Saturday, December 27, 2008


by Keith Giles

What is Subversive?

It’s a systematic overthrow of one system or power by those working from within. Jesus said the Kingdom of God was immediately accessible to all who follow Him. This is the Gospel message. This is subversive.

Since this is the final [Subversive Underground] for 2008 I thought I'd take a moment to bring everyone up to speed about the newsletter and provide a bit of background on things, as well as offer up a few hints about what's in store for 2009.

This is the 166th edition of my weekly e-newsletter. Some of you on this e-newsletter subscription have been here from the beginning, some of you have only recently jumped on board. There are approximately 276 of you on the Underground signal. Welcome.

My reason for starting this e-newsletter in December of 2005 was so that I could create an audience for my various articles on faith, discipleship, social justice, spiritual transformation and missional life.

For me, all those things are wrapped up into one interconnected glob. I can't think of discipleship to Jesus without confronting the need to love and serve the poor, and this is part of my ongoing spiritual formation and an attempt at an outward-focused life.

This newsletter also provides me with a reason to write something every single week. I hope it has been a blessing to you in your walk with Christ.

A few months ago I felt like God asked me a question: "What would you do if you didn't write the Subversive Underground each week?"

It was a question that I am still grappling with. As I've struggled to answer this question one thing that has intrigued me has been the idea of ending this newsletter at the 200th issue which will be in August of 2009.

What happens after that? I don't know. Will these weekly newsletters end completely or will they take on a new focus and direction? Again, I am not yet sure.

This newsletter and my main blog have always been about inspiring others to become subversive. Largely I have attempted to do this by writing about my own attempts at being subversive, freely sharing ideas, provoking the comfortable, asking hard questions and stirring up the waters as much as possible.

I've done my best these last three years to challenge the status quo and to encourage you to do the same. What I don't know is if I've been successful in this or not.

I've written a series of articles about how to start a ministry to the poor in your community, but I have no idea if anyone actually took these ideas to heart or implemented any of them.

I've written at length about our journey into house church, but only a handful of you have written to me about your own desire to do the same. For those who have I am blessed beyond words to hear your stories and to encourage you on your way. Thank you for allowing me cheer you on.

I've written about the importance of standing against the false security of the Christian Subculture but I have no idea how many of you have actually taken steps to do this in your own life.

For the last 3 years I've written an article each week to inspire and encourage Christians to resist the culture, be the Church and touch the poor, but has it done any good? I have no clue.

As I've considered what to do after the 200th article, one possibility I've entertained has been to shift my focus from sharing what I've been doing to live a subversive life and start reporting on others, perhaps even on your attempts, to live a subversive life. Maybe reading about how others are being subversive in their own community and workplace will inspire the rest of us to step out and make a difference?

Another idea is to write articles aimed at those who do not share our faith. Instead of writing to inspire the Church to be the Church, maybe I could write articles to engage the culture directly and find avenues for addressing Christianity in contemporary America by speaking to those who oppose or misunderstand our faith?

Honestly, I still don't know what to do. Perhaps when we reach the 200th article in August of '09 I will simply decide to turn out the lights on this weekly newsletter and take some time off to listen to God's voice?

It's taken me 3 years to build this list up to over 275 subscribers. It's such an honor and a blessing for me to be able to speak to a group of people like this via the Internet about the Gospel of the Kingdom, Justice, Discipleship to Jesus and the Church. The idea of wadding it all up into a ball and tossing it away is very frightening for me, and yet, at the same time, it's also very exciting. Letting go of this could actually be the best thing possible in the economy of the Kingdom.

As much as I love telling my stories about being subversive, none of it means anything if you, the reader, doesn't also decide to live your life outside the box and engage your culture in a subversive way with the tangible, living power of Christ.

We have to do more than intend to be subversive. We have to actually live our lives in such a way as to provoke action, inspire others and engage the poor. We have to become agents of change in a world desperate for an end to the status quo. Reading about it will not bring change. Thinking about it will not bring light. Talking about it will not make others thirsty for living water. We must be the change we hope to see in our world. We must fulfill our God-given calling to change our world, even our small part of it, so that the subversive Gospel of the Kingdom can take root and grow.

For the last 3 years now I have written an article a week to inspire you towards that end. Now I am asking each of you to discover your own calling. I am asking each of you to live a subversive life in your neighborhood. I am asking each of you to creatively use your talents to make people consider the Gospel message. I am asking you to take up the torch and run with it.

Will you start your own blog? Will you use your talent to engage the culture? Will you organize others to serve the poor? Will you take that step that you know God has been calling you to take?

Now is the time. We can't afford to just talk about it any longer.

For now I will continue to pray about what our next steps should be, but August is a long way away and I know that God still has a lot in store for each of us in the meantime.

Thanks so much for each of you who have faithfully read this newsletter and encouraged me over the last few years.

We're not finished yet.

Conversatio Morem!


I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can email me here:

My first two books are currently available for free download over at my main website and you can also purchase the actual print versions there too.

Happy New Year!

Peas (on Earth),




1 comment:

naphtali_deer said...

Brother, I'm thankful for your heart & passion for God and for your words which have brought us continuous challenges.

About what's next: remember that sometimes (usually?) when God calls us, He calls us to leave something or give up something before He makes it all clear to us--except that we know we're following the Shepherd's voice.

Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. (See also Hebrews 11.)

Abram didn't know where he was going, but he went out in faith...

Praying for God to continue to give you a ready and willing heart to follow Him in faith wherever He might lead you.

Peace in Christ.
Numbers 6:24-26.