THE EXPERIENCE is a familiar one. A small, struggling community of believers searching for truth and justice finds the Spirit present in its midst. They are set aflame with the joy and peace of deep insight into God's call for them and for the church as a whole. They rush to their sisters and brothers in the larger church, offering the gift of their new revelation. But instead of open acceptance, they hit the brick wall of institutional rejection. Rather than being embraced, they are ignored.
If they insist on their version of truth, the reaction stiffens into anger, hatred, persecution. Eventually, they must decide: Do we in turn reject the institutional church in favor of our own Spirit-filled vision of justice and peace? Or do we continue to witness to the religious powers, no matter what the price?