As I was meditating on the messages of this past weekend specifically the message of Pastor John on Saturday morning and Pastor Cavalain's on Friday night and Saturday morning I began to feel God speaking to me what I believe may be the next step in fulfillment of the vision of the tapestry given to me awhile back.presented here for your consideration, prayer, and if you agree with it to then help implement it in your lives first, then help find ways for us as the Disciplined Order of Christ to implement it, as well as our respective churches.
As I was praying, meditating and seeking God Saturday afternoon at our retreat the words "Revolution of the Marginalized" came to my mind. As I further meditated on this phrase God began to speak to me further.
1. What is a Revolution?
One of the meanings for Revolution I found in the dictionary was "An assertedly momentous change in any situation"
2.Who Are The Marginalized?
They are those whom the church or society has pushed off to the side for various reasons.
3. Why Have They Done This?
This has been done I believe because they don't understand.
You will keep him in perfect peace (Shalom in Hebrew), Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)
Shalom means to be friendly, happy, prosperous, at peace, be in good health, and to be wholly well. Perfect as used here to bring to complete fullness so nothing is wasted.
Fear stops shalom from happening and coming to full fruition in our lives. Why is this? Because we fear what we don't understand.
A. Protestants fear Catholics because they don't understand them. So they reject them, fear them and become anti Catholic and vice versa Catholics fear Protestants because they don't understand them.
B. Straights don't understand gays and why anyone would be attracted to someone of the same sex as themselves, so become fearful and homophobic leading to people being killed because of their sexual orientation and being perceived as different.
C. Christians don't understand Muslims, especially why anyone would take a plane and crash into the World Trade Center causing the tragedy of 9/11. So we hate and turn against them and justify going to war against them and killing them because they are "different".
D. Blacks and Whites don't understand each other. So they become suspicious of each other, prejudiced and seek to kill each other.
4. What Has Been The Attitude of the Church Generally In All This?
Unfortunately in many cases the church has been the cause of or on the side of those doing the marginalization. They have been the first to lead the charge resulting in anti Semitics, Ku Klux Klan like organizations based on hatred of blacks or anything else they don't agree with, bashing, beating up and killing of gay people, the Crusades, the holocaust of World War II and many other atrocities too numerous to list here.
5. What Would Jesus Do?
Jesus record is clear here. He reached out to the marginalized of His day and made them a main focus of His ministry. Those included the, lepers, adulteresses, prostitutes, tax collectors, political revolutionaries, the poor all whom the rest of society rejected. Following are a couple of examples.
A. Healing of the Demoniac
Mark 5:1-20(New King James Version)
1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me." 8 For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" 9 Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. 11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. 18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
The demoniac was a man whose society forced him to live outside the city in the tombs. They had tried to help the man but failed so they banished him to the tombs, to live naked, abusing himself, crying out in agony but no one listened. Then along comes Jesus and restores the man wholly, to where he is in right mind, fully clothed and in perfect shalom i.e. restoration in all areas of his life including full restoration to his family and society. We would think people would be ecstatic about what happened. They would be glad and overjoyed for what happened to the man. Instead it says they were afraid and begged Jesus to leave pronto. Why because they didn't understand.
B. The Woman At The Well
John 4:1-42 (NKJV selected portions)
John 4 A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah 1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." 11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" 13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." 15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." 16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." 19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." 26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." The Whitened Harvest
27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?" 28 The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him...
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. 42 Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.
We need to be careful how we read this story. Obviously she was a woman who had known tragedy. She had five husbands and then was living with a sixth man. We want to judge her and condemn her. However we are not told why she had five husbands. They may have died, divorced her, abandoned her we don't know. However please note Jesus never condemned her and nor should we. Having said that I believe there are some things we can draw from this story and her place perhaps forced on her by her neighbors and what they thought of her.
The one thing is she goes out at noon in the hottest part of the day. Why? Could it be she was trying to hide? Could she afraid of what her neighbors might think of her, say to her, or might even due to her if she showed up at the same time everyone else did? Might her neighbors have judged her not knowing the facts as many of our churches have done over the years assuming she was a sinner, an adulteress or worse? Could she have been an outcast that the good people of Samaria had marginalized rather than love and deal with her?
I find a comment here rather interesting. In verse 42 it says many of them did not believe the words of the woman until they meant Jesus Himself and then they believed. Why wouldn't they believe her? Could it because she was a woman, an outcast, one of the marginalized people of her day? Who was offering her perfect shalom? No one until Jesus came along and offered it to her. At once she becomes a changed person and an Evangelist going and telling everyone she meant about Jesus.
Who will hear the cry of the marginalized of our society today? Who will go and offer them perfect shalom in all of its many facets? As you reflect on that let me give you some food for thought.
