Tag Archives: faith

Lucy’s Albatross

A meditation on the advent in the midst of uncertain times and a culture that constantly calls for fear.

Pitch black the island of darkness,
That which surrounds my heart.
Everywhere my eyes turn,
I am confronted with fresh fears.

Have you felt the ensnaring evil,
The cold grip of fear upon your heart?
Does your mind rebel against the violence in the world?
And your heart yearn for peace?
Have you wondered where the justice is?
Or been driven to despair?

The world seems ever darker.
Each days newscast rings out like an alarm bell.
Another war here, another murder there.
Fresh violence today, no answers tomorrow.

Where are you Prince of Peace?
Where is the peace on earth and goodwill toward mankind?
When will oppression cease,
And joy reign in our hearts?
What hope has truth in the midst of lies,
Or love in a world filled with hate?

So I stand and cry out to You.
The one who penetrated this darkness in human form.
I bear my heart full of fears and doubts,
Then like a whisper come the words:

“Courage dear heart!” 

Son of a Poor Widow

I was born on a fateful day,
Filled with pain and sorrow,
My mother bore me in searing pain,
And birthed me on the wrong side of the tracks,
My poor father past before my birth,
Destining me to a hard life.

One day this pain is going to be too much,
And I’ll leave this world behind,
No one is made to live like this,
The voices of pain rage in my head,
And eventually I’ll give in,
Standing on the edge of the river,
Eventually I’ll jump in.

Mother did her best to care for me,
Her only wretched son,
But times were tough and jobs were scarce,
And a young widow didn’t have a chance,
So I spent my childhood in rags,
Skin and bones with shallow cheeks,
Mother fought just to keep me alive

And as the time goes on,
The darkness grew within my mind,
The pain overwhelms my senses,
And takes root in my tormented imagination,
Even sleep is no release,
My dreams are fear and evil,
And eventually I’ll give in.

Day by day I walk passed this stream,
It looms larger month by month,
The pain wells up within my heart,
But I’ll allow no tears in my dark eyes,
No one sees my pain,
So no one will see me weak,
To make it in this life you must show strength.

I watch my mother waste away,
As I grow old enough to notice,
Her young face ages much too fast,
As she begs and toils on the street,
And the time will turn this troubled boy,
Into an even more troubled young man,
Every day the river bank is calling,
One day I’ll have to answer.

So mother dear,
Set your heart like steel,
‘Cause each day your beggar son dies a little bit,
Don’t weep for me when I depart,
This life is worse than death,
I’ll seek my comfort in the waters,
And finally get some rest.

I know I’ll break my sweet mothers heart,
As I stand here on the edge,
But the damage has been done to both our lives,
Two hearts shattered by a painful life,
And I can’t live that life any longer,
In death I see no hope,
But at least the pain will stop.

See me jump from off this rock,
Into the swirling stream below,
I won’t fight as the waters close over my head,
My body sinks,
Carried ever faster downward,
By the weight of my despair,
Here I am underneath the waters,
And the pain in my lungs at last drowns out,
The sorrow in my heart.

As the life seeps from my bones,
I know what will happen next,
The men down by the shore,
Will find my broken body tossed upon the shore,
And they will fetch my mother,
And how she’ll scream and moan.
There may be no life in my heart,
But I brought light to hers.

Then the pitying souls of those dear men,
Will bear me on their arms,
They’ll carry me out of town,
To lay by body to rest.
And they’ll be whispering to themselves,
About how my mom had done her best.
Then they’ll see how cruel life is,
And finally I’ll have said my peace.

My mother won’t hear them through her tears,
Pouring down in a torrent,
And watering this dry and barren land,
Even as I close my eyes,
Her screams are echoing in my ears,
But it is too late for me,
As I choose to breath in this water,
Replacing searing pain with searing pain,
I die.

Yet what is this I find,
As I sit upright in the midst of my own funeral,
As my eyes snap open,
I hear screams of pain turn into tears of joy,
Confusion and wonder rack my brain,
I am certain that I was dead,
No doubt remains about that,
Yet what can make a dead man live,
And a hopeless young man hope?

As I turn first to my mother and then to the rest,
I see only wonder in each face,
Clearly this was an unexpected reversal,
Of my fate thought to be inescapable,
Then my eyes rest upon the man,
Standing at my side,
As his eyes meet my mine,
Something strange happens in my mind.

