Summer '70

Research Assembly


I 'd like to reiterate the context that you have worked out during the week and draw it together by talking a little bit about who the auxiliary is and what the tactics are and how the great experiment might be carried out.

First of all, I like the word auxiliary. It was there in the early church. And when I ask myself who the auxiliary is, my answer is, he is he who must die. And I mean that from the bottom of my being, You see, we live in a very strange moment, and I mean this particular moment. It was not there yesterday, a year ago, perhaps, or two or three years ago.

Today you and I are literally consumed with the death urge. Every one of us whether we are able to give it a name or not. But Thanatos is strange. It's a highly subtle state of being. It only exists when life is filled with possibility.

Now when an old age is going away, and you experience the passingness of all things, you don't have the death urge; you have the life urge. It's almost as if you dig your fingers…you remember, you certainly are old enough to remember, some fifteen, ten, twenty, thirty years ago when the world was rocked first with the deep awareness that our age was finished and how we, with despairing dread, if I may be redundant, reached out after the meaning of life. The question was, "Who am I?'' Or I used to like to answer then and say, "Who in the hell am I?" That was the life urge and it always comes when you're confronted with death.

Now the death urge, which is as much the Holy Spirit as a life urge, always comes when abundant life attacks you. As revolutionaries a you and I have spent our time with our bare hands trying to dig a hole through a ten foot stone wall. And those were the great days! We were knowing who we were in the midst of digging through the wall. They were not easy days. But they were glorious days and then, for the mercy of God, the hole appeared. I mean the established church is just as aware of the purging fires of renewal as any silly ass, like myself, who has been in the midst of the renewal movement itself. That's what I mean by the hole has appeared.

Oh, my, how that wracks and wrenches the inner being of a revolutionary. He wishes that he hadn't succeeded. Do you understand that? Because lo, possibility is there. Unlimited possibility is there. He wishes he had never been born. For possibility is burden like impossibility could never be burden. And then it is you want to go to heaven immediately. I would give anything if some of you could find a very respectable way for me to die immediately. Oh wouldn't a heart attack be great! Wouldn't it be wonderful if ..,well, you understand that Paul did that little corny bit of humor, I think, after things got to moving a bit. He said. "I really want to go to be with Jesus. But then I think I'm still needed here. So I'm really torn. But I think I'll stay a while." I thought that was tremendous. And chat was a joke that was born out of the deep death urge, and I mean death.

You know, wouldn't it be wonderful if you could hit in a car the edge of. a bridge so people would think it was really an accident. It's the suicide tendency, but not negative suicide, that is born out of frightening possibility. Now that's where we are spirit­wise today and to be a disciplined man of the spirit means that you march on when you really want to die and go to heaven,

The auxiliary is one who is consumed with the death urge. Now the auxiliary is anybody who loves the established church, because that's the only church you got to love, who is willing to become an entirely new kind of spirit man and I mean that in the most secular way I can get it said.

If in the lectures I've been giving you don't grasp that as utter secularity, if you please, then you don't hear me, You got to become a new kind of spirit man. You 1lave got to overcome the inertia and laziness that keeps us from building radical tactical systems. (I want to come back to that.) And then you've got to become corporate, if you're going to be an auxiliary, as you've never been corporate before.

And, finally, you've got to make a decision. It's a vocational decision to be the auxiliary. It may very well be that everybody in the room is an auxiliary; it could be that no one in this room is an auxiliary. But these are the criteria, and in every one of these there is the death urge.

Take, for a moment, becoming a new spirit person. I suggested this before, and I don't quite know how to talk about it; But the man who experiences the death urge is the man who is able to smell the fact that he is the one who must die. And, you see, you've spent a who1e lot of time building up your style as a revolutionary, I mean your spirit style. And now that style has got to be something...I don't mean the externalities, I mean something so down deep you can hardly reach after it. We've got to be born all over again by the Holy Spirit in our day.

A new breed is required and the auxiliary has to lead the way in that new style. Again, I want to be sure that you don't hear me saying something external. It's deep within. we've got to become brand new creations to march in thc forefront in the next forty years. That is death.

