We’re leaving it primarily to devote ourselves, instead, to Yahweh, the one odd god of truth, freedom, love, and vitality. Because Yahweh created the heavens and the earth as the perfect context for a covenantal relationship of freedom and love with his human creatures, we want to witness to that freedom and love by developing ways of living that affirm the vitality of creation.
To develop ways of living that nurture and protect all species and their habitats, we need to relearn together how to live without two fundamental innovations of the GTS: motor vehicles and electricity. In a previous essay, “Getting Much Closer to the Land,” we reflected on the need to remove the GTS as our mediator with the land and reestablish direct contact. To do that, however, we will also need to get much closer to one another.
Right now members of almost all churches drive to meet with other members on Sunday to join together to worship God and to enjoy fellowship with one another. That practice keeps the GTS and its gods primary in our lives and Jesus secondary. That’s why we need to get much closer at least to the other members of our prophetic mission group.
This is our goal rather than an instant demand. First we need to pray to Jesus to discern those one to eleven other people with whom he would like us to join in a new prophetic mission group. Maybe they already live within walking distance of us. That would be convenient. Possibly we could bicycle to each other’s homes. That would be good too. Most likely, we will need to drive to see one another. We want to acknowledge that necessity while moving, with all deliberate speed, toward living within walking distance of one another.
This living within walking distance will bring with it several advantages. Right now we Christians live as scattered embers in a freezing Olympian context. Jesus is calling us together to keep our fire from going out altogether. By getting us much closer to one another, Jesus is banking us, keeping us glowing, until he’s ready to add new fuel.
Historically, participants in minority religious communities have always lived close together in readily identifiable urban neighborhoods or rural villages. In The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews, historian Norman Cantor even argues that, despite its many disadvantages, Jews being forced to live together in ghettoes probably saved Judaism from disappearance through total assimilation. Indeed today both synagogues and churches face just that challenge.
Being much closer together will also enable us itinerants to enjoy much more frequent meetings—both planned and, perhaps more importantly, spontaneous. If we are to save what little witness to Jesus we have left, and even boldly imagine broadening and strengthening it, then we’ll have to meet with much greater frequency and purpose. Getting much closer to one another will enable us to do that.
Now if we can manage, by God’s grace, to get much closer to one another and to the land, this would be very good.
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