Micah Redding — faith in humanity's future

Jesus Movement

In the first century, Jesus of Nazareth walked into history and left an impact that reverberated throughout the world. No one before had left such a mark. In the wake of his short, amazing life, an surge of change exploded out towards the ends of the earth, and dispelled a thousand years of darkness and oppression.

For several hundred years afterwards, this Messianic movement, proclaiming Jesus and his lifestyle, was the brightest and most liberating force on earth. It proclaimed the reconciliation of God and man, the forgiveness of humanity’s sins, the removal of death, the equality of all races and genders and social strata, and the identity of humanity as co-workers with God.

It alone showed a path towards peace and justice for the oppressed peoples of the world. It made no compromises: for Jesus, the means were the ends. The way of Jesus was to achieve peace by individually and deliberately ceasing violence ourselves.

This Jesus movement wasn’t looking for a utopia. It was the utopia, if such a thing could even be discussed. Within their social circles, slaves and slaveholders were friends and equals. Men and women conversed freely and openly, and races and nationalities were united in a way never before seen in human history.

This movement was a light to the world, shaking the foundations of every institution in every nation. The outsiders, seeing this drastically different order being embodied in their midst, were shaken to their core. Governments began to crumble and fall.

The natural result of this world-wide disruption was a series of takeover attempts that culminated in Emperor Constantine’s assumed conversion. The empire legalized Christianity, and then began the process of regulating it, turning it into a tool for the enhancement of state power. Christianity, the movement, was never the same.

Nevertheless, the truth still remains, and the message is still available for anyone who wants it. Individuals throughout history have glimpsed pieces of the message, even when they didn’t fall into the accepted Christian groups. These individuals grasped hold of what they saw, and ended slavery, abolished discrimination, fought violence with non-violence, and worked to transform the world.

This effort is ongoing, and today remains in our hands. We are the heirs of Jesus of Nazareth, a poor worker who displayed the truth more clearly than it had ever been. He spent three years in dirt and sweat and open fields, with friends and food, showing his country-men the reality that was breaking in around them. It is up to us to reclaim that message for our world.


From Redding Mountain:

from Lawrence R.<br />A little filling in of details would help.<br />In what sense were the foundations shaken?<br />Which governments began to crumble as a result of christianity?<br />How do you know it was a result of christianity?<br />Why do we still have governments today?<br />If the gates of hell could not prevail against the work of God<br />was the friendliness of government a more potent source of demonic force?


Yes. :) This is a not a historic treatise in any sense; it&amp;#39;s more a rough draft of a feeling I get from the Jesus story itself, and how I see this in light of subsequent events. Ever since I began to see certain things in Jesus&amp;#39; teachings, I&amp;#39;ve been writing and re-writing, attempting to find a way to convey that message. This is just another attempt.<br /><br />Here is part of my thought-process:<br /><br />The foundations of society began to be shaken within the New Testament itself. People accused the Christians of &amp;quot;turning the world upside down&amp;quot; (Acts 17, for example). Part of the source of disruption was that &amp;quot;Jesus is Lord&amp;quot; went directly against &amp;quot;Caesar is Lord&amp;quot; (again, see Acts 17). Further, the very reality the Christians were living out went against the structure of the empire (slaves eating with slave-holders, etc), and thus was a threat to its power.<br /><br />Where Jews and Romans and slaves and rulers had co-existed in mutual hatred through carefully constructed boundaries - the Christians came crashing through all of the walls they could find. They were living out a reality that Jesus had displayed, and so the world was shaken - both because the world&amp;#39;s philosophical foundations were being challenged at a deeper level than ever before, and because the world realized and saw that this challenge was dangerous.<br /><br />The fact of governments crumbling during this time seems to be established <br />(see what was happening to the Roman Empire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_of_the_Third_Century )<br />- the cause of that crumbling is what will probably always be up for interpretation. Consider that around the time of Constantine&amp;#39;s conversion, Christians numbered as much as 10% of the empire. Therefore, whatever they were doing was going to have a huge effect on society. Edward Gibbon was a historian who was critical of Christianity for causing the Roman collapse - he blamed it on the Christians&amp;#39; general pacifism and failure to want to sacrifice for the empire. <br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire#Gibbon.27s_theory<br /><br />We still have governments today because the governments found a way (and continue to find ways) to adjust to the increasing freedom of the human spirit. Governments have always found their limits of power when coming up against someone who follows a reality higher than they are. Even when it was entirely pagan, The Roman Empire itself had to tolerate Christians, not because they fought back, but simply because they were stronger - insistent on following their own path, regardless of what Rome could do. It doesn&amp;#39;t take much of that before governments start to bow.<br /><br />Modern governments practice democracy as a way to let people feel like they have more control. They give us freedoms to let us feel like we aren&amp;#39;t their subjects. That is fine. But as these modern governments set themselves against the true human spirit, they will have to fall back. We&amp;#39;ve seen this with slavery, racism, etc. It would be a mistake to think the civil war ended slavery - the end of slavery was coming, and the Union jumped on board the bandwagon to avoid obsolescence. Constantine saw the same thing - every persecution of Christians had failed, and it was time to jump onboard the train of history.<br /><br />And finally, I would say the gates of hell never did prevail against the work of God. His work is established. Daniel&amp;#39;s &amp;quot;stone&amp;quot; has been cut from the mountain. It is still growing, and will continue to grow as we recognize it among us. The sudden friendliness of the empire to Christianity wasn&amp;#39;t successful in destroying the work of God, but it was successful in temporarily obscuring the nature of that work.<br /><br />Perhaps Daniel&amp;#39;s stone smashing the idols of the world threw up a cloud of dust that, for a moment, obscured it from view. But the dust will clear, and the stone will be seen as the mountain it is.