And then on the tactics. I've often said that the only place a spirit man ever cries is in his tactics. And by tactics, I don't mean these charts, you know, that we're building. No, No, No! I mean actually what he does in his tactical timeline, I have told some of you in World War II on Saipan the division that I was in were the front troops in a banzai attack. The Japanese were whipped and so they just did it all out one night. And there was a big wide beach, maybe a mile wide. Most of our division was there. Nobody even knew where the Japanese were on that island in force,. I happened to be up on a hill at the edge of that with some of my troops. That night the Japanese came down on that beach and leveled and waded through until the last one, including the colonel in charge, was dead. Oh, my God, what a night! The next morning, when the sun was coming up, I went down to find my men. The beach was littered with human bodies. You had to step over one every step you. took, And I finally found a friend of mine who was a captain. And when I found him, I looked behind him and I found his … what do they call those little guns? Carbine, dropped. A little later I found his 45' dropped, A little bit later I found his knife, That man died in his tactics. Nobody ever died in the war. Nobody ever died in their objectives. Nobody ever died in their goals. They die only in their tactics. I mean by that, that the way you die is going according to your tactical timeline to a party, to see a schoolteacher that four months later you want to talk with, and nine months later you want to get into a course, and on the way a truck runs over you. That's what I mean by dying in your tactics.

One of the reasons why it is so painful to do this job and why you and I would find, if we could, any hand grenade to throw in and bust it up, is that we know that if you dare to build your tactical models, you've got your death invested in them. There are no more games. The auxiliary is the one who must die.

I'll not talking about becoming corporate except to mention you great big phony old individualists, you've got to surrender your individualism; absolutely die to it and become corporate. I'll not even tell you that the resurrection in which you become an authentic gigantic individual is promised. I won't tell you that, because what you're faced with is having to die to this petty little drive within us to do our little thing, The hippies, God bless them all, are perverted out on cloud 9 million in this doing your little own thing. Corporateness alone will do this.

And then, finally, every decision that is authentic is a death. And this is a decision of a decision, for you're deciding for life to be an auxiliary. This decision, in this case, means that you decide all over again to be nothing. If you want to be a bishop, don' t become an auxiliary. If you want to be a prince of the pulpit, don' t become an auxiliary. If you want to be the greatest orthodontist in the world don't become an auxiliary. If you want to be the president of your company, don't become an auxiliary. For this decision is to be one of the nothings. If you want your name to be written in history, do not become an auxiliary. The names that will be remembered will be those who walk into the future over your dead body. It will be their names that will be remembered and God bless them all. Oh, I like that Brother Vance's song about you got to do the sowing and some other ass does the reaping. Oh , that's painful to me. But then you remember that you are reaping what was sown before and then you can understand that great line, what is it about, "we'll all rejoice: together"? "We'll sing in joy together"? Oh yes, "With our tears, yes, our tears, and our smiles, we'll, we'll rejoice." I like that. You and I are the nothings in history.

Now to put this a little bit more concrete. The auxiliary is anybody who decides that the church is going to be renewed and gives himself to it. The tactics, the tactical system, is written for that person. It doesn't make any difference who he is. For that person. It is not written for the congregation. It is not written for the cadre. It is not written for the parish. But for that person. That is, and I don' t like this word and I 'm going to take it back in a moment, that is that the tactics are his checklist; are his checklist. His; and he has to do all of those and do the utterly alone. Now, he may have six hundred people that arc carrying them out. He's the catalyst, but when he gets to heaven, if he's decided to be the auxiliary, it'll be this checklist that they'll meet him at the gates with, so to speak. He may get some broken down old wino in his parish to be carrying out these tactics. He may get some big fat 1ady who isn't even awake in the congregation to be carrying out these. He mat very well have some fellow auxi1iaries that make up his cadre, There'11 always be a few who slip into the cadre who are not about to become auxiliaries. You understand? For there is some status in being a part of any ground that's doing a little bit of something as you and I know. There are for the auxiliary.

My second thing is the tactical system. If you do not, at least fifty times a day, just 1aughl when you see that stuff there, and I mean laugh from the bottom of your being, then you don't know what they are all about. When you get them done, what you have got to do symbolically, for they are symbols, is to burn them. Do you understand that? Certainly. If you don't, some assinine pharisse will take them seriously and then a movement will be started to renew the renewal movement immediately.

The important thing in this is what this group is doing. That is the supplementaries. Anything above the supplementaries are utterly unimportant. As a matter of fact, what's above the supplementaries is what I call Phase One in the socio­spiritual renewal of the local congregation. And Phase One has been going on for more than fifty years.

What's above that line is just collecting what the thousands upon thousands of people who have given their lives before you and myself for the renewal of the church. And just organizing that wisdom so that you can get to the basic job and that's down to finally defining where you and I are going to die our deaths. The instruments, the supplementaries, the procedures that you're going to be doing, these are the important things.

