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As children of light we must live in the light of Messiah. We must live in our saving faith. Yet it is very clear that the Body of Messiah is not dedicated to living the faith it has received. It is clear that in many regards it does not know what it believes and is heavily wedded with the world, taking on the world’s values, attitudes, words and spirit even to the point of hating the Word of God, just as secularists do. It is truly a sick Body. These realities became very clear to me within a few years of coming to faith, as I learned more about the Word of God and about historically what brothers in Messiah had done to seek to live righteously in the Savior. It became very clear that few efforts are made to do this today, and certainly not on any large scale.
For that same reason, it became particularly attractive to imagine a real, organized, managed community of Christians, living according to that new heart Yeshua had given them, and doing all things together in righteousness and faith. Work. Living. Evangelism. Worship. The idea seemed like a dream and very far away, but it seemed real and necessary nonetheless. The vision wells up spiritual excitement in the chest and brings vivid imaginations. Coming to my newfound faith in a sense through my Jewish background, I learned a few things about the running of religious communities in the Orthodox Jewish world. Although they do not have Messiah and although I find them overly introverted, their communities did present a kind of sketch of what people diligently seeking righteousness together might involve. I also did some reading over time about others who have worked together in this regard, be it the early Christians we read of in scripture and history, those groups which had all things in common and took care of their own through charity, adopting children who were left by the pagans to die, or be it the many communities small and large which have arisen through the years. The Mennonites, the Hutterites, the orthodox monastics such as Benedictines or modern historically-inspired groups such as the Bruderhof. I find a piece of inspiration in each of them, as well as possibly some examples of things not to do.
It has recently dawned on me to stop dreaming, and start working to establish such a community. In a sense this is what I believe we all should be doing, or should have been doing from the start. One reason for my leap from dreaming to action was meeting another such brother, Andrew Beacham of Q Ministries, who is working on establishing a Christian farm for the preservation and spread of the faith. Having partnered with him, and truly been inspired by him, I do not see why I should not take steps on my own to establish a running, self-sustaining Christian community. It may seem far away right now, and most Christians may seem asleep. Yet if it is God’s will, then by His mercy we will see it come to pass.
Right now the closest thing I have to a community is my own family, which I try to model after biblical teachings and
historical traditions as well. I suppose secondly my church is also an example, although it doesn’t try to accomplish as much as a village does. Yet I am seeking to branch out from both of these models, be it through finding major funding to establish a village outright, or simply growing step by step from my family outward right here where I live, or even be it by inspiring you, dear brother, to begin work on the community yourself. I am calling it Anastasia. In Hebrew that is T’Chiyah. This is because our community intends to be one thing for the Kahol: it intends to life from the dead.
The name Anastasia itself means resurrection. It is a beautiful Greek name that grew in use after an early female Christian martyr bore the name. The prefix “ana” means to do something again. You might have heard of the Anabaptists, who were so called because they were early credo-baptists and in the eyes of many they were getting baptized a second time. So ana, in Anastasia is something you do again; here it means you rise again. You resurrect. In the Hebrew tradition, the great resurrection is T’chiyah. You will not find the exact word in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in fact the word kum might be a more logical choice, but you will frequently find its form of origin (chayah) which means simply to live. When the Psalmist says: Let my soul live (Psalm 119:175), he says t’chi for let live. T’chiyah was the choice through tradition to mean to live again through the resurrection. T’chiyat hametim means “the resurrection of the dead.”
Now we all know without asking what the first knee-jerk reaction to plans for a Christian community is. The first knee-jerk reaction is that you must be planning to isolate yourself. It really is a deeply prejudicial reaction, sadly. Imagine someone saying they are black, and responding – you must be a criminal. Or someone saying they’re a man, and responding – you must be a rapist. You’d never think to do that, would you? But for some reason when people proclaim the need for a true tangible, organized self-sustaining Christian community, they immediately respond – you must be an isolationist. The reaction is prejudicial to the extreme, and it damagingly tars and feathers someone with a terrible stereotype.
Rather than go on about how ridiculous the claim is, let me respond by speaking about some of its characteristics which are quite outgoing, as well as by reassuring you about some claims regarding this community. Moreover, I’d then like to ask you a few challenging questions regarding the Body of Messiah as it currently is – as a very worldly and secular body of people – and ask you to explain how exactly that is a good witness, or how exactly that takes the battle to the front. I believe a structured Christian community will take the battle to the front, and let me tell you why.
