Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Coping with Social Collapse (13) - Christian Enclaves

In rare situations where the social order has completely collapsed, Christians might need to get together in enclaves for protection. This should be a last resort, but history shows that minority groups can survive in a hostile culture by establishing an enclave in which to protect their culture.

An enclave is not the same as a ghetto. In political geography and diplomacy, an “enclave” is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory. An enclave become a ghetto, if the population is inward looking and shaped by fear, but it does not have to be that way. An enclave can also be a stronghold or beachhead from which influence pushes out into the surrounding area.

Forming an enclave is not defeatist, but is a sensible strategy. Every general knows that a city cannot be won by single spreading soldiers throughout the city. Establishing a beachhead in a strategic locality and then expanding outward is a very effective way to take a city. An army takes a city by concentrating its power where the enemy is weak and then expanding out street by street and neighbourhood by neighbourhood. That is an excellent strategy for God’s people.

David established an enclave near the cave of Adullam, well outside Saul’s sphere of influence.

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. (1 Sam 22:1,2)
David was able to form a community that lived by his values and standards. He formed an army of mighty men, which eventually destroyed Saul’s huge army (2 Sam 23). David pushed out from this base and eventually established his kingship over all Israel.

In the chaos that follows the total collapse of social structures, forming a Christian enclave might be the only viable alternative, but these situations will be rare for Christians in the western world. Numerous small groups spread throughout the community will generally be a better option.


Gene Redlin said...

I believe this will happen, must happen. Living in community is hard but essential.

Bonhoeffer spoke of this. Maybe we have to go back to review.

This is a good series Ron. I have been reading it carefully.

Blessed Economist said...

Thanks Gene.
Not that long ago, you suggested that the downturn would be shallow and recovery quick. What has changed your mind?