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The Church needs Barbarians! 

Before you run me out of christiandom with pitchforks, or use these words to plant a seed that you use to shape your life after Conan, let me define the term in the context I am using it.

Against popular belief Barbarians weren't a race, nationality, or culture. The term was actually used as a stereotype. In Paul's day it was used for people that were outside of Rome's influence. They were considered crude, uneducated, rural bumpkins that were not bright enough to become civilized. Pretty much, if you didn't fit in the mold of western society you were a Barbarian.


Webster's describes Barbarianism as: 1: a person from an alien land, culture, or group believed to be inferior, uncivilized, or violent —


Eventually the term found a hidden meaning through the folk etymology of Cassiodorus (c. 485 – c. 585). He stated that the word barbarian was "made up of barba (beard) and rus (flat land); for barbarians did not live in cities, making their abodes in the fields like wild animals". You know, what a lot of people equate to Hunters.

Later in Roman history, after about 395 AD, Barbarian was a term that formed to describe anyone outside of Christianity. For the purpose of this piece, I refer to the earlier use of the word, the way I think Paul used it in his letter to the Colossians.


In that letter Paul was describing how we, as Christians become new creatures. Individuals melted together, to form the body of Christ. The human temple of the Holy Spirit. Through this thought Paul was quick to point out that the Church is to be made up of all people types, and such types were a thing of the past...as they all belonged now to Christ. What is telling though, is that Paul, as a former pharisee and now a Apostle, would go out of his way and include Barbarians, and name them by name when he referred to the make up of the Church. In essence Paul told the church to get rid of the old stereotypes and act like a body.


Col 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.


Paul broke down all the barriers that usually keeps the church from being the Church. He also abolished the hierarchy of social status. In the true Kingdom, we are all brothers and sisters, with the command to, "Make Disciples of all the Nations" Matt 28:19-20.

We are all given the same marching orders, but not the same tools. We are as diverse as our backgrounds. It's only in this Kingdom that such diversity brings such unity (1 Cor 12.) It's also only in this Kingdom that our backgrounds, as diverse as they might be, are a part of His gifting for the work that has been assigned.(Rom 8:28.) Post-Barbarians have as much work to do as Post-Scholars in the Kingdom.


Ok, so as you read above, a more accurate title for this post should have been: The Church needs Post Barbarians, but honestly would you still be reading if I hadn't filled the title with controversy?


So what is the addition to the Church that a Rural Minded Post Barbarian might add? That's a tough question, as I can't speak for all of my bearded country folk, but here are 3 major things I can share about service our King by being one.


1. The Ground (Natural World) is really cursed because of my sin...meaning my sin is way more serious than what I allow myself to think it to be.

As a young teen I worked in the woods bumping knots and chasing timber fellers. A job that connected me with that nature and all of its hardness. A hardness that you can't find in civilization. Without provisions the natural world likes nothing more than to kill you. Anyhow, the job required us to live in tents throughout the week. Tent life has no air conditioning, running water, and refrigeration. If we needed a bath there were no hot showers close by...a spring fed creek was as close as it came for us. In the heat of the summer it wasnt bad, it was actually exhilarating at first, but after a couple of weeks, the ice cream headaches turned from exhilarating to a actual pain in the keister. Later in the fall it turned into downright dread. No longer was the curse brought on by sin just a concept. Each and every cold dip, throbbing icecream headache, was a reminder that my sin needed a cure.

2. Violence is the actual fruit of that sin. The curse placed over the natural world is less intrusive when someone spends most of their time within the confines of civilization. Or at least it's literally paved over. If you drive to the grocery store in your climate controlled car, while listening to the latest hit on the radio it's easy to forget the world you actually live in. Violence is around every corner. Its actually looking to devour you 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Hearing animals lurk beyond the canvas of your tent, or watching a badger invade a rabbit hole and tear its inhabitants limb for limb will solidify the barbaric concept that Peter was trying to portray. The lessons of the natural world will keep you grounded, in tension, teaching you full well, both conceptualized and actualized, the need for a Savior.

3. There is a high cost for blood (life). Traditionally, Barbarians collected meat with their own hands (which entails violence). You can never know the cost of the provision of blood you need until you actually spill it yourself. People connected to their protein know this well... they wear it at collection. Even the meat laying in the supermarket means more when you watch the life leave a once living being. When the fire of life smolders to nothing in the eye, the realization that your hand caused death, you will never allow yourself to merely conceptualize the reality of Penal Substitution. That type of knowledge is beyond head knowledge, it will make you know it in your bones. Every meal will become a reminder of the life sacrificed to save your own. Jesus will become organic, on your contact list, and more importantly the head and recipient of your worship.


The Church needs you rural people. Jesus expects to use your gritty background to solidify the message of the Scholors. That's why he said, "make disciples," rather than Pupils. He has called Barbarians to become Post Barbarians for such a job.


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Blessings Nate!


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