Welcome back.

What would happen if …

the millions and millions of dollars that are given each year to churches was suddenly released back into the hands of believers with the commission to directly make someone’s life better?

Think of it. Hundreds of millions of dollars that would no longer be used to maintain the property of stagnant churches but instead placed again in the hands of the regular people who believed enough to give it in the first place?

Their instructions? Make the world a better, happier place. Fly salmon in from Alaska and throw a party for someone that has yet to hear of Christ. Pay someone’s water bill. Give someone a used car. Take someone out to dinner. Why? For no other reason than that you love them.

These questions are a sort of summary of the story told below. Feel free to scroll all the way down and comment on these questions without reading what follows. I warn you. Scroll quickly past the following story and don’t read it unless you have to.

What do you think?


In Search of the Mystic (1.2)

The lounging bodies of men with hairy backs in Speedos and naked, sun-bathing women on the shores of the Mediterranean now behind me, my thinking turned sharply towards my search for The Mystic. I boarded the train for the short trip to central Barcelona and tried to organize in my mind that which I had come to know of this enigmatic movement thus far.

I know what you’re thinking. How? How and when did I come to know what I know of The Mystic and who told me? All I can say is that they always seemed to know where I would be. My encounters with these mystic warriors would always be brief and somewhat shrouded. Always. I’ve come to suspect that this was for my protection and not theirs.

Like the young woman with perfect hands that sat across from me on the train. She was reading when I found my seat and left suddenly at the next stop. But not before telling me out of the blue to keep searching because the fate of the universe depended on it. “Out of the blue” has a new meaning to me now.

train tracks leading to Barcelona

The future, I am told, will be different than we imagine. More wonderful than we could imagine, they say, and far more terrifying. According to the Gallup organization, Future Orientation is one of my Strengths and I love to think about what awaits us. But when these mystics speak of the future it is as if they have already lived it.

In the early part of the 21st century, they say, the predominant forms of the Christ following movement, the Mega church and the house church, would begin to give way to new expressions, new alignments.

New forms would emerge, one of them called The Mystic. This clan was characterized by a series of paradoxes

  • Larger than a mega church and smaller then a house church
  • Everywhere and nowhere
  • Radically decentralized and radically unified
  • Local and global
  • Electronic and biological
  • All the clergy became laity and all the laity became priests, poets and eventually, mystic warriors.

One Story of the Genesis of The Mystic
The genesis of The Mystic was unremarkable, I am told. So much so that no one saw it coming. Nevertheless, several streams of origin were discernible, the most important of which is the evolution of the human species from Homo Sapiens to Homo Electronicus. But another of the earliest streams, and the one with which we’ll begin, is when the flow of Kingdom capital reversed itself.

The de-evolution of a species

One of the more circulated genesis stories is of a young man living at the end of the 20th century who started a Bible study. His unreached friends came and converted to faith in Christ. The deacons of his church encouraged him to bring his friends to church so they could grow.

The young man knew if he took them to church they would be lost to the Christ following movement. He spoke with the leaders of the church and explained the situation but they were unwilling to see his point of view. He had grown up in that church, gave money there every payday, and loved it in every way, but he couldn’t take his friends there. He wasn’t sure what to do. Finally, as his church did not understand his dilemma, he decided that he needed to part ways with his church.

As an act of commitment to the gains he had made among his unchurched friends, he sent his offering to a mentor from college whose blog he read every day. Inside the envelope he put a note indicating his predicament and stated that he wanted to reach his friends and didn’t want to do it alone.

Shortly thereafter, he received an email from his mentor.

I’m not a church, his mentor wrote. I have no building to build. No staff to pay.
Therefore, I accept your giving as your commitment to live a life focused on those who do not yet know. You are the church. You’ll receive in the mail a check for the same amount as your tithe minus 1%. You are commissioned to use all of it in any way that directly serves those you are seeking to reach.

[As a side note, I met a young man with a similar story in Central Florida early this year. Had I known then of The Mystic I would have invited him to join me in my search.]

Within a couple of years, many others followed. They reached critical mass silently through the invisible world of the blogosphere. As they grew they each began to give to the mentor, in the pattern of the first young man, 1% of their income as a commitment that all of their resources would be used to serve and reach the unreached. As part of their commitment, they set aside the remaining 9% to throw parties, or feed the poor, or pay someone’s water bill, or do any thing they wanted that would directly touch the lives of others.

Mystic Warriors, as they would come to be known, would become known as the most generous people on earth among those they touched.

Balconies in Barcelona

Without intending it or even knowing it, they created a radical and revolutionary realignment of the economics of the Kingdom. Thousands and tens of thousands of Mystic Warriors and the hundreds of millions of dollars of Kingdom capital that would have otherwise become locked in the budgets of churches that didn’t work were all of a sudden unleashed to directly touch somebody’s life. The revolution had begun.

