Nov. 11, 2006
In looking at our western culture and the way of life we have come to hold as sacred, it has become apparent to me that we stand precariously on a very narrow balance beam transversing a heaving and expanding gulf of cultural disintegration. One aspect of this threatening failure of our modern status quo is that of agribusiness: the source of our food supply.
In this country, those of my generation have grown up knowing great abundance, comfort and ease. We have an economy and culture where the masses pay the few to supply the staples of life. No longer is subsistence farming the norm, but agribusiness. The average American family does not grow or raise their own food, but rather spends their time earning money to buy from the supermarket shelves all that they need to live. Were there to be an interruption in the supply of food, such as an energy shortage (no fuel for farm equipment or for trucks to deliver food to the shelves) or a severe enough drought or disease outbreak to destroy the crops and orchards, or a myriad of other circumstances that in and of themselves or in symphony could cause a break in the food supply, we in this country would only be a few days away from hunger. The average American city only has a three day supply of food on their supermarket shelves.
The Lord has spoken to me that the very crisis that I just described is coming in the spiritual realm to the western church. The spiritual storm that now rages all around us is going to do away with western Christianity as we have known it. No longer will Christians spend their time earning money to pay for the books and sermons, tapes and meetings that are their very source of spiritual sustenance. No longer will the many pay the few to feed them. If supermarket Christianity is even left standing, you can bet that its shelves will be left empty.
The "mega-church mega-ministry" that is the spiritual equivalent to the supermarket is going to become obsolete, almost overnight. Supermarket Christianity, where you come once or twice a week for sustenance, is going to fail, and those who have not, over the years, learned to cultivate their own relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will face for the first time in our generation the awful prospect of spiritually starving to death.
Modern agribusiness as we know it is seriously flawed because it has violated God's principles at many turns and on many levels. The same is true of modern Western Christianity, and when you violate God's eternal Kingdom principles, eventually the innovations developed out of greed or out of a desire for ease will themselves mutate into a destructive force, causing the collapse of the system, forcing a return to the more basic, the proven; the life sustaining and recreating.
I used to think that if things ever got really tough, I could plant a garden and get a few chickens and I would make it ok. Now, after years of growing and raising some of our own food, my wife and I have been amazed at one thing above all else: the immense learning curve that's involved. Had we had to depend on our home grown food exclusively, our family would've starved while we were learning!
I also used to think that if things ever got really tough spiritually, I could seek God in earnest and find Him. Now, after years of seeking and finding God, after years of cultivating a relationship with Jesus Christ, I can only ask those of you that think the same way I used to think, what will you do in the flood of great waters? If the footmen have wearied you, how will you contend with the horses? The "learning curve" is immense. He says, "Seek me while I may be found." The night comes when it will be too late to go to those who sell to buy oil.
There are some I know who are self-reliant (not self-sufficient) and if there were an economic collapse, these, with the help of others like them, would survive pretty well, and maybe even thrive. They are, of course, the exception and not the rule. Likewise, there are very few in the Kingdom of God who have independent life. Most must be connected to the body in order to survive. A man once told me, "If I miss church for three consecutive weeks, I backslide." The problem with Western Christians is that they have no more connection to the body of Christ than the average American has to the land that sustains them. They just sit in a pew and buy from the shelf what they need for that week. When that collapses, they will face death with the millions like them.
The famous Olathe sweet corn that we eat here where I live comes from a hybrid seed that has its origins in a seed laboratory. You can't replant a kernel of that corn and expect it to reproduce after its kind. So it is with the eternal life growing in the heartland of Christendom. It's a modern hybrid produced by the church's love affair with the world and the perverted gospel seed spawned from this mixed union. It has no ability to reproduce life, and can only germinate and sprout in the Petri dish of the religion of comfort and ease. When the church's infrastructure is swept away by the waves of the mounting storm, many will take from those "sacred" pews the seeds of promise, only to find that they will not sprout in the new climate and in the soil of adversity. Millions will discover almost overnight that the Christianity upon which they bet their eternal life is all but obsolete. It only works under ideal conditions.
Am I predicting the eventual collapse of our modern "food chain"? Not really, although it appears probable to me, and to others. However, I can say for sure that the collapse of our supermarket Christianity with its synthetically and artificially derived benefits is a surety. It's only a matter of time. If the former falls, it will only be as a mirror or a symptom of the collapse of the latter. The upheaval of the natural world is only the outworking of the spiritual upheaval that the winds of the current spiritual storm usher in. Likewise, in our lives at least, the return to a more concrete relationship with the creation that man was meant to husband has followed a return to a more basic, substantial, and life producing relationship with Jesus Christ the Bread from Heaven. Through experience, we, and others like us, have not only learned to survive, but thrive "off the grid".
It is from the perspective of an outsider, as I stand with dirty fingernails and calloused knees, that I issue this warning to the multitudes thronging Super God-Mart on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Begin to cultivate for yourself what one day you will no longer be able to purchase with your tithes. Cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ.
"For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him" (Ps. 32:6 NKJV).