self-reliance in all basics. If we live in big cities, we need to leave them. If the trend of the world is to move from country to city, our trend as prophetic witnesses to Jesus is to go rural: to move to cities of less than 50,000 or, better, the countryside. Cities any bigger will prove unsustainable. New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris: they all will soon be ghost towns, too large to be sustained beyond the limited historical circumstances that fueled their quick but brief explosions of population. About 90% of us will need to become farmers—up from the 3% that are now and equal to the historical and sustainable average.

2. As members of a church, we need to live within walking distance of other church members. Cars, and all other vehicles using internal-combustion engines, are not meaningful and soon will not work. The same goes for all tools and objects that use electricity: smartphones, laptops, TVs, even light bulbs.

3. As churches, we need to become alternative learning communities. As such, we need to improve our knowledge, skills, and experience in three areas.
     a. Christian literacy. I discuss this more thoroughly in my essay, “Christian Literacy: Bible, Church History, Theology” (May 17, 2016). Basically, we Christians and church communities need to know our Bible, theology, and church history much better than we do. We need to buy all the books we need to do so before they all disappear. Like Orthodox Jewish synagogues today and for centuries, we churches also need to know how to read and understand the Bible in its original languages. In every congregation, we need to have an adequate knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, Hebrew Bibles and Greek New Testaments, and the dictionaries, grammars, and teachers needed to understand them.

     b. Western literacy. I discuss this in more detail in my essay, “Christian Literacy: The Best and Worst of Western Civilization” (May 18, 2016). The unique quality of Western history, what distinguishes it from all others, is the unique struggle between a dynamic Olympian society and culture and the witness to Jesus Christ (first suggested by Jacques Ellul in his book The Betrayal of the West). Beginning with the Roman Empire and the birth within it of Jesus Christ, the conventional gods of power were uniquely confronted by this incarnation of the one odd god of freedom. The history of the West is the unique story of the titanic struggle between the two divergent ways of living based upon them. We need to understand the history of this struggle to discern how to celebrate all that was true, good, and beautiful in it and to learn from all that was false, evil, and unseemly.

     To help facilitate this literacy, Christian and Western, I have listed, on the pages “Books,” “Visual Arts,” and “Music” above, resources with which we need, as necessarily literate Christians, to acquaint ourselves. We need to get the books now before they disappear. The visual arts we may also acquaint ourselves with through books. Our familiarity with the music, however, will soon be reduced to what sheet music we can read and what singing and instrumental music we can perform. We need to get the musical instruments and learn how to play them. Every church should have at least one piano.

     c. Literacy of self-reliance. As Christians living, learning, and working together as alternative communities and cultures, we will need to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to live meaningfully and effectively in self-reliant rural communities. Throughout Western history, this knowledge and these skills were known by everyone automatically as almost everyone lived in traditional agricultural communities until the 1800s and many into the 1900s.

     We will need to learn how to plant, tend, and harvest. We will need the tools necessary to do so. We will need blacksmiths and shoemakers to make and repair the things we use. We will need carpenters to help us build things. We will need veterinarians and physicians who can help us and our animals to heal but in ways that do not rely on electricity.

     We will need to develop locally-controlled schools, shops, banks, and other organizations to help us work together toward our shared goal of self-reliance.

     d. Prayer. This separation from the GTS and threefold literacy will require a wisdom, strength, courage, and good cheer possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit with us in community. For this let us learn and pray together.

Copyright © 2017 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.