salt and leaven

Ellul's emphasis on "inassimilability" is basically an echo of Jesus' words:

"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot." (Mt 5.13)
I've been struggling a bit to keep my saltiness recently. Amid pressures to envision how Heather and I could live, and perhaps raise children, without income or property or insurance or institutional support. Living on gifts and making our lives gifts. It's hard to imagine, and right now the input of others has not been helping much. Even those who seem to want to be helpful are offering advice like, "You could fit in so much better, and have more opportunities to use your gifts, if you would only..." Be less salty.

It's discouraging to be constantly struggling against the watering-down effect, the tendency towards conformity, compromise, blandness. But there's also the other effect, if we don't lose our "taste." The seasoning effect. Or leavening:
"To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened." (Lk 13.20-21)

And I do see some of that happening here. This morning someone showed me a proposal to shift much of the community-owned property here to a non-profit organization that would continue to serve the poor (with low-income housing as they have been doing). This would effectively take a huge chunk of Fellowship wealth and give it to be used exclusively for the poor. And put the Fellowship members in a much more vulnerable position, having to trust much more on God for their needs, especially now as they are aging.

I'm impressed by that idea, though I'm doubtful that everyone will go along with it. But they have been talking seriously about wealth and faith and solidarity with the poor. Heather's paper on money has also been distributed as part of that discussion. And that's all good.

I'm not sure how this all happened; it definitely wasn't my idea or plan. But that's how leavening works: hidden, quietly. And we don't need to make it happen, we just need to keep our inassimilability--and thank God when we see the results.