1—Stereotypes about a self-sustaining community being way out in the country are not necessarily true. The community could be built step by step in the city or suburbs as well. People generally lean towards the country for such projects because of the space and the prices, but it’s not necessary. The communal group the Bruderhof, for example, has a center in Harlem, New York. Is that too far out for you? Various monastics also have centers in the city, and are in regular contact with its residents. The monks of St. Patrick evangelized half of Europe.
2—The community will contact the surrounding communities regularly through its projects. These include regular evangelism in public and in homes, invitations to community events, common hospitality, service for the poor, service for the sick, service for the orphaned, service for the imprisoned as well as mutual participation in public and national events. Please tell me how that is isolationist. Or in contrast is that outgoing, as the holy community should be?
3—Anastasia will run its own businesses and other institution by Christian principles of morality and justice. Imagine such businesses and other institutions actually saying, both in their names, their contracts, their description that they belong to Mashiach (the Christ) and that they seek to be morally pure and just. Imagine them putting such principles into writing, ones such as not promoting immorality, not using lewd and sexualized images, practicing regular sacrificial giving to the Church, using morally clean healthcare that avoids abortion and contraception as well as encouraging others to do so and supporting other moral businesses. Imagine that, brothers. I realize that such businesses would likely come under attack by the anti-Christ society, but would that not be outgoing? Does the NOT take the battle to the front. I believe this would be a terrifically outward and public witness to Mashiach, both by proclaiming His saving name along with proclaiming righteousness and living by it. Where is the isolation there?
4—The community will take in children from the greater society and provide them a free biblical education in faith, mainly through our godly wives. The many families who might like their children to be educated in the faith, but are forced by circumstances to send them to the public anti-Christ schools, will be able to turn them over for much of the day to our homes for a quality home education, along with friendship, fellowship and worship. We could education countless children in Mashiach this way, as many as our size allows. Does that sound outgoing enough for you? Or does it sound like isolation? To me, it sounds like taking the battle to the gates of hell, and kicking them down! But that’s just me.
5—T’chiyah will be a more positive witness as well through its diligent effort in living a godly life. We do not presume anyone to be flawless, but the bulk of the Body of Messiah is NOT making a serious effort to shoot for the mark which Adonai has given us in our living. Our community does. We set standards, we practice discipline, we uphold not just the popular verses from scripture, but also uphold the less liked ones along with good traditions for maintaining a Christian life. We respect biblical gender roles, we respect modesty, we respect the permanence of marriage, we respect some common sense rules of gender segregation, we respect the filtering of popular media to avoid and overflow of disgusting, immoral trash. We also respect various levels of communalism, sharing, social support along with regular diligent prayer. This is MUCH more the witness that the Church needs, than the immoral and worldly one which has few or no standards. We seek to be an example that is clearly different from the world. That is an outward witness.
I have just named 5 major areas, and these are some pretty broad areas too, that either will allow for outgoing witness or which are themselves extremely outgoing by nature. Now I’d like to turn this around and ask those who fear believers coming together into a structured community about the current and very different state of affairs.
1—Most believers currently go out into the secular world and keep their faith silent. They do not communicate it at work at the minimum, and often do not communicate it at social events, which often intertwine with work. How is this outgoing? How is it NOT sheltering away the Gospel? It seems to me it is highly sheltering the Gospel and the entire biblical faith.
2—In a similar vein, most believers currently go into the secular world and both refuse to communicate our need to behave morally and even participate in the promotion of naturalism and moral evil. For example, when was the last time believers on the job said – sorry, let’s not promote that because it is morally wicked? When was the last time that believers on the job said – let’s communicate this, because it is morally good? You don’t really hear those kinds of things too often. How is that going on the offense with one’s faith? How is that outward? To me this near total silence about biblical truth and morality is more a form of sheltering and hiding away the divine truth we’ve been given than anything else. One of many reasons I promote change.
3—Likewise (and I realize these examples have similarities) many believers actually work in the school system and participate in brainwashing small children in naturalism. The same believers participate in brainwashing children that evil is good, or that there are no moral standards at all. Believers really do this every single day. I think if you compare this behavior to my own example — one of taking in children from the outside and teaching them the truth – you’ll find it a wonderful and faithful alternative to teaching evil because your secular boss told you to. We should obey God before men, when men demand evil. How are Christians in the school system sharing the truth from God?