My heart explodes with hope and wonder,
At the love behind those eyes,
Had I only known such love existed,
But it matters not for I live again,
Then in a voice that convicts and heals,
He says “I am the living waters”
“Come, dive in”

As my head reals in confusion,
My heart is sure and calm,
I must have living water,
And find this hope in a world of pain,
I dive off the ledge of pain and unbelief,
And sink in this immortal hope,
I will follow Him,
The one who turns death to life,
And pain to hope.

So I sink beneath these waters,
Of love and grace and peace,
Hope covers over all my pain,
And I am born anew.

Inspired by Luke 7:11-17

Hello, Hardship.

Hello, Hardship.
Hello, Tough Times.
Seems you’ve come to visit once again.
You bring questions I can’t answer,
And try to bury me in anxiety, fear, and doubt.
Yet in my struggling,
And in my weakness,
I refuse to let emotions reign,
You’ve brought and accusation,
That I refuse to accept,
I will not doubt the faithfulness of my Lord and God,
No matter what may come.

And after a while,
The pain and doubt fade,
I should have known you’d visit,
When I stepped out into the fray,
Why should I be surprised,
That evil wants to stand in the way of good,
And attempts to force me to despair,
Here I am,
Just plodding on,
And hardship becomes fellow traveler,
Without whose company the journey would be less real,
For my God is present especially in the tough times.

Light into Darkness

I find myself needing the sacred seasons and holy days of our Church more each year. As the storm clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon, it is more important than ever to set aside these special times to reflect on that which God has done throughout history and will do at the end of all things. What follows is a poetic meditation on the advent.

In this world of rock and dust,
As time moves on in relentless procession,
The sensation is often inescapable,
That the days are darkening and the water rising.

Often we are forced to watch unfold around us,
Events of deep despair,
When children starve and violence spreads,
And hate appears the victor.

All around we look and see,
Undeserved pain,
Unforeseen trials,
And our own inability to stand in the face of the flood.

Despair creeps in,
The tears run down,
Our hearts are slowly breaking,
And we weep for our broken world.

Is there are hope for love in a loveless world?
Or for joy in a world of despair?
When great evil seems to reign,
Is there any hope for good?

Yet my soul remember,
As the sacred season comes,
Through ritual and sacred ceremony force your mind to this,
The reign of evil is but a farce and good has conquered yet.

For when the darkness of sin seemed at its peak,
And our world was a swirling vortex of misery and despair,
The light struck the darkness like a lighting bolt,
In the form of a sacred infant.

Seemingly helpless,
Seemingly weak,
But Lord of all the earth,
Darkness trembled at His birth.

Born to die,
That we might live,
To be like Him in our lives and deeds,
Our lives remade by nail scarred hands.

Light in darkness,
God in flesh,
Hope stronger than despair,
The author of all created things has come to dwell among us.

He has come and He is coming,
The work is begun and will be finished,
Evil is already defeated,
And will soon be no more than a memory.

So strengthen trembling hands,
And still shaking knees,
Fear not the darkness,
For in your faith it fears you.

Rise up in broken victory,
And be a bolt of bright light,
In a world of deadly darkness,
In the pattern of the Master.

Take heart this sacred season,
Remember the hope you have,
Ours is not only the Creator God,
But also the Savior.

This is a time to reflect on that which is real,
In a world of illusion and farce,
For truth and justice do reign ,
In Jesus Christ the babe of Bethlehem and Savior of the world.

We need this time of sacred remembrance,
In dark days more than ever,
But the light has overcome the darkness,
So let us remember and rejoice!

Marriage as a Sacrament

These thoughts are the results of over 5 years married to the most gracious, wonderful, and beautiful woman I have ever known.

The Roman Catholics maintain seven sacraments; most Protestants have only two, which they don’t really take very seriously. While I’m not prepared to embrace the full Roman Catholic understanding, I definitely believe we need to go back to viewing marriage more sacramentally.

In the most classical Christian understanding, the sacraments are means of grace for mankind. It is faith in Christ Jesus our Lord which ultimately saves, but the sacraments empower and enrich the sanctification part of our salvation. Thus Baptism and Eucharist are not simply symbolic rituals but actually have real power for the believer who par takes of them, and according to St Paul real danger to those who partake apart from faith and righteousness before a Holy God.

