What Family Life Looks Like?
In our core and foundational beliefs article, we discuss what it means to know and trust in Jesus, as well as some basic principles regarding key aspects of following Jesus together. In this article, we will seek to address how a Family would function. To understand why the disciples of Jesus seek to share our lives together, see the articles entitled, How Should the Followers of Jesus Live our Lives and What is Love? Let's listen to Jesus to find out.
Once a person comes to the place of being rejected by the world and thus starts to look for other disciples to share his Life with (love), and to do the work of the King, they are ready for Family Life. As you will see, rejected by the world is very different than 'community shopping'.
We will assume that another disciple or disciples have a base they are looking to share with other disciples. A base is essentially a property with shelter (housing) which can support the follower's of Jesus as they work for the King. The reason we call it a base instead of a house or our property or some other such label, is because "base" communicates a lack of permanence. The purpose of the base is simply to support disciples of Jesus materially as they walk along the narrow Way. It is a place where they can go to be sheltered from the hatred of the world; a place where they can experience the love of their Father through other of His children; a place where they can rest or be refreshed; a place where they learn more about their King through other more experienced or mature disciples; a place where they can go out from to do the work of the King. In short, our Home is with our Father, while our home in this world is with other disciples, no matter where they are.
To understand what the Flock or Family looks like, let us contrast the "base" concept with a bible based or "christian community". First of all, let us be clear that a bible based or christian community in the U.S.A. is distinct from what people call "the church". "The church" is merely a religious organization or religious social club with virtually no serious effort of the people to actually share their lives. The christian religious organization is simply a place people go to perform their rituals, sing songs they call worship, and have their beliefs affirmed a few times a week. The people who make up the "church" spend the majority of their time pursuing material things, 'careers' and working for mammon. The religious organization's members live lives that are indistinguishable from the materialistic agnostics which fill the U.S.A. today. They make no serious effort to share anything, and have no desire to share their possessions, let alone their lives. You will know they are christians by their religious organization attendance or by their bible knowledge.
In contrast to "the church", the bible based or christian community is trying to manifest the accurate definition of "community".
The definition of a "community" is a group of people living in close proximity, sharing resources to some extent, and working together for common purposes and goals. Communities vary as to the depth of the peoples relationships. Typically, if the people of the community share some high priority - like physical survival (most small villages in materially poor nations); people persecuted for political reasons; or what they view as very important work (many religion based communities) - then the relationships - or friendships - among the people will be deeper or at least more stable.
Christian communities vary widely, and they are generally less materialistic than "the churches". They usually have some component of sharing material things, and the people who make them up generally are more involved in each other's daily lives than "the churches". If these characteristics of an individual involved in the community are faith manifested characteristics, then that individual is to be commended for acting on the faith they have.
However, christian communities are significantly different than the disciples of Jesus forming a little flock or Family. Let us look at some of the major differences.
Bible-based community (BBC) leadership...
Their will be some form of human authority recognized - their will be a leader or leaders which will drive or shape the communities beliefs and direct the activities of the community. This hierarchy will vary much, but ultimately, these human leader(s) direct both the community's practices and to some extent the individual's lives. They might claim the bible is the final authority, but there will be leaders who are looked to to 'properly interpret' and thus understand the bible. Authority - not truth and example - will be the way of the BBC's leaders.
Versus Jesus Flock (JF) leadership:
The only recognized authority is Jesus. He will be each individual's (and thus the collective group's) only spiritual Leader. He will direct people's lives. Understanding Jesus' teaching will happen in life as we live them out and have discussions about his teaching using truth and reason to understand. Decisions regarding group activities will be made by the group collectively with Jesus' teachings as the only guide.
BBC spiritual or religious learning...
There usually will be a formal meeting at a set time or times with those considered the most gifted "teachers" either giving a message-sermon-teaching, or leading a more collectively-oriented meeting. The teaching method will be primarily an intellectual exercise and primarily restricted to the teaching meeting.
Versus JF spiritual learning:
The primary way the less mature will learn is by the daily example of the more mature, since the disciples are living out a shared Life (this is impossible for the christians as they are not involved with each other's daily lives). The more mature disciples will speak the Master's Words in daily life and activities. Individual disciple's primary way to intellectually learn the Way's teachings is by themselves as they read and listen to the Master's teachings. There might be meetings where Jesus's Words are read and discussed, but these meetings are informal and there is no one looked to as the spiritual Teacher other than Jesus himself.