4—Even when a Christian is the actual owner of a business, it is common that their faith has little or no play in what they do. You are likely to find their business puts up lewd images. You are likely to find their business spews worldly and ungodly media to all around. You are likely to find their business does not openly proclaim Adonai and the perfect eternal Son of God. Moreover, you are likely to find that their business pays for immoral practices for its employees, be it abortions through its health care plan or benefits for homosexual civil unions. How is promoting and paying for moral evil over and over again, putting up lewd images and lewd media and being almost entirely silent on faith an outward witness to the Messiah? Brothers, it obviously is not. It is a complete disaster and I trust that you can see it is a disaster too.
5—Many believers live in single family homes in isolation. They might barely know their neighbors. They might rarely or never share the Gospel with their neighbors. They might spend a great amount of time in front of video entertainment, hour upon hour, day upon day, they might wile away the rest of the time with countless emotional sporting events, let their children date freely, let their children absorb the anti-Christ media, teach their children to contracept, dress their females like harlots (both at home and at their professed-Christian schools) and once in a while invite someone to church. How, pray tell, is that an outward witness? How is it an offensive attack against the forces of hell? I believe it is just the opposite. It is from hell itself.
You see, Anastasia will not be like this. Anastasia will be a model community and will be regularly outward, on all levels we know how. We will take care of our own of course. We will worship and fellowship together daily. We will also take the battle to the front, through evangelism, through service, through running clean businesses, through friendship and through education. Are you starting to see my point here? Are you willing to think a community is not by definition sequestered? Open your mind brother. We need to wake up and live with zeal for our Savior. This community is one way to do it.
Therefore, I’ve written this page at Holiness of the Bride to invite you to join in this labor in Messiah, and to provide you more information about it. You can read more below this introduction for several documents providing a richer description and further ideas. Just as we invite you to join in holiness and reform elsewhere on our website, we invite you to join in establishing this community, village and colony. Do you wish to join us as member? Do you wish to help fund the establishment of Anastasia? Can you contribute through properties or businesses? Or would you like to help in some other way or just learn more? Please contact us and ask any questions you have. Please let the idea rest in your mind as well, and in your imagination, day after day in prayer. Try to envision it. Ask our holy and perfect God about it. See if resurrection is really so far away.
To the Holiness of the Bride:
Colony Proposal — This is a short proposal about the colony, one which I’ve given to brothers in Messiah. It also includes mention of our holiness community, Christian businesses and home education. The vast bulk of the Body of Messiah is over the cliff. Let’s get in the boat now!
Community Life — This is a draft of what community life would look like. I originally wrote it to provide an outline for Q Ministries’ farm project, but I put it forth here as an outline for our own colony and for our readers’ use as well. The plan does not mean to be comprehensive, but it does cover many areas of Colony life, in terms of worship, work and general regulation. The whole document is hyperlinked [just control click the links] and includes end notes with some historical backing for these practices. I ask for God’s breath upon this document to bring life to His people.
Our Website at Weebly: This is a site uniquely about building the self-sustaining community.
“Benedict Option” Communities — At this free website I have, as inspired by the book, listed the Christian groups mentioned by Rod Dreher and also given a listing of my own of people and organiziations I believe will help to restore the faith and preserve it.
Ethical Christian Businesses
Christian Business Principles — This is a simple list of biblical and ethical principles I believe our businesses need to put in writing and live by. These are not just for jobs on the Colony, but are for any believer’s business anywhere.
My Christian Business Proposal — This is a proposal I have been sending to businesses for several years now, along with a similar letter for business networks. It puts for the urgency with which we need to live by our faith, and proposes various ethical principles to put in writing.
Home Education in the Community
Homeschool Proposal — This is my proposal for restoring society by giving free home education to members of the community. This is something we can do in our own homes, primarily through our wives, to reweave a broken society. You are free to use the proposal yourself, and send it out to inspire others in your community.
Religious Communities which Made a Difference
The Irish Monks — This is the wiki article on the Hiberno-Scottish mission, which converted large portions of Europe.
Iona — This founding colony of the Hiberno-Scottish mission was founded by Saint Columba and was the beginning of more large-scale conversion.
