When the FF.. began, we ran an "end run". That is, we "gave -ground" for awhile, "by starting all over again." by not building on and with the existing "church "structure, and by rejecting almost all observable influences including unbelievers, liberal Christians, Bible Church Christians, Contentious Christians, Jesus People, etc. This angered most Christians, and they proceeded, in time honored fashions, to try to demolish the FF.., and, in particular Stewart, who was denounced as a "false prophet" more than anything else. The lambs took all this very seriously and there ensued a long period, (about a year) of testing Stewart- within and without the F.F. The kiddies debated every imaginable doctrine with various members of various local churches in an attempt to discover-various truths, or so they thought. Actually, there were often poorly or totally undisguised attempts to fill the front rows of the local churches with vivacious, bouncy, energetic, and ever so cute "Jesus kids', who were to become "actively involved' in their church (and hopefully, breathe a little life into it). After all, "you kids need sound Bible teaching, etc. etc, We were told to join the local "church of your choice' instead of trying to become an indigenous group, and following a false prophet.'
And so we were treated to the most interesting procession of brethren (and sistern too) coming to 'fellowship' with us and alternatively finding Stewart to be, a tool of the devil, possessed of the devil, led by the devil, and being the devil himself! Under the international rules of playing church-it was a good shot. After all, when 2 or more people say " amen, brother", to anything at all--that makes it true!
But they were ill prepared to deal with a clamoring bunch of kids saying "well, hold it now", etc., and demanding proof. And so, as quickly as they-came they were "Lead of the Lord" to leave muttering dire predictions as they excite confident of the soon demise of the F.F., and feathering their beds at our expense, as the unfaithful servant whom Jesus commended for his wisdom (Lk 16:9 Job 31:21).
But Jesus had plans for us and finally their playing church became so apparent to all that all could understand and thus avoid these brown. traps that lead to ease in Zion, and although we were "Friendless" and vulnerable for awhile, we remained, together to continue our still open ended growth! Praise God!
Now the F.F. is strong--very strong,. and because of our love of truth (Jesus) we have withstood those attacks so well, that we are no longer giving ground but gaining it at an increasing rate!
We no longer need to be defensive and just "hanging on for dear life", fearfully hoping just to survive. We are making real headway, on ground of our choosing and we have won the initiative in our warfare-and the ability to stay on the offensive, which opportunity Jesus has given us!
While C.C.'s are no longer
a problem, but sought after education and entertainment, we are not left
of work and warfare. One of the greater major "prices" that we must now "pay" for our existence, is the risk of
disturbing and incurring the wrath of "The Powers of This World". We seem to live on the edge of disaster and
on the verge of extinction, just as, much as two years ago. Only the stakes, circumstances, victories are greater. We as the Psalmist, are often in fear, of being overwhelmed by our "enemies", our troubles, in and with this world. We badly need to understand this danger, and, to learn how to live with it.
"The powers" themselves increasingly are fearing our upsetting their
"plans" for the next generation. They are carried along by forces which
they themselves do not understand. They view our success-(those that
see it) as a threat to them and a reproach upon their inability to demonstrate
viable believable direction to the young. To put it simply, they
are jealous and suspicious of us (in our appeal to the young) and will
not and do not hesitate to resort to unfairness in their attempts to bring
us down, but war is war and we must learn to "carry a sword in one hand
and a trumpet in the other."
After all, we started it showing their young how to kick the "brown cow" habit, instead of being the cute, harmless, "Jesus People" that we were supposed to be. The F.F.. has been together and growing for over two years, and we now have an appreciable body of experience and data from which to draw, and with which we can begin the long and difficult process of moving from generalizing about our various problems to formulating specific battle plans. Before we can possibly try to wage a wise, spiritual, F.F. war, it is necessary to sit down and consider where and how we ought to fight for what. With this in mind. we ought to try to catalog our advantages and dis-advantages, and proceed from there with their balance always in mind.
