The Toronto Experience – the quest for Pagan Christians

What happened when NeoXenos went to Toronto? For one thing, pimps and brothels got legalized…

Pimps, Brothels and Xenos

What happened when NeoXenos went to Toronto? For one thing, pimps and brothels got legalized…

Toronto is quite attractive, and not because of the booming prostitution business, even if they do seem more attractive (some say) since brothels were legalized here yesterday. The Ontario Supreme Court declared brothels and pimps a basic human right for prostitutes (and by association, a basic right for their customers, I suppose), because the girls need care, protection and shelter from their brothels and pimps. (So Canadian pimps are kinder and gentler than USA pimps…?)

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This is seismic, I think, because it means Xenos may share a common anniversary with legalized pimps and brothels here.in Toronto, if we keep getting offers like today –  not from the hoes, but from our new spiritual heroes (I love it!) we’ve sought since 2010 in Northern California, Buffalo, and now here in Toronto. Our heroes be the Pagan Christians.

Wanted: Pagan Christians

Pagan Christians are believers fresh from the secular world, unfettered by a religious culture, and uncontaminated by OCDOld Christian Disease. Pagan Christians are usually unafraid to invade the secular space of a college campus, which explains our interest in them. The correlation between brothels, pimps and Xenos is tenuous at best, but there may be a symbolic link, since all parties are catering to Pagans – and if that seems stretched, there certainly is a dated link.

As we seek native, Pagan Christians, the native non-Pagan Christians ask what investment we plan to make to establish a new beachhead on the secular campus. The only answer we can give depends on the Pagan Christians we find and their willingness to live by Outlaw Faith – raiding the storehouses of the Sherriff of Nottingham while building a strong community which recognizes the True King’s authority over the userper’s authority.

We found some viable, visible, native, Pagan Christians on-campus (or soon-to-be) who were very interested in our merry band of outlaws, or so they said. We know from past experience we only need three Pagan Christians to start something,  and it looks like we found more than three.

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The closest we came to finding Pagan Christians in Buffalo, living on-campus, was when someone suggested that we send NeoXenos Pagan Christians to their university. In other words, there were no Pagan Christians unless we transplanted some, but that seems bass ackwards. Why transplant to another city if we see none of God’s preparations?

Probing The Breach

There would be only two good reasons to transplant from Ohio:

  1. To probe for a breach, and
  2. To capitalize on a breach.

The Breach is the most vital point in any pitched battle, and when it appears it necessitates relocation. The Breach opens up a place to pour in the reserves, even pulling fighters out of the line to storm the breach.

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It is demoralizing and even foolish to stay bottled-up in one location, even if advances are underway, because an isolated effort eventually becomes an easy target and quite vulnerable. Such was the case in Jerusalem, where the Disciples had every reason to stay in their isolated pocket in Jerusalem and tell Paul, “We’ll do Jews, you do Gentiles.” They enjoyed incredible success in their own back yard. Fortunately, Paul went out and found breaches, because Jerusalem became a stationary target, and despite its size, the church was wiped out in 70 AD by Titus Hispasian. The Disciples ended up writing letters to the Gentiles in The Breach opened up by Paul, because all their work in Jerusalem was destroyed.

By his Third Missionary Journey (MJ), Paul settled on a strategy of “The Breach”, as it were. Unlike his First MJ, which was not terribly successful, and his Second MJ, which was chaotic, on his Third MJ Paul settled into Ephesus where there was both an abundance of Pagan Christians and The Breach. He simply poured all his resources through The Breach until “all of Asia heard about the Gospel” within a few, short years (Acts 19:10).

Paul witnessed The Breach open up in Macedonia on his Second MJ, which was a terrific and very accidental success. The breakthrough took place after he was booted out of the area. He discovered the surprising ability of Pagan Christians to penetrate secular space, so that “the word of your work has gone out everywhere, and we hardly need to say a word,” he wrote to the Macedonians (1 Thess. 1:8).

As we survey the spiritual landscape in North America, we see the popular strategy calls for gathering established Christians into larger masses in smaller pockets, anchored by big property holdings. This is the so-called “Mega-Church” strategy, and it carries all the detriments of fixed fortifications – that great folly of France in WWII, which relied on concrete bunkers and a defensive strategy to hold back “the Huns.” Everyone knows what “the Huns” did to France, yet Christians are imitating the folly by building fortresses against secular encroachment (albeit some with bowling alleys and other innovations), relying largely on well-established Christians, and preserving the Christian traditions and Singing Worship Service of days gone yore.

We could also call these fixed fortifications the “Jerusalem Church” strategy, which history proves is the breeding ground for OCD – the book of Hebrews was written to an OCD, Jewish audience, and it does not read like Paul’s Macedonian letters (Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians), where The Breach was underway.

The “Toronto Blessing” Revisited

So all the above helps explain why we journeyed to Toronto. The quest was to find Pagan Christians and The Breach. What did we find?

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“I think there’s a clear space to move up here,” Bryan Bassett told me. He is a Pagan Christian transplant. “Nobody’s doing anything. Nobody’s into the campus ministry efforts.”

When asked what it would be like to start a ministry here, Bryan said, “Everything here is amazingly more Postmodern than Kent State. People would rather not go against the status quo, but since that’s what Jesus is all about, it makes sense to start a movement up here to do that.”

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Young Bryan may have hit a Canadian nerve with that counter-intuitive observation, because the Postmodern mindset creates a blasé vacuum of vacuous thought, and quite droll at that. It may be worthwhile to recall the Toronto Experience (or “Toronto Blessing”) began in Toronto, (it was the birth of The Vineyard charismatic movement) and we all know what came of that! (Someone should research the demographics behind such a sudden outburst of Charismania.) The Vineyard did it, so why not Xenos? Are “Signs and Wonders” waiting for us in Toronto?

This was the third time within a year Bryan has come to Toronto, and after the first night on this, his Third Missionary Journey, Bryan said it is his most productive trip. Why?

“It’s the Lord,” Bryan said.

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