While marriage may not be an ordained sacrament in Scripture, it is certainly an ordained action for our well being. All of the use of marriage as metaphor in the Word illustrates just how highly marriage ought to be viewed by those who follow Christ. That marriage is an important aspect of our sanctification and growth in the knowledge of God can be easily illustrated. This doesn’t mean marriage is ordained for everyone, but it does mean that to those who. It is given it should be taken very seriously. In a society that under values marriage, as a the Church of Jesus Christ we need to restore a proper understanding of its sacred significance. What follows is a list of the ways that marriage has been sacramental in my life, 5 years from now and no doubt I will have even more thoughts on the subject.

Marriage reveals how self-centered and petty we are. In premarital counseling, the difficulty of the first year of marriage is often a subject of discussion. Many married couples can look back to the first year and the trials they overcame together. The reason behind this is our own self-centeredness. Living together in a covenant relationship draws out our selfish tendencies so the Holy Spirit can purge us of them. This becomes painfully clear when we are quick to anger over the smallest of household operations. What it really boils down to is that we just want our own way that bad. The marriage relationship draws this selfishness to our attention in areas we couldn’t even see it before.

Marriage demonstrates the importance of covenant and unconditional love. Only in a firm commitment to love one another until death does marriages true teaching about unconditional love and covenant relationship hit home. When we find it easy to love, or to accept love this lesson is lost. When, ontheotherhand, love is painfully difficult or we find ourself feeling completely unworthy of love, the message of God’s love begins to dawn on us. When for the first time you receive love from your husband or wife while still behaving in a way you know is completely unworthy of that love, the cross stands in the background with new meaning. When we come to the full realization that no matter how bad things get, our love for each other isn’t going anywhere, God’s unchanging love becomes more real than ever before.

Marriage is an important part of our sanctification. As I mentioned above marriage often puts a spot light on issues we didn’t realize we had. This becomes a key part of the process of sanctification in our lives. A godly spouse becomes our primary source of accountability, and because they see us at our worst our spouses cannot be tricked by the pious show we often put on for others. When we allow our marriage to bring sin in our lives to mind, and then walk through repentance together, we overcome issues we likely would have missed on our own.

Marriage points out areas of unforgiveness and unhealed hurt in our lives . It is always interesting how previous pain and heartache can impact a marriage. Often actual arguments ensue simply because something was said that touched a sore spot. After some reflection and personal growth, it becomes clear that the marriage isn’t the problem. Instead previously unhealed areas or areas where hurt someone else did is still unforgiven must be addressed for the happiness of the home. This healing and forgiveness process is not always pleasant and that is why, when given the choice, we shy away from it. In marriage we quickly realize how much harm we are doing to ourselves and others by hanging on to the past and are forced to confront our own heartache, God is then able to step and heal our broken hearts.

There is a great deal more that could be said on all the different ways that marriage is sanctifying and sacramental, but the point remains the same. God has established marriage for our well being and help, we should treat it with reverence and allow it to do its good and healing work in our lives.

Monsters in the dark?

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of things we sometimes tell our kids. It’s so tempting when your toddler wakes up frightened to simply tell them monsters are not real. The truth however, is that monsters ARE REAL. Whether they be faceless corporations that abuse people and the planet, individuals in positions of greater or less power who maim and kill with no remorse, wicked behaviors like hatred, malice, violence, and prejudice; or spiritual forces of Hell, the reality is that monsters are real.

Certainly we want our children sheltered from certain realities until they are of an appropriate age to process them properly. I’m not suggesting we brief our toddlers on gender selective abortion or the global sex trafficking trade; but we do want them to stand in the face of evil rather than being shocked and dismayed at its very existence.

This education begins at the earliest ages possible. Our kids don’t need to be lied to and taught there are no monsters, they must be taught to embrace the greater truth that a good and sovereign God rules the universe. They need to know that on His side they can be personally responsible for destroying monsters and freeing prisoners.

As G.K. Chesterton said, children don’t need fairy tales to know that dragons are real, they already know that. Fairy tales teach children that dragons can be killed.

Zinzendorf 2.0

In a world increasingly defined by its crises, it is time for a radical shift back to an old approach to Christian community. The 21st Century has barely begun and already we are confronted with a growing plethora of complex challenges that must be overcome. The global economy that has defined much of world politics over the last 100 years appears to be increasing in instability. The ecology of the planet is increasingly taxed by unsustainable human practices, some of which could very well bring in the devastating effects of droughts and famines. Technology has allowed for great leaps forward in human wickedness, including the massive growth of the pornography and sex trafficking industries. In addition, here in these United States, the political situation is rapidly increasing in instability since our government has broken loose from its Constitutional moorings and has been careening wildly towards Federally imposed tyranny limiting free speech, freedom of religion, and the other freedoms American’s claim to hold dear. In the midst of all these difficulties the Church of Jesus Christ, as a body called out to serve their fellow man and seek and save the lost, has an incredible opportunity to take the lead in resolving these difficulties.

