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For most of the past two years I have used the word "graduates" to refer to members of the Jesus Christian community who dispersed in November of 2010.  However, I recently had cause to meditate a little further upon several implications of this word, both in relation to ourselves and in relation to graduation from an institution of higher learning within the secular world.

Some have assumed that graduating necessarily involves challenging the beliefs of the institution (in our case the Jesus Christian community) that one had previously been attending.  That is rarely the case in terms of educational institutions in general, and so I think it should rarely be the case with regard to Jesus Christians.  Of course, someone might graduate from one university and go off to start their own.  They could, perhaps, be seen as operating (after that) in competition with their alma mater, though that too would not be readily assumed.  Others may get into areas of research or experimentation which are radically different to what they learned while studying under other instructors.  There have been instances where such a new approach has been at first scorned by the institutional establishment.  But, over time, that too tends to fade, as the old sees the new as an extension of its own desire to learn new things.

So it is with the former Jesus Christians, that most graduates have carried on without any thought of expressing opposition to what they learned while part of the JC community.

Of course, even when a graduate does challenge the status quo, it doesn't stop them from being graduates.  And the same would be true of graduates who forget some of the lessons they learned (or perhaps were supposed to have learned) while in the former institution.  Not all graduates are straight A students, and not all will remember everything that they learned.  But they are still graduates.  And this is the way I see so many people who are continuing on now with what they learned from ourselves.

The main thing is that graduates in general take with them some things which will enable them to carry on with certain teachings on their own or in company with others who have not been through the same school. Graduation becomes just one more step in an overall learning experience.

I'm saying all this to emphasise the relatively smooth transition that has taken place between the life and practice of the Jesus Christian community, and what continues now in the lives of those individual members.  All the evidence is that former Jesus Christians are spreading around the world in a way that they never did when we were all so closely linked that there was little difference in what we said or thought.

Someone recently wrote to me to say that just being able to experiment with some teachings which were a bit way out there, helped him to feel that his return to beliefs which are much closer to what we taught in the JCs was the result of his own personal conviction this time and not something that was forced upon him by peer group pressure.

Overall, Cherry and I are finding a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that what we started is now growing faster than ever before, and, as such, the kingdom of heaven is continuing to grow, even though (and perhaps because) the Jesus Christians as such no longer exist.  It would be nice if these graduates could link up with other graduates one day; but it has also been good knowing that a little isolation has paid off in terms of some of our fiercest opponents totally giving up in their efforts to track us down.

While we still continue to follow up certain contacts, run the drastically reduced forum, communicate with some graduates as they feel led, and get out books on the streets ourselves, our retirement is more or less complete; we could die tomorrow without worry about what we founded dying out with us.  In fact, it is the graduates themselves which testify to the effectiveness of the institution from which they received their grounding.

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