A precondition for authentic protest is that there be a committed community; our word for that is “church,” but of course that is another word which most people use with other meanings. That body must not be the same as the entire society or nation. There must be a critical mass of like-minded people, sustaining one another in the world view they have given themselves to and celebrated. The church is the seed bed where valid dissent can sprout, where the alternative world view can be rehearsed.
The existence of the church therefore answers first of all the question asked by the sociology of knowledge; how is a construction of reality nurtured that can be at the same time holistic and critical? Only by letting one’s life overlap with those of others on the same pilgrimage. Only by teaching one’s children, even in Babylon, the songs of Zion which the Babylonians cannot understand.
~ John Howard Yoder, “Christianity and Protest in America,” Unpublished lecture, 1991