New wine requires new wineskins. I sense a radicality and a passion to follow Jesus in Europe today among the Christian youth. Many are inspired by Jesus first and foremost, but also histocial radicals like Francis and Clair of Assisi as well as modern like Heidi Baker and Shane Claiborne. With the increasing awareness of the suffering and misery the Western affluent lifestyle brings, with both environmental and social consequences, there is a longing to live more simple and equal, as in the apostolic age:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
Community of goods is a necessity. We need it to eradicate poverty and promote simplicity. And that in turn is what is needed to combat the secularism and individualism that is destroying the church spiritually. Jesus said that the “deceitfulness of wealth” will choke the word of God (Mt 13:22), and that is exatly what we see in rich countries. There is already an awareness of this, what is needed now is community houses. I talk about this here:
As I explain in this video, it is time that common purses where Christians share everything become common again, as it was in the early church. Church leaders should realize that if we don’t live like the apostles, we won’t share the results that the apostles received: countless miracles, converts every day and no poverty. Of course, community of goods isn’t the only factor to this: prayer, evangelism and first and foremost live are needed. But we also need wineskins, a structure that can inhabit what the Spirit is doing.
All churches have structures, but they rarely include communities. Why? Because we’re individualist and don’t view inequality as a very big problem. In my town in Sweden, some Christians live in big houses while others sleep in cars or caravans. I’m sick and tired of this. I want to live like the apostles.
The Jesus Army in the UK is just one example of how this indeed is possible, today, in the Western world. As for the Eastern and Southern Majority World, it is being practiced there all over the place. Christian communities with common purses, that value creation care, poverty reduction, evangelism and Spiritual gifts, are not just the future: they are what we already needed yesterday. Who’s with me in making this type of church life normal again?