The Benedictines Homepage
The Trappists Homepage
The Hutterites — The Hutterites in Canada and the U.S. descend from early Anabaptists. They are communal, modest and respect the permanence of marriage along with gender roles. On the downside, they are semi-isolated and they take part somewhat in state education.
The Bruderhof — The Bruderhof were founded in the 20th century and were inspired by Anabaptist groups before them, especially the Hutterites. I wrote to several of them on and off and found them welcoming and kind. They seem to lean a bit left though. The Bruderhof are completely communal, and also run ministries outside of their own communities.
Bruderhof Businesses — These businesses are how the communities sustain themselves.
Beachy Amish — This is a website about branches of Amish who have returned to the Mennonite fold; they have similar beliefs as Amish but utilize much technology and are more outgoing in their ministries. Like other Anabaptists, they also practice various forms of social support.
Book: The Benedict Option: This book by Rod Dreher speaks of the need to form communities of dedicated believers and compares it to the accomplishments of St. Benedict in the 6th century. They will help the Church survive the storm as well as be a witness to the Light of the world. The summary says: “This book is both manifesto and rallying cry for Christians who, if they are not to be conquered, must learn how to fight on culture war battlefields like none the West has seen for fifteen hundred years.”
The Orthodox: This is an excellent article on Orthodox monasticism, which they say goes back to St. Anthony in the 3d century A.D. Unlike the western Catholic monastics, they do not have various branches. However, like the west, Orthodox monastics have played a role in spreading the faith, preserving it through hard times and making education more commonplace.
St. Tikhon’s Monastery: This is the Orthodox monastery that I stayed at for 3 days. It is the oldest in America. They also run a seminary and sell books, handmade goods and coffee.
Christian Businesses and Pro-Civilization Groups
These are some examples of how we can put our principles into practice, something I encourage for our community should we build it.
Christian Health Care — This is Medishare. They do not pay for contraception or abortion and will pray for your needs and sometimes can offer a free gift if you need it. Our family uses Medishare, despite their smaller networks. I consider joining such groups especially important at this time when the country demands all insurance companies pay for immoral practices.
CHM (Christian Healthcare Ministries) — This is a similar Christian health care.
Christian Credit Unions — This is MyCCCU, which we use, along with ACCU. I moved over to Christian credit unions when I learned about BOA’s constant strong support for the sodomy movement. I would like to see these credit unions put more of their faith into practice, but at least they support missions and are not backing sodomy.
Legal Defense — The Becket Fund is a major defense fund for religious liberties. They have fought dozens of cases against Obama’s contraception mandate, and won many of them.
Alliance Defending Freedom
National Center for Life and Liberty — This is a religious liberty group founded by David Gibbs.
Homeschooling — This is CHAP, one of my state’s homeschool networks. Check out your own region’s homeschool resources. Homeschooling keeps education part of the family, and avoids large-scale, daily, dogmatic secular indoctrination which you will find in most ordinary schools. It also tends to avoid the violence, sexual assault and often bad education which are common. Why leave your kids alone with pagans 5 days a week? Or secular Christians?
Ethical Medicine — These are the Catholic Health Care directives from the USCCB. They are quite comprehensive. If Catholics have directives such as these, shouldn’t non-Catholics? And if there are directives for running ethical hospitals, why not directives for running ethical businesses of other varieties? We all need to live accordign to our faith.
Pharmacists for Life — They are pro-life and avoid prescribing at least some forms of contraception.
Pro-Life Physician’s Directory — Not slaughtering children in pretty basic in living your faith.
Godtube — This is a Christian video-sharing platform. It’s not perfect, but is one example of how we as a community can build more godly businesses.
Modest Clothes — This is Katie’s. I also have their link on my modesty page. I put it here as an example of faith principles in practice.
This open-mic run by Christians in Pennsylvania includes a basic written set of Christian standards. Why aren’t millions of Christians doing the same?
Hobby Lobby — This page tells us a little about evangelical-run Hobby Lobby and its faith principles. I believe these guys should do much more, but I appreciate they are willing to take a stand.
Chick Fil A — This article describes this Christian business’s hiring practices. Like the above, I believe they should put more of their faith into practice, but I am glad for what they do.
All pictures taken by the author in China; locations include Zhenyuan Ancient Town, Langde Village of the Miao ethnicity, Guilin area, Yangshuo area, Xingping area, ZhaoQing and old town Dali and its surrounding villages