Trapped in Community

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Every few years someone tries to gather what they believe the elect of Elohim  are together.  They will buy a small farm or ranch. When given resources they'll build apartments and other communal structures: meeting rooms, dining areas, food pantries, laundry rooms, etc...  Their intent is mostly noble.

They want Elohim's people to be able to pool resources in preparation for the coming tribulations.  So that before that tribulation perhaps all could enjoy a better standard of living.  During the tribulation we might all have a better chance to survive.   I've visited and have friends in some of these micro-communities.  Mostly good people with good intentions and good families.I have lived with other believers and non-believers in my home for many years.   In effect I have run the micro-Kibbutz.  The idea being that by pooling resources we all might have a better standard of living and move toward developing a stronger community. 

In a way this is a throw back to not that long ago when families didn't run to get their own place, but they stayed in the same neighborhoods and sometimes the same houses.  In this way everyone in the family benefitted.  We watched each others backs.  We helped each other.  We argued with each other.  We loved each other as family.

The community of Torah observant believers is a stubborn bunch.  We don't take kindly to the Nicolaitan approach - the top down pecking order type of life where everyone knows his place and no one speaks up.  We speak our minds and debate concepts, ideas and interpretations that we find questionable.  When we see a leader doing something wrong we are more inclined to let them know than turn a blind eye.

People that run spiritual warfare ministries often label us as having a "Spirit of Rebellion" or a "Spirit of Division".  This is, of course, because they don't like what we are saying. as they often have logs in their own eyes.  We question what they are doing and why they are doing it.  We don't anyone's word for it, but research to find out what is true and not true.

Every religious leader out there, pagan or Torah Observant, believes they are doing Elohim's will. They believe it with all their being, but they cannot all be correct.   No one ever goes to the lecturn and says, "I believe this today, but I've been known to be wrong".  Who would listen to them?

The desire of most of them is to build something for Elohim and to benefit other believers.  Most do not enter with the idea of being a dictator.  Most are only trying to help.  Some do it to create a stabile group of believers they can associate with - this is actually more of a selfish motive then that of a benefactor.

What happens when there are differences in belief that come up in a community?  Not everyone is going to accept the HIllel II Calendar, not everyone will accept Enoch's calendar.  Some people have serious issues with the using barley to determine th estart of the year.  Are these people to be asked to leave the community?

What about using the Sacred Name?  Some believe it MUST be used at all times when refering to G-d, others insist it must never be used.  Of those that believe in the use of the Sacred Name of Elohim, there are many variances in pronounciation.  Some incist thoght hat there is only one way to pronounce it correctly and everyone who does no, is condemned...

What do you do about poligamy?  Do you forbid it?  Permit it?  Not address it?  What if a man with 2+ wives want's to join the community or even visit?  Can they?  Or are they rejected out of the hardness of the local community minhag (traditions)? 

Who decides how things happen in the community?  Well a local Beit Din is supposed to.  This is a counsel of leaders who are chosen from the community who are known to be honest, trustworthy men of good report and Torah Observant.  They are to be the local judges in the community when disputes arise.  But inevitably the property owner make the final decision.  It never takes very long before the person or family to whom the property is titled exercses their authority over it as the land owner, or landlord if you will. 

There is no land owner who is going to invite people onto their property without rules, guidelines, restrictions and some kind of obligation.  And not very many will hand over their property to a board that they are not part of unless they are dieing, have no spouse, and have no heirs.

I know many men who run small little groups of people living on a piece of land together.  The only ones who benefit long term are the families of the land owners.  Almsot everyone in these places will move or has moved within 15 years to their own property that they have more direct control over.

We are instructed by Elohim to build an inheritance for our children.  If we have no ownership in real property, then we have nothing to pass on but our knowledge - which most are not able to do.  And this is every parent's responsibility.

Let's look at the typical scenario:

A leader comes into some money or an arrangement and acquires a couple hundred acres of property.  He sets it up in a corporate sole corporation.  This would be a religious corporation with one director and no tax accountability - This is how Morman and Catholic churches manage their structures.  No 501C3 limitations under this structure. 

He invites other people, he thinks believes the same way he does, to move onto the property.  He begins having services every Shabbat on the property.  Eventually he sees the need to do various projects on the property - build buildings, wells, larger pantry and kitchens, better housing for the leadership as theirs is probably the oldest at this point.  The community has grown some.  Some people travel from other areas to attend because the like the fellowship, and maybe the teachings..  Some people who have been coming for a while get permission to build homes on the property - land they only have a conditional lease to.

The leader will inevitably assign  or make a motion to the community that certain individuals become leaders also, to lighten his load and, ostensibly, to recognize work they are already doing.

