"little flock, your Father has given you the kingdom"

Something more I wrote in the good discussion at Jesus Manifesto:

Yes, Andrew, I agree we aren't the builders of the kingdom of God. And I agree that we should just be following what God is doing in the world. Of course we won't figure that out by looking for what's popular or trendy.

And I hope we don't get caught up in semantics about the meaning of the word "movement." In the article and this discussion, my main interest was to draw our attention to the way Jesus taught his followers to think and act differently from those who wish to harness the power of massed, organized people. He did not teach or act in a way that would gather and maintain strong popular support. He did not appeal for help to those who had wealth or influence (not even in his own religious community) in order to get their people on his side. He even seemed to think it was an advantage that he and his preachers were poor and not granted authority or protected by any large, influential organization of people. They were to depend on God, not any human organization, for their support, their protection, and their authority. That was the faith they were preaching and demonstrating. Faith in the power of God, not faith in "the power of the people."

Every other human organization (including nations, corporations, denominations, and movements), on the other hand, preaches in word and action that "Together we are strong, together we can accomplish great things." Sound familiar? It is the story of Babel over and over. God does not abide this for long. The downfall of every nation and movement bears witness to this.

Unfortunately, Christians have been seduced by "the power of the people" again and again. We compromise and appeal to the rich and influential for support and think we can accomplish so much more good if we can gather and organize masses of people. And we end up assimilated by the world instead of changing it. Or God scatters us like he did at Babel.

But Jesus showed us a way that avoids the temptations of social power, "the power of the people," a way that builds our faith in God instead. He said:

"Go, intentionally poor, as lambs among wolves, provided for and protected by God, and speak and live the truth that I have showed you, that the kingdom is offered to all by God, as a gift, that it does not rely on the power of the rulers or the power of the crowds, that 'the power of the people' is not worthy of your faith and obedience, only God is, and when you are despised and rejected and attacked by the vast majority for that message, do not despair but trust God, and keep saying it and living it, together with the little family God gathers for you, rejoicing in the care of your Father.

"Fear not little flock, for your Father has given you the kingdom."

(That's a bit of a paraphrase, and not all-inclusive, but I think you get the idea...)