Christianity has often been said to be “subversive.” I take it what we mean by that is that the gospel will, when lived out in a robust manner in a particular place, tend with God’s help to undermine the established cultural order. The genius of Christianity is in fact that this is the way God works. The frontal assault is not usually the way God works. He did with the Apostle Paul, but then again most of us are not in that league. Usually God’s way is slow and indirect, planting a seed that might not germinate for a long, long time.
I think about this a lot. I want to see the gospel change things sooner rather than later. I have reminded God a lot this week that it actually looks to the human and untrained eye that we are losing the culture wars and people in general are increasingly finding it hard to believe in the divine, let alone Jesus and the cross. And then God reminds me of mustard seeds and parables and farming and feasting. God obviously doesn’t have my time table. His method is not usually direct but subtle and subversive. Put a seed in the ground and nothing happens. And then, after patience, weeding, watering—abundant fruit.
This week we will look at how Christianity was uniquely subversive in the Roman Empire and totally subverted the established order in less than three hundred years. The good news is it was not with political parties, democrats or republicans—not with cohesion or because we had “Christians” in office to legislate morality. It was quite the opposite. It was local communities living out a different vision of what it meant to be human that brought about human thriving.
Hope to see you Sunday,