“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matt. 6:4, 18
Clandestine. I’ve always liked the word. On a basic level it means secret, unnoticed, private, internal, concealing, underhand, confidential, illicit. It usually has a negative connotation… relating to secret meetings or cultish activities with the purpose of subversion. Subversion of course is the act of overthrowing an institution or a social structure.
Sometimes I think American Christianity is obsessed with obvious displays of “progress”. I think that Church leaders have kind of created a culture where image, attendance, and participation in programs are signs of progress, and have excused people from actually living lives of obedience to Jesus by preaching programs rather than Jesus. As a result, bigger is better, “cooler” is “truer,” and “popular” is “progress.”
The way of Jesus has from the beginning been “subversive.” The gospel has always been opposed to culture and opposed to the world. It is a wonder then, why Christian leaders insist on accommodating that Gospel to the world and to the culture in which they are called to bring it.
Jesus likened his message of “the Kingdom of God” not to big things, obvious things, or popular things, but to small, hidden, unnoticed, and seemingly insignificant things: a mustard seed which grew to be the greatest tree in the garden, a small bit of yeast that spread through the entire batch, a small pearl which a man sold everything he had to obtain, a few small fish and barley loaves. He was always talking about the value of small acts of kindness: “whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me,” and that the Kingdom of God didn’t belong to those who were powerful, recognized, and celebrated, but to little children, and only people who became like little children could enter it.
I have this hunch that true spiritual living, true obedience, true transformation, and true communities of love are only going to be found in clandestine places… in small acts of kindness done to the poor and to widows and orphans. In seemingly insignificant attempts at doing what we all know to be true, right, and just. In small clusters of friends, eager to find creative ways of loving people who are hurting and in need, and caring for each others’ needs. True obedience to Jesus calls people to clandestinity … to small and hidden things, to covert meetings and relationships that seek to subvert such institutions as slavery, poverty, injustice no matter what their churches are preaching or saying (this is the kind of stuff that they crucified Jesus for saying).
Anyways, I’m rambling now. I just want to be obedient to Jesus first … sometimes that gets blurred in a culture that asks you to be obedient to a leader, a mission statement, a job title, what’s culturally acceptable, etc. I guess I’m looking for a community of people that want the same thing.