The purpose of this paper is to begin putting in writing some basis for our understanding of the external opposition that we now face, and will face till Jesus comes. The collective generalization "The Powers of this World" means governments, (especially local ones) police, school, parents, (especially worldly ones. Mt. 10:36), big business, the press, employers, neighborhoods, norms, "church", friends, society in general and, indeed, almost any older person.
It would be irresponsible to consider the powers as consciously evil and uniting to purposely keep young people away from Jesus, although the enemy of our souls, the devil, uses all of them to accomplish this effect. So we need to keep an eye on the ruler of this world and his workings. (Eph 6:12). The truth is that many of the powers with whom we deal individually are well intentioned, humanly speaking, and that some of their offices are ordained by God himself. (Romans 13:6). Yet Pharaoh, the spirit of human rulership, finally rules over all these, so they must spend their lives making Bricks for him, instead of living to directly glorify God. It would be wiser to think of the powers as intransigent cattle-heavy and hard to move, and deeply absorbed in their own kind of pursuits, and strongly disliking to be disturbed from their bovine plodding.
In everything, we should try to be responsible, and thus gain the respect of outsiders. For example, it is irresponsible, wrong, and thus weak to call the President of the United States "Hitler", or the police "pigs" Instead of "playing God" it is our responsibility to pray for him and other leaders, while defensively keeping an eye out for tricks perpetrated by the ruler of this world, who partly works through the weaknesses of these people and powers. ( Pr. 20:16, K.J.) "Cheap rhetoric gaineth nothing in the distant chase, but a wise eye seeth trouble coming, that one may flee".
In the light of Ece. 3:18, and the fact that the Bible uses the figure of cattle to describe people more than any other animal, except sheep, (which are used to represent saved people), we need to understand the powers as being mostly cattle, with some foxes, dogs, swine, goats, and, yes, some sheep, all dwelling together, but each pursuing their own interests, and finally fragmented in those individual interests.
Why is it so hard for us to talk with and deal with older people? What can and should be done about it? What does the future hold for us in this regard? So what is a kid to do? How is he to handle the situation in which he finds himself after he is saved? How does he stay faithful to Jesus, to his calling, and to his new view of reality, just beginning to appear? To his bewilderment, he finds that other people, especially older people, are already plotting to return him from orange to brown. (Mt 10:36)
We need to see ourselves as called to rescue young people from their
fate- that of becoming the brown older generation themselves, and, in turn
having their children consider them to be hypocrites. We need to
see the F.F.- and "the powers" locked in a mortal struggle over the control
of the direction of the younger generation. They are determined that
their children shall grow up and live like them- dull brown cattle.
We are determined that they shall get smart, get saved, and
live for Jesus as his honest, happy, sheep!
ADVANTAGES IN DEALING WITH "THE POWERS"
We have several advantages when dealing with older people who represent the powers. The greatest is our almost unique devotion to the much feared, respected, and unconquerable force of truth. We have the knowledge that finally, Jesus is working through us because we love him. For another, the powers are usually in spiritual darkness, while we have the light of life. The powers simply, do not understand their young and are not able to empathize with them, while we are! While it is true that the powers can afford to sit back, trust biology, and. wait for the "rebellious youth" to come to them and become like them, in the meantime we have "a good chance at them",. to change their course from the futile ways of their fathers to the meaningful ones of Jesus! Another advantage that we have is something unique to this generation sees or at least feels the great unfaithfulness and hypocrisy of the present "powers." They cannot express it well, but it is so obvious to them, that it is one of the strong causes of unity and fellowship between all young people. This can and does powerfully work to our benefit, since we cannot be charged by them with similar hypocrisy. Another "advantage" we have is the détente between sheep and cows. They are tolerating us while we are not tolerating them.. We are. actively pursuing their children, while in some ways, they just stand there & watch us. We can continue and further this advantage by not needlessly breaking their "rules and norms."
Another advantage we have in winning "calves" is that we are believable in their eyes. They know that they need some kind of direction in life, and we represent one of the few alternatives to becoming "brown cows . Another help is that kids tend to flock together anyway, and that's just what our fellowship is anyway. After all, what attracts kids more than other kids anyway?
