everything they owned was held in common

I’m open to suggestions here. But really don’t see how you can possibly be a biblical literalist and not admit that the church left Christianity behind sometime around the endorsement by Emperor Constantine.

Let’s be cold clear about this. Luke believed that the first Christians practiced communitarianism — voluntary non-state socialism. The whole tapestry of Christian history is a record of the faith — like Jonah’s response to the call from God — doing a major about face running as far and as hard from this truth as humanly possible. And the cold consequence is of running from God’s revelation is to get swallowed live and to find yourself in the belly of the beast.

Now the evidence is not univocal. Luke does in fact speak in past tense here. The common purse may have been less common by the time Acts was written. And in fact Acts is brutally honest about what kind of mess that common purse became. And the clean-up solution to that mess was the three-orders of ministry — deacons, priests, and bishops (or elders if you prefer).

The other side of the coin if you will is what we are to do about it. In the face of Luke’s witness that Jesus’ teaching and the proclamation of his resurrection demands a common purse, how then are we to live out a Christian faith in today’s world?

And I’m not entirely convinced I want to live THAT alternative of a life style. No, I am not rich. But what I have I’m rather fond of. And I still hold out some hope life might get better — someday. Whatever else wealth is — its power. And I seriously doubt that I’d be victimized by the stupidity and malice and prejudice of others in a socialist world than in a capitalist one.

So you see — I too live in the belly of the beast.

Advertisements

5 responses

  1. My family and I have been livivng in a “house church” community now for almost two years (www.atlantasaints.com)and have, ever since, been graced with the experience of true community life.It’s not exactly like what you read about in the book of Act’s, but it is a major turn around from the self-centered, indivividualist way of american-dreamism.SLOWLY but surely I am learning to live what I believe.Everything else is just talk.

  2. Hi David. It’s interesting that it’s not just christianity that leads people to live communally … remember those ashrams (Hindu) of the 60s? My cousin lived in one with her husband … they had a samll health food store and the profits went to the community. But it all fell apart eventually, as the leader of the group got sort of corrupted and stole stuff just for himself.

  3. Welcome J. Samuel.Intentional community was sorta what I had in midn when I said I suspected I wasn’t up to the challenge.But I hope God blesses you in your work at Atlanta Saints. (BTW: mighty untalkative over there at Holy Mendicant ain’t it).

  4. Good post, David. “The other side of the coin if you will is what we are to do about it.”Yes! what? There are many varieties and degrees of communitarianism. Also many pitfalls to the attempt. Perhaps the most serious one may be the question of leadership and authority.Leadership must be exercised if anything is to happen, and it almost necessarily translates itself into authority. Authority becomes power, and power, as the whole world knows corrupts. The example cited by Crystal is only one of a great many that turned out like that. We might say that we’re all called to various degrees of togetherness.Marriage is certainly (or should certainly be) communal. Likewise family. Extended families? Yes, in many cases. In my many years I’ve experienced varying degrees of communalism. The C of S (in D.C.) was more extreme than we had experienced to that point. For example everyone tithed to the church. For a few months I lived in a commune with 3 or 4 other men, the apartment I had taken responsibility for re the renovation of two apartment houses for the poor. The first one to join me there continued with me in a less intensive one the following year. Jim and I used to look at one another and repeat our mantra: “community is hell”. In more moderate language it’s very difficult.But rewarding. God grant we may all rise to the level of Christian sharing as God calls us.

  5. God grant we may all rise to the level of Christian sharing as God calls us.This may be the answer to my problem. As God calls us. Be a socialist because its teh politically correct thing to do = disaster. Give everything you own to the poor because God has called you to community and solidarity = blessedness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s