From its inception, this blog has been about Faith, Sustainability, and Liberty. The idea that follows is still in the rough, it needs refining and tempering, but above all it needs people of God to be willing to make radical changes in obedience to Him. What follows represents Thetonedeafbard’s total solution to the crises that are converging around us. Please join the conversation by leaving a comment or sending me an email at thetonedeafbard@gmail.com

That this shift is definitely necessary needs to be made clear, but effort has been taken to not overly dwell on the problem. The following is a brief summary of the problems looming on the horizon of the 21st Century, details of each issue are abundantly available from other sources.

The Problems
As this post is rather long, those well acquainted with the difficulties I mentioned in the first paragraph may skip this section.

First and foremost, the Western Church is facing a crisis. Much of it is becoming increasingly irrelevant to young people, while simultaneously many churches are selling out core Christian values and in the process giving up any influence they had left. Even good churches struggle to accomplish their Biblical role because their members aren’t really doing life together. Even for those who are still truly following Christ, it has become increasingly difficult for their worship not to be crammed into one of several compartments in their lives. At the end of the day, Christianity must be communal to survive in an increasingly antagonistic post modern culture, and right now it just isn’t.

Simultaneously, the Global Church is experiencing a massive transition. The success of Christian Mission in reaching the unreached, while not complete, has seen massive success. So much so that the West no longer makes up the majority of the Christian world. Western influence is still very strong, but will likely begin to wane in the near future, as our Majority World brethren take more and more responsibility. In the meantime, there are still thousands of unreached people groups perishing without the Gospel. The Church needs to make a concerted effort to make a functional hand off of this task, before the Western Church drops of the scene more completely.

Industrial agriculture is failing. All the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, genetic tampering, monoculture, etc. is beginning to take effect. The global food supply is increasingly vulnerable to disease and an increasingly unstable climate. In particular soil degradation and deforestation are taking a heavy toll, causing decreased crop yields, alterations in weather patterns, drought, failure of the soil to retain moisture, increased plant disease, aquifer depletion, and a whole host of other environmental issues. Our expensive fossil fuel based inputs are yielding more and more diminishing returns. Sooner or later, as yields decrease and soil depletes industrial agriculture will no longer be able to feed the earth’s growing population.

Our cheap energy era has also come with tragic human consequences. Urbanization and industrialization, while allowing some to reach levels of prosperity never before imagined, have also created massive pockets of urban poverty. In many of these pockets people are unable to meet their own basic needs for food, water, shelter, healthcare, hygiene, etc. Those living in these areas are suffering from daily deprivations, and are also more prone to exploitation such as that by the global sex trafficking industry. The Church of Jesus Christ has a Biblical command to meet these physical needs while introducing the Savior. At this time we have seen great strides towards relieving this suffering, but what is needed most deeply is a cultural shift that will address the larger problems causing poverty and suffering.

Exacerbating all the problems listed above is the increasing risk of economic collapse at the hands of rogue nations. The United States has led the way in treading a path towards tyranny and economic slavery. Americans are losing more and more of the liberty they cherish, while supporting a military industrial take over of the rest of the world spearheaded by super corporations. The tragic results are that, while even American’s who have more traditional ability to defend themselves against the rise of authoritarianism are giving up their liberty, those in the rest of the world with less resources are also paying the price for our negligence. As the cost of all of this government increases, the entire globally connected economy is facing increased threat of hyperinflation and collapse. Since this is happening simultaneously to these other global issues, the entire world could face massive amounts of suffering and loss simultaneously as much of what we have thought of as civilization risks passing away.

With a series of issues of this proportion and level of interconnectedness, a giant game of whack-a-mole isn’t going to work. These solutions call for a concentrated solution that will address all of the dangers and suffering that are happening now and are yet to come. The good news is, that solution has already been found. There is a historically validated answer to the current situation, that can be implemented today.

