1) This is what God’s been trying to get us to do since the time of Abraham. Everything from God’s call of Abraham to the hundreds of Levitical laws to Jesus’ call to be “a city on a hill” is God creating an alternative community.
2) The fact that communities such as the GLBT community or Fundamentalist Mormons or Vegans are (or at least they used to be) considered alternative, and Christians are considered old fashioned, is a sad statement on the failure of Christians to take #1 seriously.
3) The things you take for granted everyday are not necessarily good.
4) A lifestyle indistinguishable from one’s peers of other faiths (or no faith) fails at #1.
5) A system by which a “good Christian” just happens to be the same as a “good Englishman/Syrian/American” should immediately raise flags of suspiscion.
6) Alternative lifestyles thrive. Just check out the Amish.
7) You cannot complete an extrodinary mission by living an ordinary life. And mission is what this all boils down to.
1) Do a fearless inventory of your daily habits, your possessions and your dreams.
2) Do a quick inventory of Matthew 5-7. Make a list of things Jesus said to do.
3) Compare lists 1 and 2.
4) Repeat a prayer I learned from a Latin American missionary “God thank you for the things you have blessed us with. Take away the ones we don’t need or appreciate.”
5) Pick one thing from the Jesus list you are not doing. Ruthlessly reorder your life in order to make it a possibility.
6) Ask everyone you know to join you or hold you accountable.
7) In time, repeat steps 3-6.
These are lessons that I learned, not from Sunday school or seminary, but from trading my car in for a bike. I’ve learned to live without what my surrounding culture considers normal. I’ve come to thrive within a different way of life. It’s like Neo unplugging from the Matrix, or that old Twilight Zone where the beautiful woman finds out her persecutors look like pigs. I’ve realized how deeply I’ve bought into this system and ignored Jesus teachings of a different Kingdom.
It’s easy to get stuck in the ruts of being a “good American” or a “hipster 20something” or worst yet “a good Christian.” I’m not saying you have to ditch your car to follow Jesus, but you do have to ditch something.
Imagine a group of people who did this. Something truly alternative. There is no way to compare them to those who stand out because of fashion or sexuality or politics. They would be beautiful. They would be dangerous.