Friday, September 21, 2007


Underground caves are a big part of God's story, not just at Easter, but at Christmas and other times. This thought was provoked by G.K. Chesterton in his book The Everlasting Man. In particular Chesterton reminded me that:

• God came to earth underground. In all likelihood the manger that held Joseph, Mary and Jesus was a cave, not an outbuilding. This means that when God came to earth, He did not even come on ground level, but underground, while “The horse hoofs of Herod passed like thunder over the head of Christ.”

• God provided salvation underground. The resurrection was truly underground, both literally and figuratively. On Easter morning, the women were surprised to fine an empty cave. “That is the paradox of the whole position….the highest thing can only work from below."

• The church got its start underground. “Christ was born in the cave and Christianity in the catacombs.” Until Constantine the church was organic, cellular, counter-culture and often persecuted.

It is clearly the nature of God to be underground, to do His work from below instead of from above. “There is in this buried divinity an idea of undermining the world; of shaking the towers and palaces from below.”

I believe that God wants us to be "underground" Christians, shaking things up from below, instead of from above. Some of the words written into our mission statement at CTK are "shake-up" words - authentic, love, acceptance, forgiveness, joy, purposeful. When we love people, care about people, serve people, we undermine the world - the towers and palaces begin to shake.


A friend who is very bright (he once taught at Yale) has done some research on church history. He said to me, "The church has related to culture in one of two ways; it has either tried to dominate the culture or infiltrate the culture. Periods in which the church has tried to dominate the culture have been followed by dark ages. Periods in which the church has tried to infiltrate the culture have been followed by revival."



One of the things that I love about being a church of small groups is that it is a largely "underground" approach to ministry. It is not patently obvious to the culture that we are here. It is not a top-down/dominate approach. It is a bottoms up/infiltrate approach. We are moving under the veil of secrecy. I have found that it is unnerving to people (in the same way that terrorist cells are). They aren't exactly sure where we're coming from, but they know we're up to something....good.


In concluding his discussion of caves, Chesterton said "A cave can be a hiding place for outcasts" or it can be "a hiding place of something valuable." Church is both. On one hand what we are doing is insignificant. On the other hand it's important. The church holds the hope of the world in its hands.

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