The young have no believable leaders and "heroes" among adults, and consequently they look to each other for fellowship and, sadly, for direction. This, of course is because so few if any care enough about young people to stop throwin stones and above lay down their own interests and take up those of providing genuine direction for the young. So, in one real sense, we are fighting a vacuum in our attempts to catch and hold the interest of the young.
These advantages, coupled with the circumstances of our openness, our image as strong, the late hours of our houses, our freedom, and our togetherness, combine to permit us to "lay a heavy hand" on all young people unique struggle assigned to us. We are not powerless in our struggle!
But our advantages will not serve to counter balance our disadvantages. They can and should be used only to circumnavigate the traps of the advanced tricker of the older people, whose interest lies in their own passions and the desire to seduce the young into glorifying them by choosing their paths.
Lets face it! Sheep can't really influence cows, and we need to remember
John 16:8- that it is the Holy Spirit who moves people, and that we can't!
The "brown cow" is too great a challenge. How much less, then, when
a "fearless" lamb tries to take on a cow or a bull? Even calves are too
great a challenge, although lambs calves, and saved and unsaved teen-agers
don't realize this consciously, and so can and still do "fellowship"
somewhat in spite of their great differences.
Some of the weaknesses of the powers in this matter
1. They are alienated from the young because
they obviously cannot convince them of their genuine
concern for them.
2. They do not understand enough of the real truth for it to really be their guide. They do not love truth
and so are in darkness.
3. They are wasting themselves and their strength. They are "getting nowhere" and, in the eyes of their
young, are not peaceful and happy
4. They wrongly expect the "calves" to stop "flirting" with us and return to Egypt, and so leerily try to
ignore us and hope we'll go away.
The powers aren't aware that we are going to judge the world, so they aren't afraid of us or even of the greater Spirit that is within us. But, on the other hand, they do avoid is, and only tolerate us. They are leery of us, much in the same fashion as a cow would be uncomfortable if approached by a sheep. We need to understand the workings of this "Peach" so that we can exploit it to the fullest, to the glory of the great Shepherd, Who uses us to bring calves to him, so that we can convert them into sheep! What a Marvel!
Just as the wise men scales the walls and as a wise man saves a city
by his wisdom, so we must use our advantages to the fullest and discover
how we can most effectively deal with "the powers" who are too powerful
for us. We need to concentrate, individually and as a group, on examining
and wisely calculating the most effective use of our few advantages,
with which we are blessed and, as much as possible, see to it that all
necessary conflicts with "the powers" are fought on grounds where our "weapons"
are most effective.
OUR DISADVANTAGES AND PROBLEMS IN DEALING WITH "THE POWERS"
It would be naive of me to write "be careful not to be used by older people", because it is inevitable that you will be used" (Pa. 106 37.&38) Considering the universality of the Doms and Dols, their obvious lack of genuine concern. for you, your ineptitude in dealing with them, your lack of straight appeal to them, and their intransigence, you are powerless to stop them from rolling over you and having "fun."
We know that .the older
one gets, the sicker he gets. That is, corruption means that our
sin, (humanly speaking) deepens as one "matures". It gets worse,
and not better, until the only time he is getting off is when he is sinning.
(Gen. 6:5). Ask older people whether they are worse sinners now then
when they were ten years old, whether they care about it, and what they
are doing about it. Ask them whether they care enough about the younger
generation to sacrifice them-
selves and their interests and to crucify their flesh through the new birth, in order to provide the best possible example to them! Ask them whether they are happy and, if they say yes, ask them "what is the source of that happiness?". Ask them what their advice for you might be. Then answer for yourself whether sin increases in us as we age (humanly) and if that's the way you want to be when you are their age!
Usually, older people amply demonstrate in their. words and actions that they are not really interested in giving their lives for better and true direction for young people. Their interest is in gratifying their own passions and pursuing their own interest and they themselves have little interest in the welfare of the younger generation( They don't even care enough about you to come and save you from me, by showing openly how I am a false shepherd.)