If not us then who? If not now then when? How many people must die from disease, prejudice, wars etc. before we realize to many have already died and be willing to do something about it? How many more must be sacrificed on the altar of prejudice, hate and bigotry before we realize to many have suffered and died because of it and misunderstanding? How long before we realize that no one stands alone and that we need each other? How long before we can take a lesson from nature and the mighty Redwood trees. As I shared at the retreat the mighty Redwood trees have a very shallow root system and by themselves could be easily knocked over. However to prevent that they wrap their roots around each other, holding each other up, and thus nothing can blow them over. When can we be like that?
6. How Does This Affect DOC and the Church Universal?
We are called to be like Christ and imitate Him in all He did. The word Christian refers to a follower of Christ. However this is more than mere intellectual assent to the existence of a man named Jesus. It is more that joining or going to a church somewhere or doing any other things Christians are supposed to do. Those are all good but are not what being a Christian is about. The word for follower used in the New Testament means to be an imitator. Yes Jesus went to church, was baptized, and prayed but it didn't stop there. He also reached out to the marginalized of His day bringing perfect shalom to them. He heard their cry and was their defender, their healer, deliverer, Savior, teacher, Lord whatever they needed He was. That is our call to be to others what they need and bring perfect shalom to them. Jesus once told his disciples to go heal, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils freely without charge. (See Matthew 10:7-8) That is the example we need to follow will we do that?
7. Why Reach Out To The Marginalized?
Some may wonder what good will it do to reach out to the marginalized? Lets look at some examples of people who reached out to the marginalized and see what they accomplished.
A. Mahatma Gandhi
Was a man who went to the "Untouchables" of Indian society and by empowering them, getting them to believe in themselves, and then through non violence won freedom and independence for India. Although not a Christian he did read about and embraced the concept of non violence as taught by Jesus and ran with it. The results are history. He also has something to say to us.
I understand that Gandhi once said "I would be a Christian if it weren't for the Christians". Those he had meant were part of the marginalization of the Indian people. They oppressed them, made them slaves, try to suppress them as a people all in the name of Christ.
I believe that is the cry of many of the marginalized people today. We would be Christian if it weren't for the Christians. We would be a part if only you would invite us. We would love if you could show us how. We would come in and join you if you would open the door to us. We would get up and stand proud if you would quit knocking us down and then when we are down stomping on us, grinding our faces into the dirt. We would see Jesus can who show Him to us?
B. Nelson Mandela
A man who went to the disenfranchised blacks of South Africa. Through apartheid they had been denied their rights, segregated, refused the right to vote, assemble etc. They were treated as second class citizens or worse. Yet once given a vision of a better world that they could bring about, rose up and overthrew apartheid and made themselves the rulers of their country.
C. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
A Baptist preacher who worked in the 1950's and 60's for civil rights for the black people in the south until his assignation in 1968. Though beaten, jailed, denounced he persevered. Gradually he was able to get the system of segregation changed, win passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964), Voting Rights Acts (1965) and many other changes. You may say there is still injustice and relations between white and blacks aren't perfect and we still have a long way to go. May be true but can we thank God we are not where we used to be? Can we thank God for the progress that has been made and use that as a foundation for a new era of understanding between us?
Also note these didn't accomplish what they alone. They did it by bringing together the marginalized for a common cause and kept at until they together won. In closing I would like to quote a song that was originally written for a church I used to belong too and which I believes sums up what I am trying to Say and what I also believe God is speaking to us. The song was originally I believe a song from the 70's called "No Man is an Island" author I don't know. Later modified for my church and now shared here.
NO ONE IS AN ISLAND
No one is an island, No one stands alone. Each ones joy is joy to me Each ones grief is my own. We need one another So I will defend Each one as my brother Each one as my friend.
I saw the people gathered And I heard the music start And the song that they were singing Is ringing in my heart. United in global outreach We shall fulfill God's word. The saints are marching united in Him Take your place and bring. Victory over evil Jesus is our King. Overcoming all unbelief Ruling the nations with Him.
No one is an island No one stands alone. Christians unite together in Him Bring His peace to all men. We need one another So I will defend Each one as my brother Each one as my friend.
This is what I believe God is calling us to do. To see all including the marginalized as brothers and together to overcome evil and bring perfect shalom to all people through Jesus Christ. This is the revolution I talked about at the beginning of this vision. It what God is wanting from us both as DOC and as individuals. This is what I believe being a Christian is about and keeping at until we win and the kingdom of God rules over all the earth. Will you join this revolution with me?
I have as a prophet presented what I believe to be a word in due season from the Lord. However the word says that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. So here I present to you to read, consider, pray about and move as the Holy Spirit leads. Feel free to accept in full, reject, change as God leads you. I would appreciate if you could let me know what you think. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this has blessed you all.
God Bless You
John W. Brown