living off the grid

According to CNN, more and more conservative Christians are trying to live “off the grid.”

Take His Holy Church, for example, run by Brother Gregory who apparently has a well-used Strong’s Concordance. His website coordinates a kind of church without walls, a true government of liberty where you never have to pay taxes.

That’s a bit of a simplification, but I will say this. If he believes in the deity of Christ you will need more than a half hour to find it. I finally quit looking.

The good brother is a sheep farmer lost in Oregon somewhere who really wants to live off the grid, as long as there is an internet connection. Not really off the grid, he protests. He just wants a better one, without any government but a man’s conscience.

His is the original, New Testament church, he says. And you can become a minister by joining the “living network” and having a couple of witnesses sign your petition. Salvation has something to do with ignoring the government, I think, but you have to download the books to figure it out (they’re free).

This group has nothing on the Christian Exodus people, who tried to get everyone to move to Carolina a few years ago so they could succeed from the union. After a lot of people showed up without any way to support themselves, they now encourage “personal succession.” And apparently moving to Montana to prepare for armed resistance.

Their network advocates home schooling, home gardening, house churches and the like, connected though the internet in micro-communities, social networking with like-minded people who are often so personally succeeded they won’t tell each other their names.

It must be hard to track people who don’t want to be tracked, unless of course you are Google or the government.

Now we home schooled, although for different reasons. And, just in case you work for the IRS, you should know I’m not stockpiling automatic weapons or ignoring my taxes. But I’m not entirely unsympathetic to these people. There is lots of scary stuff in the world. Government is too big and people are too busy.

I’ll even agree with them that big-government-ism, or whatever they call it, can be idolatry. But so can any cause, save the cause of Christ himself.

Unfortunately they are a bit hypocritical in using the technology they seek to escape to get others to join them. You can’t get any more on the grid than that.

But that’s not the real problem.

Christ sent his church into the world to proclaim the good news, and building private enclaves seems contrary to this purpose. You might want to think that everyone will join you in the wilderness, or even in the revolution, but the gospel is about joining each other in heaven.

Right now there is work to do, and it’s public, even confrontational. A new asceticism. A new monasticism. A new anarchy. This is not kingdom work. This is just an old way to glorify the flesh, when we are supposed to bear witness to the spirit.

Kingdom work is about putting the candle out where people can see it, even if they are blind. It’s active and faithful, even if we don’t like the soil where we sow.

In the end, getting off the grid is merely an illusion but staying on the path is hard work.

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About wally metts

Wally Metts is the daysman. He is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University and is a pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, MI. The father of four adult children, he and his wife Katie raise barn cats and Christmas trees in Michigan. His grandchildren call him Santa.

8 Responses to “living off the grid”

  1. Somedays, I must admit to thinking that living off the grid sounds like a sweet oasis. But you are right, it is not what we are commanded to do. Plus, to be honest, I really do enjoy technology and creature comforts a little too much.

    I am becoming more convicted about needs/wants in my life and about sustainable living and am moving more towards an off-the-grid type lifestyle but less for the escape aspect and more for the stewardship aspect.

    We are commanded to live in the world and to proclaim the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. It’s very hard to do that in a protective bubble.

  2. “Salvation has something to do with ignoring the government,” Where do you get that stuff. We never even write about “living off the grid”. And we have never suggested anything about seeking to escape “technology”. And we certainly do not suggest that the gospel even suggests that “you never have to pay taxes”.
    You are just making all that up about people you do not even know. If you do read the Bible you should no Wally that is not a good thing to do.
    Your description of how to “become a minister” of the Church is wrong as well.
    As far as the “deity of Christ” it is mentioned all over in the writings offered on the website, in the books, in the doctrines of the Church, the Creed and Purpose of the Church.
    You need to get your facts straight before you write about a subject especially when it involves other people. Peace on your house, Brother Gregory.

    • I knew from the little I know that you were being highly misrepresented. But you’ve done the same thing with the pages of the bible as you write into it your pagan thoughts the “deity of Christ” as you’ll never find those words in the bible.

      • Vaughn Malecki what are you talking about? Where did you find me write any thoughts, pagan or otherwise, on the “deity of Christ”? Should be easy to point it out for me since there is a search engine on every website where my writings are published by us. Do you also like Wally live in your imagination? Your name is familiar to me so if you are on our network you can address this accusation there so we do not bother Wally. I only respond here because of the seriousness of false accusations.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of “living off the grid.” It’s not synonymous with evangelical Christian, a Christian theology or doctrine. Christians certainly did not invent it – the idea of that is laughable.

    If it’s for lifestyle, pure and simple, it’s an admirable concept however unrealistic. We live on the planet Earth. It’s been filled up with people. If you can carve yourself out some little oasis and wall it off, great. But you’re going to have neighbors. You can’t mess with everyone else’s right to live, too. Nothing more to be said.

    If it’s for exclusion, to wall yourself off from other human beings, to check out of society – that’s not admirable. That’s just weird and unattainable. This is where it frequently overlaps with bizarre “Christian” behavior and new religious groups with self-centered personal agenda and manipulated Christian tenets. Almost without exception, accompanied by the conviction of one’s own absolute superiority.

    You have no more (or less) right to live your lives your way, than anyone else does. The way you want to be left alone to do your thing, leave me alone to do my thing.

  4. So, Wally, still has done nothing to get his facts straight. He is supposed to be a professor of communication but he leaves his false representation of the truth standing without retraction or correction. Wally implies “being a Christian” mean someone whose hope “lies solely in Christ”. Christ died that Wally and Vaughn and everyone “might be saved”. Christ sent his church into the world to proclaim the good news but said they should not be “of the world”. That early Church provided a daily ministration for believers through faith, hope and charity and the perfect law of liberty. Christians did not ray to Caesar for their daily bread or welfare as we call it today. We are not “building private enclaves” but we are seeking to do what the early Church did. The main accusation against the Church and believers was a their system of “private welfare” which was not dependent upon the exercising authority of the Roman state. Wally belongs to a Church who says it is okay to apply to ‘benefactors who exercise authority one over the other’ in order to provide your daily ministration by taking from his neighbor. Wally has need for repentance. Wally should get his facts straight and when he does not he should own up to it.

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