The Cliché' about not trusting anyone over 30 is largely true-unless it should be lowered to the early 20's! We cannot, in the near future, expect to have any influence on the population as a whole because of the intransigence of the older people. We have "nothing to offer them" because they have lost interest in truth and have settled into the dull cattle routines.
Only when we are immensely more successful than we are now will older people consider us seriously.
Only when they can tell themselves that lots of other cattle (older people) are into it too, will the population in general, be "impressed" by us and only then will they openly do the one about "success" respect, "you're doing a good job" etc., and only then will they "sit down", and listen, because, being older, they aren't Impressed with truth- only power, comfort, prestige, etc.,
Unfortunately, we will find that older people will always be interested in us in only one identifiable way- that of doms and dols. Since it is too gross to even consider appealing to them on. this basis, we are left with exactly no useful tools to use in seriously reaching them from their point of view. Later, when we are older and more "successful" they, may listen, but for now it is largely a waste of time..
So what do we do meantime? Essentially nothing (with older people) . You know too well how those who are well practiced and successful at handling browns won't lay down their "hard-won. trophies" which they value, and won't admit to you that it's all a fraud. Even if they somewhat wanted to- pride keeps them from doing it, and the thought of being in fellow with you youngsters instead of the other cattle is unthinkable to them. Only through "acceptable" preaching can they be reached- and that really is a different ministry than the F.F. and, in my judgment, a very ineffective one, because if it really worked- there should be many Stewarts (at least in direction) and many Forever Families.
A COMING USE OF THE FOREVER FAMILIES.
are in control, power, authority, "use" irresponsible people by setting
them up as their of "opposition" and allowing them freedom to fight the
establishment". This is one example of the games of Mt. 11:17 & Lk.
7:32 & All involved are happy. The "underdog"- just because he
is irresponsible was never really going to get anywhere anyway, so he is
glad to settle for & gets off on his moment of attention. The
"man" in power continues to enjoy even more "favor" since he has magnanimously
met and overcome yet another attack. A recent example was the attention
leader of the independent truckers in his irresponsible charge that the "only gas shortage is the one that the oil companies contrived with the compliance of the government". He represents no serious threat to the handling of the situation by those responsible, and he was set up on TV amidst 50 "followers"- to present his views. Another example of this is the Popes recently giving an audience to some Cogs and praising them. He doesn't fear. them. He knows that they are irresponsible and will finally come to nothing, so he has nothing to lose and everything to gain from "helping" them. It's good P.R. Never accept praise from men- it's not free anyway- you'll be expected to pay it back. (Pro. 6:1 through 5).
In not fighting back at all, I stop just short of this by encouraging people to deal with Bro. Sell & other C.C.'s but for other reasons, we should be more familiar with this ploy. First, we should understand how we are being "afforded" this kind of "breathing" (and growing") space by many people now- who are just expecting the F.F. to fall- because they are convinced that we are irresponsible as a group. This will fade away and another version of this maneuver will appear.
The press will
more and more be offering" us the opportunity for exposure. But it will
be partly from this approach. We are in "demand" so that people
can theorize and fantasize about out expected demise. At
least, eventually, of course we cannot remain publicly unknown, nor is
there any special need to do so. But since it is of little value,
in itself , because it caters only, to older people, public notice of the
F.F. should be as much as possible, on our terms, and calculated by us
to undercut attempts on the part of "the powers", to succeed in influencing
young people against us!
It is hard for many of us to understand this, but in spite of the success
which they admit, most "authorities" are at least doubtful
of our ability to grow 'and keep it together, and most expect us to fall
apart! Statistically, they have a good case, but they do not understand
the F.F. and are generalizing about us, and these two weaknesses in thinking
lead to wrong conclusions about us.
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT TACTICS
It is essentially useless for the F.F. to try to deal with the powers until we are "successful" in their eyes, because until then, they will only try to use us to indulge and gratify their fantasies. When sheep feed among cattle, they don't try to push them around- they just largely ignore them. Yet they will be seen to play with calves- if the cows let them!
