"the crowd is untruth"

From a discussion on Jesus Manifesto, about my article "Does Jesus need a 'movement'?":

I thought it might be worth returning to Mark's question, "How much should we resist movement-building?" As I understand it, this resistance is not something separate but an integral part of following Jesus' example, living the life of the kingdom of God.

I think of Jesus' words to Pilate, describing the meaning of his life:

Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."

Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth..." (Jn 18.36-37)

And then this challenging passage by Soren Kierkegaard comes to mind, which seems like a commentary on Jesus' words:

The crowd is untruth. There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd. Let someone, some individual human being, certainly, approach such a person, what does he care about him; that is much too small a thing; he proudly sends him away; there must be at least a hundred. And if there are thousands, then he bends before the crowd, he bows and scrapes; what untruth! No, when there is an individual human being, then one should express the truth by respecting what it is to be a human being; and if perhaps, as one cruelly says, it was a poor, needy human being, then especially should one invite him into the best room, and if one has several voices, he should use the kindest and friendliest; that is the truth....

Christ [was] crucified, because he, even though he addressed himself to all, would not have to do with the crowd, because he would not in any way let a crowd help him, because he in this respect absolutely pushed away, would not found a party, or allow balloting, but would be what he was, the truth...

If we just, like Jesus, "bear witness to the truth," we will avoid the temptations of movement-building and the assimilating power of society. Giving our attention and help to the one poor, needy person in front of us, who means nothing to society but everything to God. Consenting to be poor and weak ourselves (politically and organizationally as well), because our kingdom is "not from the world," and does not need to be built or defended by us. Ignoring (or even denouncing) the power of rulers and the power of the crowd, though everyone else thinks these powers control everything (including "truth")—because we put our faith in the power of God, not the power of organized people. Announcing all this with our words and our actions, the truth, which has never had a popular following.

I see this as a genuine alternative (that God creates and supports, not us), one that the powers of society would not find useful but rather offensive or dangerous, like they did with Jesus. And this is the kind of life that makes us, as Ellul says, "a question put within the world, a question invincibly confronting it."