A Historical Solution

Count Nicolaus Zenzendorf and the Moravians provide one of the most fascinating expressions of Christian community available. While not historically well known in many circles, the Moravian community continues to have a disproportionate historical impact. The Moravian community launched the Protestants into world mission well ahead of the “Father of Modern Missions” William Carey. Their community life influenced the thoughts and practices of both John Wesley and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Even now there are churches all over the world who originally received the Gospel through the ongoing ministry of the early Moravian missionaries.

The Moravian Brethren were originally from a variety of theological backgrounds that were being persecuted in other parts of Europe. Count Zinzendorf provided them with shelter and allowed them to form a community on his estate. When theological infighting grew intense, Zinzendorf decided he had better take a more active role in the community. He sat down with the various community leaders and they studied the Scriptures continually until the issues were resolved. What came out was not a unified doctrinal statement in the traditional sense, but instead a set of standards for Christian living in community. Over time this deliberate practice of Christian community in sharing of the word and life together developed into a mission sending community the world has not really seen the like of since.

With an emphasis on practical skill development such as agriculture or various useful trades, the Moravians went forth equipped to provide for their physical needs while physically serving those to whom they went. They went forth with a passion for Christ so deep that several literally sold themselves into slavery to reach unreached African slaves. A survey of the modern mission movement, and how disproportionately it has been touched by this small community of brothers and sisters, gives us a great deal of insight into the effectiveness of doing life and mission in intentional community.

The temptation when looking at such an effectual community as that of the Moravians is to think that such a place must have been a historical anomaly. The fact of the matter is though, it has long standing in the classical Christian tradition. Eusebius records communities such as this one as early as the first century, and while it is not entirely clear, the Acts gives us some clear indicators that the New Testament Church was living in a very communal setting as well. All the way through the medieval period, and even today in the Roman Catholic church, the monastic tradition emphasized life together as a means to know God and serve man better. The trouble with discussing the monastic movement, for the purpose of this conversation, is that many today focus on how withdrawn members of the monastic movement were from daily life so much that they fail to see the innumerable acts of intentional mission performed within it. Suffice it to say, that the Moravians provide an excellent example to work with, provided it is recognized that they stood on the shoulders of others and did not represent some entirely new idea.

The New Moravians
The question then is: How could such intentional living impact the difficulties faced by the Church today? This kind of intentional living comes with an impact that has the power to reverse a great many of the problems faced today. What follows will be a brief outline of the impact of a return to Christian community in the Church today.

Many of the problems faced in the Church, especially the western churches, stem from a lack of true Christian community. Despite being active members of local churches, regularly attending services, and even partaking in a plethora of church related activities, many Christians are not in anyway getting the kind of community required for a vital Christian faith. Biblical Christianity cannot be had apart from Biblical community. This is why we are a called out body of believers, not merely called out individuals. The Christian life can simply not be attained without Christian fellowship.

This is particularly true when we are talking about purity and relevance. Purity cannot be maintained in the face of a hostile post-modern society without a community for support. Even if a theoretical individual had the will not to give into perceived social pressures, the ability to recognize the numerous areas where ground had already been given would be absent. Only in community can individuals see the dangerous flaws in the societies they have grown up in and then actively reject those flaws through their actions. This is a process, it doesn’t happen over night; but it can’t even begin if there apart from a group of people doing life together.

Without community, Christianity is also largely irrelevant. The Gospel was written for communities, not individuals. The command to love one another only applies if there are others to love. How can the transforming power of the Gospel be modeled before a broken world, unless radical disciples submit themselves fully to the life together. When Christian interaction is limited to intentional times of worship and fellowship and then each believer goes back into a largely secularized environment, what is put on display? Nothing more than the actions of a single individual. However, when a body of people do life together in a way that reflects the love of Christ in them, then their individual witnesses joins together into a compelling case to a different kind of life – a life in Christ. Separated Christians have very little opportunity to impact the world around them, but in intentional community whole communities, and even nations, can be transformed by the power of the Gospel.

Not only is intentional community required for basic Christian life in purity and relevance, it is also vital to the Christian mission. The Moravians successfully sent a disproportionate number of laborers into the harvest field largely because they had the community support structure to do it. There was a community to hold accountable each individual to the call of God to the nations, but there was also community in place to insure that each individual was equipped and supported in living out that call. No one left for the fields unsure of who would be upholding them in prayer 24 hours a day. In a time when the global leadership of the church must transition, nothing can be more unifying or missional than moving back towards this kind of intentional life together. As the majority world church rises to influence, now is the time to insure that the Church moves forward rooted in solid community, rather than empty times of fellowship.