Just because there is so little healthy concern for young people today, there is usually no need to deal with older people in order to reach the young. As with most situations in the world, it is sad it is so, but it is true that young people largely form their ideas on their own. This also works very well in our favor.
Basically, then, our usual approach should be that of "outflanking" older people, rather than direct "attack". This a practical version of John. 2:24. WE should reserve our energy & direct delivery for the young, who understand it, and appreciate it more! We must learn not to proceed in any situation with "the powers" until we understand the issue, the truths involved, their "handle" over us and, most difficult of all, the browns that are coming into play. Unless there is a reasoned likelihood of "winning", be wise and don't start something that you can't finish.
Most of all, it would be to our advantage for "the powers" to honestly admit their failure and hypocrisy step aside- but now let us not fantasize! Basically, it is thus advantageous for us to (1) have "the powers" wildly, fearfully, uninformedly, irrationally, and unfairly attacking us, (if they foolishly choose to) while (2) we continue together growing, open, truthful, different, controversial, and in short, attractive to young people everywhere, who at least feel the norm of hypocrisy among their elders.
In conclusion then, let us consider the following:. (1), There is little communication between cattle and calves, let alone between lambs and bulls. (2) You cannot seriously hope to influence older people with our strange "way". (3) Concentrate heavily on the calves (4) Calculate and exploit the toleration toward us on the part of the cattle instead of almost pointlessly throwing it away as we have been!
Since we by now realize that we cannot get a fair hearing from all- we must settle for what we can get. We should also realize that we are extremely successful on a one to one basis with young. People especially those who have never heard of us or who are trying to be fair as most young people are. But we are increasingly not allowed the luxury of freedom to work with the young since the older generation- saved and unsaved are engaged in resisting us "from the sidelines". The coming "publicity" about us represents a major opportunity for us to wisely defuse their works.
Any dealing with "the powers"..will have to be on their terms, since we can force nothing from them. So it follows that we will have to learn how to play their games better then they do! This means that we will need to understand them first of all, but for us this shouldn't be hard! There is nothing heavily new in all this, but we should organize our thinking here and get it in writing for the lambs, if nothing else.
We must learn how to turn older
peoples' tricks, strengths, fantasies, expectations, and desires,
to our advantage, since we are powerless to remove them. It is worth finding and studying these procedures, since
we can safely assume that all people will follow various variations of their games. Very few of us now understand.
this kind of maneuvering. Later most of us will be able to handle this, but even now, most of us realize that
our "only hope" in dealing with "the powers" lies in something like this given the problems we face.
Karate and other fighting forms use the strengths and weaknesses of
the enemy to their own disadvantage. We in our own insight, have the opportunity
to do this. For instance, they think that by putting us down they
are "winning" -but they are only increasing our appeal to those whom
they are trying to insulate from us!
(Because they do "it" unfairly)
The powers can all be trusted not to enter into seriously or fairly
presenting orthodox Christian teaching in their "attacks" on us, largely
because they neither understand it or care about it. So, strange as it
may seem, we ought not to waste our time and effort and pearls by seriously
trying to engage in Doctrinal discussions" with the powers, since
the real battle with them, inevitably will be fought on other grounds anyway!
Just do a Jn. 2,-24 and save your teaching energy for the
younger, more open, and more honest.
Finally, with some human understanding of the problem, let us consider
a small area of the direction given (I Cor..9:22, Rom. 11:14) by Scripture.
Here's what Paul did in this area. He was flexible, in order that he might
by all means "save" some. He "used" peoples' weaknesses rather than
fight them on every point. (Acts17:22) He both shouted the truth and
escaped over the wall in a basket! He divided and conquered. (Acts23:6) He did the most effective thing at
hand and learned how to have peace in whatever situation he found himself (Phillip 4:12 & 13) And Jesus urged us
to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves, considering the "wolves" we are among. (Mt. 10:16) Jesus
himself was, of course, the master wielder of the sword of truth. We can learn most of all by studying and under-
standing His handling of the problems with the POWERS OF THE WORLD.