Maybe now he has a beit din (a type of counsel for all practical purposes) formed locally.  Except that these men are men whom he has hand picked.  It is going to be difficult for them to disagree with him or chastize him if he acts immorally.  After all, he promoted them.  He is also the land owner.  Saying anything against the leader would result in being removed from the community and losing a home.

If anyone disagrees with the leader's interpretation of Torah, they will be chastized in some manner.  Usually through a serman process to make their position look foolish. If they continue, they may be aske dto leave the community because they are causing division.

Eventually the leader  gets older, and as he does he will get more set in his ways... Even the wrong ones... 

The men who engage in this are not acting on the desires of Elohim, but on their own.  Sure, the community will benefit some - the single mom (If she's allowed to be there), the elderly - who need community they can trust at some level nearby to take care of them.  The families?  Probably not so much...

The leaders believe they are acting in Elohim's will, otherwise they wouldn't do this.  But they are mistaken.

We live int he diaspora for a reason.  We are scattered.  We are fulfilling prophecy by being scattered.  No where prior to the coming of Messiah does the text of scripture indicate that we are to gather in little communes because if we don't Messiah might not be able to find us.  Or that we'll be offered greater protection.

THe David Koresh group in Waco Texas thought that they had greater protection and benefit as a community.  And they did... Until the government exterminated them.  The splinter group of mormans practicing polygamy in West Texas thought that too... Until the government specificly targeted them BECAUSE they were all gathered in one place.

You may say, well they didn't believe like we do... Well, in some areas you are correct.  But in 70%-80% of areas you are incorrect.  The Koresh group, outside some prophetic interpretations believed very much like many Messianic Jews, like many Sacred Name groups, like many 7th day observant groups.   His group was targeted with a warrant for  lack of a permit because one member of the groups owned one theing and another member that lived on the same property owned another and the two items together requireed a special permit ($200).  It was a test - could it be done without much public outcry?  Did the media campaign do its job to discredit the community to minimize resistance from the outside?  How militant of a force can be used against our countries own citizens and get away with it?  - Well, I'm guessing a lot!

There is one woman preacher out there who is trying to get everyone to meet at the same place for Succoth every year so that when a situation arises where we may need to flee our country we can all gather together in a common well known place to begin our journey together... I say journey to where?  Gas chambers?  How convenient, let's put all these odd ball torah observant believers in Messiah in one place at the same time...  That way the government won't have to work so hard to find everyone to exterminate, if it should come to that.

Or, let's all move to the Negev so that we can fullfil the prophecy in Sefer HaYashar and be a group of Ephraimites that return to the land BEFORE the appointed time and are slaughtered.  The Orthodox community in Israel supports this belief and that is why you will see them helping known Ephraimites to move to that region.

I know of another who has suggested bringing fire arms to Succoth, and in the same paper suggested that those who try to leave the community during troubled times of persecution may need to be "dealt with" because their knwoledge of the community when leaving might put the community at risk.. Is that really Elohim talking?  Or is that fear?

The point is that we live in very perilous times.  Do we need community?  Absolutely!  Do we need ot share resources?  At some level, Yes,.  Do we need to live on a farm together and form a commune?  Probably not a good idea, especially in the Western world where liberty is cherished. 

Yet, I know of no less that a dozen such communities in the USA alone - and I am sure there are closer to hundreds.  They are always targeted by local, county, state,and federal agencies.  Their members often have trouble finding work locally.  The leadership (usually the property owner) is almost always right, even when their wrong.  Infidelity usually occurs with leadership and someone's spouse or the single mom that joins.  Money management always starts out straight forward, but later gets awkward at best when things are not going well or there are large variances in income between members of the community.

The easiest way to lose your children is to join one of these communities.  Child Protective Services can do more in less time than you may think and in some states are encourage to remove children and permenantly place then - their budget depends on it.  The commune is the easiest target for them.  It only takes one mistake by one member to bring the hammer down on everyone.  The state of Texas openly admitted that the group of Mormans in West Texas were specifically targetted because they were isolated and all together in one place.  Had they been scattered the agency would not have bothered.

I would love to see people live near each other.  Start food co-ops.  Babysitting groups.  Homeschool clubs.  Torah studies.  etc...  It would be great to have fellowship with more like minded believers locally. 

But honestly due to: artificial piety, Holier than thou atitudes, variances in interpretation of text, and other issues, people need to live on their own property that is not directly tied to their faith (ie. the landlord is not related to the rabbi).    When they leave a heated discussion over some issue, they need to be able to go to their own home and be secure in it.  If they choose to move, they need to be able to sell that home and move.

The commune is an interesting idea in academic discussion. In reality it works in neither the macro nor micro level.