With the passing of time, this community began to take on a shape and form of it’s own unlike anything that had manifested on earth before. [For those of you who think this is just a fiction, think again. The signs of the revolution to come are all around us. Check out Dean Sharp’s September 8 Post. It will scare you.]

I know what you’re thinking. Where do they send the 1%? That’s what everyone asks me. As soon as I figure that out, I’ll let you know. For right now, my offer still stands: I’ll travel any distance to meet for even one minute with any one of these mystic warriors. My quest? To find the guide who has shown others the way into the mystic.

What do you think?

into the mystic…

Alex McManus


57 responses to “Search for the Mystic- A Reversal of Kingdom Capital (1.2)”

  1. Home Avatar

    Nice ideas. I came across it while researching “reverse tithing.” I think the concept you are talking about in part is freewill offering, which is actually above and after tithing, if we are to follow Biblical example of what Jesus said and did.

    If we really want to be a new testament church body, it would be good to remember that they didn’t take their money from the church and have parties to celebrate God. Not that it would be wrong to have parties to celebrate God, I think that is a downright good idea.

    They ‘continued daily in the temple, and they sold their possessions, having all things common’ – see Acts, particularly ch 2-5. They evidentally did not live together in a commune, because they also went from house to house, so it is apparent they sold whatever possessions which were not neccessary to the supporting of their household, in order to give to those in need.

    They used what they had to supply the needs of others within the church. They were instructed to ‘do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith’ – so it does not appear it was even used first and foremost to reach the lost but rather to help the church body of believers.

    (Acts 2:44-47/Galatians 6:10/actually, many verses of the Bible support this- the giving of and to the Macedonians, the supporting of the widows and orphans in the church, the supporting of pastors and teachers who are workman worthy of their hire, etc)

    Although Paul did not accept money himself, he did advise the church to pay its workers who laboured in the Word.

    My quest is not to take money away from the church (Jesus, who commended the widow for giving to the church from her poverty, also said we ought to tithe – but not to leave out the greater issues of judgement, mercy, faith, and the love of God – Matthew 23:23/Luke 11:42 – KJV, anyway, & also in the Greek). Giving to the church is a joy and much is accomplished in God’s Kingdom through that.

    My hope is to go above and beyond the tithe, which is given to the storehouse, beyond missions which are given to various organizations and missionaries, and to give freewill offerings to help the poor, to spread the gospel in various venues.

    So how does one make the transition of giving all while making sure Uncle Sam gets his part (as Jesus also told us to do), and the daily cares of life are all still cared for (bills, kids college tuition, bills, kids college tuition, bills…lol)? Incrementally, I am supposing.

    For me, it’s a challenge that we could all take up to some degree. I see the main issue as breaking out of the old thinking of what is secular and what is spiritual, and serving God with my whole life.

    In the New Testament, there is not much distinction given in some ways between clergy and laity. We (the church) are all kings and priests in God’s Kingdom. We are all commissioned to go into all the world and preach the gospel and teach and make disciples. We are all responsible on a personal level for what we are doing with our finances to further God’s Kingdom.

    That, after all, is the purpose of our finances:

    “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:18)

  2. Alex Avatar


    Thanks for your input.

    We’re not really talking about taking money “from” the church. We are the church. We’re talking about rearranging our priorities in giving.

    We are not a storehouse. We’re not even a dispensation center. We are a people who are called to make the world a better place in the name of Jesus.

    I think that two first steps would be to show concern for the poor and to invite those yet-to-believe to celebrate with us.

  3. Home Avatar

    In effect, though, you are talking about taking money from the church as Jesus taught it. He said we ought to tithe, and he commended someone (who was dirt poor) for giving all she had to the church (the organization), rather than for giving to someone else who was poor. He then later spoke several times through Paul & Luke to say the same thing.

    (references in prior post)

    Bear with me a bit, because I have a couple of questions for you…

    Giving to the poor is not mentioned as an evangelism tool at all that I can recall in the Bible… can you? It is seen as a good deed, it is seen as a way to support the church (body & organization), and it is seen as a way to give to God.

    It’s a great idea, if it is giving over-and-above rather than instead-of the way God established in His Word. His ways are higher than our ways. To simply go about establishing our own ideas of what giving should be doesn’t acheive His Purposes His Way evidentally, or He would rescind the idea of giving to the church (organization) in the NT, which He doesn’t choose to do, but rather He emphasizes it.

    I also think it (giving) is fun and exciting and helpful if we are also still following the way God planned it.

    I like to give, it is just really personally rewarding, whether it is private or known, and whatever spiritual benefit there is to it is added to the joy of giving itself-that’s the way God is and sets things up it seems, doesn’t it?

