Self-reliance on the human level does not conflict with faith in Christ. It takes a lot of faith to be self-reliant. The issue is that we know we cannot all be self-reliant in the same ways. Thus, we form a community of faith so we can shepherd each other in the ways we each know best. We do this with full cynicism knowing that we cannot really trust anyone but Christ; we don’t even trust ourselves.
Unlike most Western libertarian thinkers, we take full responsibility for the Lord’s sheep. We do not abandon folks to their fate, as it were, unless there is nothing we can do for them. Deciding that we cannot help someone is a matter of heart-led conviction.
But we do not openly trust just anyone simply because they look like us or some other factor. It’s not a question of being high-trust versus low-trust. We invest a certain amount of trust in people who embrace our faith covenant because that’s how it works. We have to be ready to bear the cost of their failures. But we do not grant that level of trust to just anyone.
This is the critical element missing in American society: There is no consistent filter on whom we should trust. There are competing claims and the whole thing is a political football. Our firm statement is that we trust covenant family only. We’ll give lots of people some limited room to hurt us because we are otherworldly; we are mystics and we don’t put much value in what most people seek. Still, that’s not trust; that’s just a necessary vulnerability. It’s commanded by God.
We are particular shepherds of those within our covenant family, but the Lord calls us to offer limited shepherding to just about everyone. Within in any given context, our hearts can tell us quite clearly who should be treated as a predator. Sometimes it’s a passing problem of their temptations; at other times it’s a more permanent designation we make in our Kingdom service. Still, we stand ready to shepherd anyone who will endure it.
In my mission and calling, the issue of computer technology looms large. I am exceedingly self-reliant in this area. Not all of you are called to that. Some of you probably are quite self-reliant in that area, and you will surely have your own way of doing things. You don’t need my shepherding, though you may be entertained by my answers to problems. Most of you have no mission and calling, and no interest, in being computer self-reliant. I get that. I won’t press on you any more than you believe you need.
But I will advocate for more self-reliance in the sense of telling you from time to time how I handle computers. For example, I stoutly recommend Ubuntu (actually Xubuntu, but also Kubuntu, etc.) for desktop and laptop computer use. Linux Mint is really good, too. And I highly recommend CentOS for servers. However, I’ll be glad to help you keep your Windows or Mac or BSD system in good health as much as I am able. That’s the nature of my calling as a computer technology shepherd. But you should expect me to continue posting articles about self-reliant use of Xubuntu, because that’s where most of my exploration takes place.
I can help some with automotive maintenance, and a host of other mechanical stuff. I’m just mediocre at gardening, but I’m really good with bicycles and hiking, and physical fitness in general. I’ve taught history, government, economics, geography, psychology and sociology, and other so-called Social Studies subjects professionally. I do okay with science and math topics, as well. Of course, you already know that I’m an elder in the Body of Christ, and will help you understand faith, Biblical Law in particular. But the last thing I would ever want to do is make you rely on me and my supposed expertise in anything at all.
I want you to stand on your own in Christ. And I’ll warn you that God requires us all to stand ready to feed His sheep.