But even those are not important. The important thing is that you do them. And mark you well, at a certain stage, in working with your congregation, they have got to do this themselves. This is a Research Assembly which you know good and well that all research is training. Now the interesting thing about training this summer is that nobody is training you, you are training yourselves. And nobody can train you in this. You have got to sit at those damn tables hour after hour, fooling with those little boxes, and in that you are training yourself as an auxiliary And I don't know how to put it, but it's what happens to your mind is the important thing and none of you will ever ,ever be the same intellect again. Just by doing that you'll have got to have that rich experience one time, I say, for every last soul in your congregation. I don't know how to get this really said. Nobody is going to tell me where I die my death. You hear what I'm saying? I've got to figure that out. And that's what this lowest level is. You and I dare not tell that fat lady in the congregation where she's got to get in on this. And I might say that those people who are nowhere near as intellectually sophisticated as you and I may be, are at times far more capable of doing this concrete job, figuring out, that we are.

Now one other thing in terms of the tactics. You wart to be sure then, and it's saying the same thing, that you don't go from the top down. Now that's the way a pharisee does. He starts here and then every damn thing down here, you know, as he goes along he wants in operation. No, no, you go from the bottom up, if you please. Now those of you who know Plato and Aristotle (and If I can use them symbolically), you don't go a la Plato, you go a la Aristotle. And that will get rid of the Pharisees (who are the most dangerous persons in the midst of this, not the libertine).

Now secondly, and when we get to the timelines in two weeks I haven't got the slightest idea what they would look like. We have to get a feel after it. Remember, it's finally the timeline of a given week that is going to be the key to the renewal of the Church. And, what we do here will be again almost an exercise, finding out how the actual timeline can only be built when you are in your concrete situation, because no situation is like another situation. You are already aware, some of you, that in the parishes or the congregations or the cadres you're in, a great many lights are already turned on in these tactical models. And some are glowing brightly and you better keep them going. The image that I have is radical metamorphosis . And I think of dear Harry Truman in the White House. He, you remember, moved across the street. Then he gutted the White House and then built it all over again without disturbing any of the walls. I don't think a crack appeared in any of the walls. This is what you and I are doing in the local congregation: occasioning metamorphosis so that anybody outside on the sidewalk wouldn't know a damn ­ng is going on. What I'm trying to say is that the program of the local congregation has to keep going, the one that's there, 90 miles an hour while you utterly transform it. This is not patching up that program, not at all. It is not bringing in a new program, not at all. It is occasioning resurrection right in the midst of the body. And that's what the tactics are after.

Lastly, and I've got to hurry, all of these tactics are symbols. Now, when you only say symbols, those of you who do not know that the/reality there is is symbols, you'll get mixed up. When I say symbols, that means that's like death. The moment that you build that model, the local congregation is already renewed. Do you understand that? Oh, those of you who do not know that symbols are the only reality, may not see that the local congregation is renewed for 40 years. But, at that time when you see it, you'll see that it was renewed 40 years ago. And I'm exaggerating now. I like to think that the time Karl Barth, for instance, rang the bell in the dark belfry, by mistake, ­­ then the church was renewed. Or to put it, for as long as any of us have existed, the church was already renewed, because people decided that it was going to be renewed and created symbols. Symbols are the reality. This is why those of you get in despair now and leave the church. You are just ridiculous. That Church is renewed.

And if you don't like my symbols, then take somebody else's (which are mine too). One is Vatican II. When God shoved Pope John, God bless his dear departed soul, He sent him into the world and Whup! I mean the Church was renewed, period. And that's what these are. This is why, as Fred Buss put it, prayer is radical tactic. You might say when you go home and people ask you what you did here around these awful tables over there that you spent one month praying. And if you get worried about if the little tactic is right or wrong you don't even know what's going on. You're praying, and when you're busy praying, I swear going on in your mind is not the question, ''Am I getting this done right?" No, it's too late, so to speak.

Now lastly, really, is the year's experiment ahead. I take with great seriousness Phase I, that is, the fact that it has gone on for 50 years. You and I can say that it's gone on for 5 years. This is Council V this summer and thousands of people have been selecting through the data and the wisdom out of many renewa1 forces in the world and got together just enough so that we can begin to get busy on the concretions for the social renewal of the local congregation. And as far as I'm concerned, this is the climes of it, the key to it. Church renewal will never be the same again. Indeed, it is already changed.