BBC material sharing...
The material sharing that does take place (if any) is usually encoded into law, rules or contract (sometimes based on bible verses other than Jesus's Words), and thus has a legal basis with an enforcement component either plainly stated or implied.
Versus JF material sharing:
The sharing of material things will be completely voluntary based on each individual's will as they are able to receive Jesus's teachings on material things. Sharing will be caught (love), not taught and forced by law.
BBC join reason...
The individuals making up the community are generally there because they were looking for some type of communal-based religious life-style. They like aspects of a more communal (small community) life-style and looked for (or researched) one they liked the best, and generally joined as it was convenient for them to do so.
Versus JF join reason:
Individuals making up the community are generally there because they have been rejected by the world and are looking to agape and be agaped by other children of their Father. They join because they have been rejected or persecuted by the world due to their speaking Jesus's truths and trying their best to live out Jesus' teachings.
BBC main works...
The main work of the bible based community will generally be to help others around the community with normal christian-type activities like giving food to the poor, helping the elderly with various things, assisting with building shelters for the poor, running thrift type shops, supporting their 'missionaries' in various ways, etc. Another major common purpose is to grow the religious organization by various membership methods, thus growing the power and influence of the organization's leaders.
Versus JF main work...
Jesus' disciples main work is to bring Jesus and his Words to others in an attempt to make disciples and thus have others start down the narrow Way of knowing their heavenly Father.
BBC religious activities...
Typically the bible based community will have typical christian type rituals, like "worship" meetings, communion or the last supper, prayer meetings, bible teaching sessions, etc.
Versus JF lack of religious activies:
Jesus's disciples try to agape each other in everyday life as the main expression of worshipping, loving and obeying God. We don't see worship as primarily expressed in songs, but we might sing every now and then, especially as we work and live together each day...it will not be an everybody involved meeting at this set time type thing. We don't do the last supper thing except maybe as each natural family sees fit. We don't pray out loud together since Jesus says don't do that (Matt. 6:6). As already discussed, we don't have bible teaching sessions led by a bible teacher.
To sum up, a little flock of the Light will act like a functional natural family. We believe we have the same Father and thus we will actually try to act like it! The term "brother" and "sister" will be backed up a by daily life of caring for each other, actively aware of our common Father. We will share all that we possess, including our houses-shelters and will not be "looking for our own space" - code language for selfish living. Our purpose, hope and work will be the same as we will be in unity about such important matters, and our DAILY lives will reflect it. We will not be lazy, selfish people who have little concern for righteousness or being a servant to others.
The differences and distinctions between a bible-based community and a Flock or Family of Jesus should be clear to the reader at this point. If they are, then you just might have ears to hear, and now you must do something with the truth you have just heard.
If your 'spiritual life' in comprised of 'going to church' a few times a week, then you have heard the truth in this article, which truth shows the shallowness, loveless-ness and bankruptcy of that "life" / ritual (see Is 'Going to Church' Compatible with the Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth?). You now have a choice before you - a fork in the road has been pointed out to you - so what are you going to do with it? Start down the narrow Way, or stay on the broad way?
If you are a member in a bible-based community, you too have a choice to make. There is something MUCH better than what you have been experiencing. Instead of bringing churchianity, bible-anity, meeting-anity and the american way of life to a community, you can instead be a part of a group of people who have one focus only...to love our Father back by doing what the Son says ONLY. If you are consistently bringing Jesus' truths to the people of the community, then you should be on your way out anyway. Or if you have at least been consistent with some faith based desire, that is often enough to get you put out as well!
Perhaps you are by yourself due to your trying to listen to Jesus and thus seeing the darkness of the world (particularly the religious world) around you, and you have made every effort to not compromise your faith. You need to try and find another disciple to love, for if you don't, then this very important teaching of the Light cannot be manifest in your life:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)
If you so desire, it would be our blessing to receive you and walk along the narrow Way with you!
For each person reading this article, don't worry, the Father has a place for you with one of his Son's little flocks! However, you must listen to the Light and do what he says in order to find one.
If you are interested in coming to join us, please see these two pages:
A Call to Family!
Peace to you!
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