    However, if we are just attending MSU (Make Stuff Up), well, man’s ideas are no substitute for God’s.

    Yes, he said you (people) are the church, but he also recognized the organization of the church and the giving of money to that church first. Not only in the OT but also in the new.

    Interestingly, when speaking of giving money to the poor, Jesus said, “the poor you will have with you always” and he recommended that money be spent on his burial preparations rather than on the poor!

    Anyway, my questions are these: one, I have read about people giving Rick Warren flack for his claim of reverse tithing while giving the money to organizations under his control. (bear in mind I tried to read his book and was bored with it, so I am not a Rick Warren junkie, I am trying to see if what he is doing is wrong in some way): What is the problem?

    If he is not personally using the money but it is being spent on work for God and His People (whether through his organizations or not), then what is the problem? If it keeps money from having to be taxed (legally and morally, that is), then isn’t that a good thing? Why the issue? Whether his heart is right or full of pride is before God to judge, not us, so, my question is; is there something intrinsically wrong with what he is doing with his money or are people just bad-mouthing him?

    My other issue is that i am wondering – is it possible, over time, to do the same sort of thing (obviously on a smaller scale), while still paying taxes and bills? How do people go about it?

    What do you think?

    I like your site!

  4. Tom Hackett Avatar


    The Alternative Church and Chaos Theory

    I am thinking that the church has functioned in an “ordered” paradigm for 1700yrs (since Constantine). In general, we don’t seem to be doing well as it relates to the population of the planet or growing in a way you might expect. If anything it seems that the traditional church model is becoming irrelevant and impotent in many ways (no offense intended). It seems that where the church has not had organization or “systems” because of legal issues or persecution it has grown at its fastest pace. My thinking is that the traditional church has become trapped and controlled by system and organizational dynamics regardless of the intentions of those involved. I propose an alternative approach…let’s let the church go and see what happens. Lets acknowledge, empower, encourage and facilitate the micro church in it’s multitudes of expression and allow them to become what their “tongue, tribe & nation” need them to be. Let’s facilitate the “chaos” of the power of God to express itself without the control that systems and organizations put on them.

    The idea is that God and the power of the gospel is somewhat if not very chaotic by our standards. It has to do with the sovereignty and the omnipotence of God. What appears to be chaos to us is very manageable to God.

    Our traditional church paradigms are very much a controlled system that we (humans) are comfortable with (hierarchical and lineal) but get in the way of and slow down the dynamics and the power of the gospel. The Alternative Church is an attempt to allow the power of the gospel to take a less “resistant” path (through independent micro churches) to the development of the Macro church.

    By allowing the “church” to function without control in a sense we are putting our trust in God and the promises made by Jesus that He would send us the Holy Spirit as a guide, teacher and that He would intercede for us. The Alternative Church is an attempt to put the control of the church back in God’s “chaotic” and powerful hands (micro churches) and take away the controls imposed by human systems and organizations.

    Chaos Theory:
    A branch of science that deals with systems whose evolution depends very sensitively upon the initial conditions.

    Chaotic systems are very sensitive to initial conditions; small changes in those conditions can lead to quite different outcomes.

    What basic conditions are appropriate for becoming a micro church?
    Use of web based tool
    Doing what a church does
    What will training look like? How much can you influence a chaotic system?

    Chaos theory and social constructs?

    * How will the same conditions affect different social constructs (ethic groups, cultures, ages, sexes, subcultures, etc.)?

  5. Nicolas Nelson Avatar

    um, Tom, I don’t think you read any of the preceding posts in this thread, or even the original post on which we are all supposed to be commenting. Nice book you are promoting, though… next time try to tie your book into the thread of the conversation, okay?

  6. Claire-Elizabeth Avatar

    Hi Alex,
    I was so sorry to hear I’d missed you here in Montreal recently. Thanks for reminding us followers of Christ of how Christ Himself did for us, giving all He had to show us plainly that He loved us, not only by His great work on the cross but by how He lived when He was here and how He showed He loved us even by washing our feet.
    Thanks moreover for showing that wanting to love and serve God doesn’t have to be staid and boring. That being said, I don’t know how to “tap” into your concept of “the mystic”. I suppose being raised in very structured churches adds to that- that if you want something other it must be a rejection of God, which isn’t true.
    Without it though, life, year after year seems to be more and more stale. Like God’s love is beautiful to read about but impossible to expirience as something real and tangible and edifying. And then your dreams die one by one because the ephemeral quality of God isn’t there and so there is no hope or inspiration or guidance.
    You feel very much like you can’t reach the God you know, and love and that isn’t a life worth living.
    So please continue the good work, I trust you’ll reach people who can learn how to, again forgive the term, tap into the mystical power of God.

    1. Alex McManus Avatar

      Thanks Claire. See you in the mystic. 🙂

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