Now Phase II in my imagination (many, many of us and this country have talked about this together) is really for one year. In our last week here we're going to have to talk about the details but we're going to check what we've done here, hopefully in many different congregations. I don't know what any of them are at all. And that will be Council V's job in the first week of August. We've got to get some information together to bring to them, those of us gathered here and I suppose the Counci1 will be you people, not all of you, wouldn't be anybody much who isn't here, I suppose, for that. Then, at the end of that year, that's Council VI, which for me is crucial. We've got to come back and talk about what our wisdom in that year has taught us and what has to be the done for Phase III. I call that replication phase in which we try to push this until the last congregation is renewed across the face of this world.

For one year we sort of mark time while we're running like heck to test in the fires of actual congregations what we come up with this summer. There's got to be certain kinds of criteria and the last week you and I have got to work on that. The thing is that this has got to be done within the superstructures of the Church. It's got to have the permission of the administrative and symbolic leaders of the various denominations. It's got to have regional support. And it must not take place in congregations where there is not a readiness. Now I do not mean they go and have a vote; that's ridiculous. If a spirit man ever got down to having a vote, he is no longer a spirit man, so to speak. A revolutionary, it's pretty obvious, cannot ask for a vote. And I see that readiness in either of two ways. There is no doubt that there is a deep failure of morale in local churches. It that is acutely present, then that church may very well be ready. Then in other local churches who have already gone through that, are scintillating with a sense of possibility and they would be ready for it too.

Another criteria has got to be that clergyman and his wife. I tell you if a clergyman is not an awakened spirit man and has laid down his death and has decided to be a naught ... And I want to add his wife. You good women, I love you deeply, but I tell you in our order one woman who decides to throw a hand grenade is far more demonic than the most demonic ten men you could think of. On the other side, when a woman wakes up and decides to move, she's worth twenty men. And one of the horrible things about preachers' wives is that they've been conditioned to turn over their spirituality to that jackass they married. You need... Sister, I think we ought to go to celibacy.... You need missional marriages. You need a man and a woman who are colleagues in the spirit, married. And it seems to me that's going to be crucial.

And I don't want to go into details, but there's got to be some kind of criteria. You can imagine some guy, who secretly wants to do his little thing, picking up this stuff and just causing all kinds of trouble. An auxiliary who causes divisiveness within the church hasn't learned yet how to be a guru. He hasn't learned how you can be ­­ mean as hell while you utterly honor human beings. And that's going to be crucial that you and I learn that.

Now I've been rambling on here. These next three weeks ... and I'm tired already, are you' ... but even so I think they're going to be fun. One hundred of you are going to be fooling with that electric grid in which, it's hard to figure out, in all of these 2000 or 9000 tactics, the six if you punch will turn all of them on. You can Just that that would happen. It'll take 100 minds, and it'll be better than most computers, 100 of you wiring in your minds to try to come up with this.

And you see the cruciality of this is that one of the first things that a revolutionary has to learn, relative to strategy, is that, while other people do this and then move to that and then move to that and then move to that, a revolutionary always does the whole thing at once. Do you understand this? This is why the New Testament is such a revolutionary document. You can do Jerusalem, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth at once, now. You see they found a button to push in which the whole thing went on and ever since that day the Church has been utterly universal. The first week you're there as an auxiliary you find those buttons and you turn on all 9000 supplementaries. That's going to be fun.

And next weekend we're going to be working on procedures. Whereas the instrument is that which keeps the machinery going, so to speak, a procedure is how you get the thing put together so that it can keep going. And this ought to be fun. I don't know how you quite do that but maybe we can find out. And during these first four days, we're still going to be working on supplementaries.

Then we're going to be putting the tactics and subtactics and that into prose, writing sentences on them. can you can see that that's going to be necessary. I worked on some of these earlier and you know that silly thing of getting two words in that box and that forces you, the value of that, it forces you to build a universe in every one of those. But the trouble is, when I went back to some of them the other day, I couldn't remember what I'd meant, for the life of me, I couldn't remember. And I had to create a whole new universe to fit those two words for myself. So we've got to get them into prose, though that exercise, it seems to me, is just crucial. And I think that'll be fun, though hard work. You'll be cussing out some character who put the two words there, but that's what I mean, you got to laugh at these things. If you don't have a sense of humor, you ought not be in this business. And no matter how uptight, and I'm uptight (I said this summer we wouldn't be uptight, and I'm the first to violate it), a revolutionary, a spirit man, is, he has got to have a sense of humor or he won't get to his tactics to die in them. wouldn't it be terrible to be the first person in history who died in you goals?

Joseph W. Mathews