God’s personal moral character calls for humanity to live together under covenant feudalism. You simply cannot possibly understand the Law Covenants, nor anything else in Scripture, until you grasp that one truth. All of Creation itself, including we humans, is wired for covenant feudalism.
A fundamental element in any covenant is volition. Do you understand the importance of the bar Mitzvah (“son of the Law”) in the Law of Moses? Despite what it eventually came to be under Talmudic Judaism, the symbolic intent was to offer each child coming up a chance to consciously consider whether they really wanted to be a part of the Covenant. Their consent was essential; they had to choose individually to place themselves under covenant obligations.
All the more so for those of us under the Covenant of Christ. We aren’t so pedantic as Judaism about the “age of accountability,” but that’s more a matter of cultural drift long after the New Testament. We should rightly assume that First Century Christianity followed the same basic pattern of waiting for a child to reach age 12 to make that sort of lifetime commitment.
By the same token, we know for a fact that the social phenomena of adolescence as a stage in human development did not exist during that time. Adolescence is a Western perversion that displaced the Ancient Near Eastern period of apprenticeship, a radically different social experience. They didn’t cut their kids loose to build their own society in total ignorance of what came before; apprenticeship was a time of guiding them through the natural period of questioning the legacy and traditional customs so as to understand why they matter. You aren’t allowed to make changes willy-nilly; you need to know how things got where they are before you try to make them better. Their methods of guidance were totally different from ours.
But we live with what we have now. So my point here is that, while we cling to our own personal life choices under our faith here at Kiln of the Soul parish, we negotiate our way through a world in which we are both aliens to our fellow humans and close kin to the rest of Creation. The pragmatic choices we make daily reflect the tension between divine justice and fallen human nature at large.
One of those pragmatic choices is that we firmly believe people should be granted as much liberty as possible from moral interference. God says we should give them full freedom to reject Him in this life; He does. A critical element in that freedom and volition is doing everything possible to give them the full truth of things. We live that truth; we want them to get as much as they can absorb. How they respond is between them and God.
We cannot make them swallow full moral truth; that requires awakening the heart-mind. We should strive for that awakening, but it’s not guaranteed. There is no fool-proof method. Instead, we spend a lot time pointing toward that heart-led life by how we handle facts, something their intellects can grasp by itself. They see how our choices don’t always make sense in their human logic; they don’t always see how we find it good and right. The conflict can serve to open the door to revelation. That’s how God uses us.
A major element in this is a whole range of questions about perception of reality. The heart sees clearly. We strive to clear the mind of obstructions to the heart’s natural superiority, but the mind itself has no real problem with submitting to the heart. It’s entirely natural; it’s how we are wired. So we invest some significant effort into shining the light of truth on ambient events and comment on the moral good or bad our hearts see in those events. Regardless of how it turns out, we are deeply committed to all of humanity having open access to as much fact and truth as they can absorb. It is utterly essential that they have at least a full free chance to understand what’s involved in their choices.
Thus, the only thing we do that approaches activism is telling the truth. We quite naturally engage the very literal war for full disclosure and exposure of secrets. Deception is the primary weapon of Satan, and secrecy is one edge of that sword. This is why we find the Internet such a powerful asset in our mission of revelation. The whole business of networking technology rests squarely on free flow of data. That’s the nature of networking. How you handle that data on either end is another matter entirely, but the transmission of data between the ends is essential.
The handling of data by the end points is a separate logical issue, but in our gospel mission, it’s equally essential. And I’ve tried to make it crystal clear that the number one issue in handling data on your end is your ability to control that data. That’s because our entire mission on this earth is wrapped up somewhere in that data exchange. If the data is blocked, erased or corrupted, then our message is equally blocked, erased and corrupted. Snooping on the data is largely a non-issue, since we are trying to get that message out, but data integrity and access is utterly essential to the mission.
So we naturally find ourselves compelled to fight for fully unobstructed, free flowing information exchange. Our problem is not lies in the data flow, but censorship that blocks our message. We know that the heart, once awakened, can bring people to make the right choices, even if they aren’t the choices you and I would make for them. God working in the human heart will accomplish His glory and nothing about that requires our acquiescence, but we can sure get a blessing by helping the process. We do not presume to filter things for their consciences, and we cannot tolerate anyone else attempting to build a filter, either.
I am not so much a technology guy, but an information guy. My study of the technology has one purpose: making sure we keep the traffic wide open to everything. No, we won’t support traffic that serves to obstruct other traffic, but that should be obvious. All of my work in computer technology serves the mission, and in the process I simply cannot avoid fighting censorship in the process. I’m not sure where I might draw the line in tactics I would use in that battle — it’s sure to be contextual — but I am committed to fighting that battle in worldly terms.
Anything less than a full and radical commitment to the battle for full open access to the network and data is a failure of the mission itself. As a virtual shepherd of souls, it is my duty to take extreme measures in helping people get what they find compelling in terms of information exchange. Even if we don’t personally like the political outcomes, we celebrate any result that reflects some measure of the people’s will. We celebrate that the Internet has come of age in shaking up the older political system. And I, for one, willingly commit to helping people whose politics annoy me gain full freedom to share their political notions with others. I’ll thumb my nose at authorities (government, corporate, etc.) who might seek to limit that free exchange, and willingly engage in cyber guerrilla activities so long as those activities work for open access for all.