Lenin is supposed to have said, shortly before he died, that if he had to do his Russian revolution over again, he would have asked for ten Francises of Assisi rather than more Bolsheviks. He realized that something imposed by domination and violence from above only creates the same mirrored response from below. It is just a matter of time. He realized that the only communism that would ever be helpful to the world was the voluntary and joyous simplicity of a Francis of Assisi. (As a Franciscan, I am indeed a “communist” as we share all things equally and from a common purse.) That element of the practice of the early church (Acts 2:44) and of Jesus (John 13:29) was never taught with any great seriousness. It was never expected of the clergy—certainly not of the higher clergy—and therefore why would we, or could we, ask it of the rest of the church? Jesus was training the leaders, because you can only ask of others what you yourselves have done first. He was initiating them as spiritual elders, much more than ordaining them as “priests” (which is an Old Testament word never used for his apostles).
Once we saw the clerical state as a place of advancement instead of downward mobility, once ordination was not a form of initiation but a continuation of patriarchal patterns, the authentic preaching of the Gospel became the exception rather than the norm—whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant. The first human “demon” that normally needs to be exposed is the human addiction to power, prestige, and possessions. These tend to pollute everything.
Once we preach the true Gospel, I doubt if we are going to fill the churches.
A Lever and a Place to Stand, pp. 95-96
I am powerless without You.