This isn’t simply a matter of transitioning to a better form of Christian community while we transition to new leadership. Moving towards more intentional community will also make this transition more smooth and effective. The Western Church has gained a tremendous amount of insight, through experience, over the years into how to Biblically and effectively reach the unreached. As much of this knowledge as possible needs to be shared with our brothers and sisters around the world as quickly as possible, so that they can begin to fulfill their role in the mission of God. Unfortunately most Western education structures, among them colleges and seminaries, are not very compatible with the majority world church. Even if they were more compatible, they have often proved to be a barrier to those headed toward full time Christian service. The model Jesus provides for us, and that the Moravians displayed so well for us, is that of the life together. The disciples experiences with Jesus were ultimately the base of their entire ministry in the book of Acts. In the NKJV, Acts 4:13 says of the Pharisees “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” It was this act of doing life together that resulted in the Apostles missional effectiveness and understanding of the Gospel. Life together takes education and information sharing out of the classroom where it is theoretical and out to the streets where it is practical. Not only is this a more effective tool for teaching and equipping God’s people, it is also universally applicable in all cultures because community life is defined by those who live it.

At this point it is clear that community, as modeled for us by Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, has a powerful impact on Christian living, but what about some of the other 21st Century issues in discussion? In an age where our agriculture system is such clear trouble, there has been a growing movement of people “back to the land” who are focused on subjects like self sufficiency. The reality is, there is no such thing. The success of our ancestors in living sustainably off the land was rooted firmly in community not individualism. That said, if a dedicated community chooses to radically focus on Permaculture as a sustainable design system, it can live in a way that not only protects the community itself from the growing list of short comings of our current system, but that, whether urban or rural, also protects the larger community around it. The ability to design and work together in restoring natural patterns of design in the land, provides the ultimate opportunity for communities to live out the already present positive alternatives to our failing industrial model.

This kind of sustainable living together also answers the questions posed by urban poverty and suffering. Focusing on sustainable food production and high quality community healthcare that combines modern knowledge with natural patterns allows us to not only alleviate the suffering of the poor in the short term, but also to educate poverty out existence by modeling a better way forward. Hands on education that demonstrates the success of those who practice it can cause the whole economics of poverty to be abolished. Especially where we are talking about greening the food deserts and equipping people with the ability to meet their own basic needs. This is especially true when intentional Christian communities make the choice to set up in the heart of poverty blighted urban centers. The end result of this change not only removes poverty, but also makes impossible the all to uncommon exploitation of the poor that is too common today.

Finally solid communities doing life together in a way that is sustainable by design to the glory of Christ are not only hedged from the destructive effects of sin and temptation, but also from global economic uncertainty and the growing push towards statism. How this ecological liberty impacts poverty and redefines local economies has already been discussed, all that needs to be added is that this redefinition removes those local areas from the chaos of global markets by bringing all of the most important economic needs of the community back within the community. When all of these needs are met locally, communities are not so adversely impacted by the larger scale economic problems we face.

Community also lies at the root of solving our problems with the push towards Federal control of everything. First, it reverses the push to honor the state as though it were God through dependency, instead asserting the value of each member of the community to assist in living sustainably before God. Second, in community, those who love their God given liberty can more effectively work to protect it. Since small, self sustaining communities are already economically fairly autonomous and free, they are much less susceptible to being bullied by the State. With so much of the aggressive tyranny happening at the local level, replacing local governments with deliberately free communities puts a stop its growth. Not only that, but the kind of community being discussed here also sets forward a model for free living that can continue regardless of what happens in the country as a whole.

Intentional communal living then is a key tool for educating and equipping the church to carry out its essential mission. In addition, it is the key to sustainable living on this planet and will assuage and shelter against the suffering present and coming in our nation and world. It should be a great comfort that this has been done successfully before, and, while perhaps not being done as completely as discussed here, is being done successfully even in our times. It is time for the Church to make a concentrated effort to return to vital Christian communities, communities that heal people and the earth they inhabit.

The Next Zinzendorf

Only one thing is lacking. The leadership necessary to begin implementing and calling for this change needs to emerge. The Moravian community was successful to a large degree because of the passion and commitment of Count Zinzendorf to the success of Christian community. In a day in age where much of the Church has moved far away from such principles of community, it will take strong leadership to return to it. The call and push towards effective community is urgent and time is moving quickly.

Would the next Count Zinzendorf please stand up?