Rather nonchalantly, I picked up Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.” Surprisingly, I couldn’t stop reading. The tectonic plates of my soul began to move and the trajectory of my life and leadership came into a new laser focus. The parallel polis concept flowing from Eastern European Christianity chimed a bell in my interiority. The minority doesn’t beat the system, we build parallel systems within the dominant system. My mind raced with the parallel systems our team would need to create….economic, educational, food, transportation, medical, religious, and on and on. (I remember having the strangest thought, “Some day soon, if I am sick, I won’t be allowed into the medical system.”) I had ZERO idea of what was to come.
Thrilled and chilled by the sense of a fast approaching ostracization (being banned from the systems of the world), I purchased a copy for each of our MCA Church board members. Some members were willing to read because “The Pastor asked me to read this.” Others were reticent and resistant. However, we all managed to read the work and convened special conversations that led to scenario planning. “How will we lead MCA Church when we are not allowed to publicly gather?” “What parallel systems will we have in place for the day our children are not allowed in public schools (Interestingly, a local school principle who served on our Board of Directors was SUPER helpful)?” What parallel systems will we have in place for the day when our members can’t buy or sell?
In conversation with our Board of Directors, I said. “I feel the need for a several week season of rest, sun, and prayer. I’m leading a two week ministry effort in Thailand and will be taking two additional weeks for rest, reflection, and preparation.”
In January of 2020, reading and praying in our Bangkok hotel swimming pool, a tiny bit of the gargantuan concept of a pandemic began to be opened to me. I was reading a One Year Bible and it hit me like a Warren Redfearn train, “The world will never be the same – especially for conservative Christians.” Flying back to Alaska, I was praying and like a whack on the side of the head I instantly caught it. “The Holy Spirit has been preparing me and the MCA Board of Directors for this very reality! We already have entry level conceptualizations of the parallel polis concepts for the flock of God for whom we serve. I wasn’t on vacation to rest from my work, but to be rested for the upcoming labor.
All I remember about 2020 (sort of) is that no two minutes were like the previous two minutes. From my perspective there was deep global warfare in the natural and spiritual worlds. I continued in prayer, “Lord, when the battle’s over, may we have a clearer understanding of the parallel systems we need to have in place?”
The searching of my soul brought, simultaneously, much angst and anticipation, concern and faith.
- What systems do I want to intentionally and purposefully leave?
- What systems will intentionally and purposefully exclude me?
- What parallel systems do I want to create?
At an entry level, I decided that I will intentionally and purposefully leave systems that are predominantly opposed to my callling from God to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The communication systems most opposed to my upward call in Christ Jesus to preach the Good News are Facebook, Youtube, Apple, Google, and Bing. Surely there are others, but these are the systems i most use that I prayerfully, intentionally, and purposefully decided to abandon.
Yesterday I announced that I am personally merging out of Facebook and moving my social media network to Gab. It is humorous. Almost 4,000 are friends on Facebook and as of this writing I have zero friends on Gab (been public there a total of three hours). I would love to be your Gab friend. PastorKent907 is my profile.
I am merging out of imessage, messenger, gmail, and other apps owned and operated by the companies already mentioned and have selected “Signal” as my text message app. To my knowledge Signal is among the most rigorously secure messaging apps available today. Just for fun, I made up a name for my Signal profile. I use my MCA landline phone number (the 907 330-___ #) but my name is Vernon Bascom. No real reason for the alias, except to make me smile.
Yes, I am personally leaving YouTube also. I have selected Rumble for delivering video content. We’ll see how it works and make adjustments as necessary. My Rumble profile is PastorKent907. I am also on a roll there with zero videos posted. However, during our 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer, starting Sunday, August 15, 2021, I will be presenting a live daily Pastoral Tuck In each evening at 9 Anchorage Local Time.
I am unsure which phone and computer I will use. The Katim phone, Bittium Mobile 2 C, and the blockchain Sirin Finney U2 phone are in consideration. I have not determined best ways forward for my computer selection.
My View of You
Once or twice in a lifetime a friend as close and meaningful as Rick Benjamin enters a life. I fear to think of where my life would be without my mentor and friend. Rick asks me often, “What do you think of those who differ from your opinion?” I jokingly reply, “I don’t.” :0)
On a more serious note. I believe in a corporate theology well captured in our Christian creeds. Virtually every Christian creed you read will include the line, “We believe.” Why? Christian belief is a we thing. Our faith is corporate. Living within our corporate theology and doctrine, we have individual callings, nudges, and personal requirements from God. Although I don’t drink alcohol, my hair isn’t long because I do not have a Nazarite calling and haven’t taken a Nazarite vow. That’s not my deal. I bless all of the Nazarites and hope they don’t mind that I am not enrolling any time soon (the Lord willing).
I can barely hear from God for my own life and have no pretention to hear from God for yours. One of my least favorite lines is, “God told me to tell you…” generally followed by some kind of controling, insulting, rifraf. PLEASE do not misunderstand what I am doing to be some kind of requirement from God for you. He may call you into the Facebook world as a missionary, that is up to Him. As a child I watched our neighbors house burn. Everyone was doing their best to get people OUT of the house, while the firemen were running IN to the house. Those going out and those going in were both pleasing to the Lord.
God did NOT tell me to leave Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. Those are my personal decisions flowing from my perspectives of the systems, principalities, and powers ruling in our generation. I have no advice on where God wants you to serve.
At the same time, I have an urgency in calling all of us to greater pursuit of God’s wisdom in this age in which the systems (ages, according to the Apostle Paul) clash.
This passage is well worth our meditation and reflection.
7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:7-21