“Over and against these senseless modern myths …
there is the “myth” of the God of goodness
who has chosen people to prepare
a kingdom of justice, truth, and love on earth.
This myth dies hard.
Why should we refuse to admit that Christ taught it to us?”

[from Andre Trocme, Jesus and the Non-Violent Revolution 1973, 2004, p179]

 

This is the basic concern of this blog, the reason it exists –

  • to lift up this ideal,
  • to examine how the Bible presents this ultimate priority (“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”!),
  • and to explore it’s application in practical terms both individually and socially.

So in service of that goal let’s think for a minute – what does it mean A) that there is this “Kingdom”, B) that it is honest, holistic, and humane, and C) that Jesus and the prophets coach us in it?


A. THERE IS ONE KINGDOM …

There is this “one kingdom.”

In the Bible it’s not always called “kingdom” – John’s Gospel hardly mentions the word, speaking much more of a relationship of deep faith with God in Christ. But the effect is the same.

It might be called

  • God’s governmental system,
  • God’s better economy,
  • Divine ways of living together in society,
  • the overall value system that is actually effective for good
  • the ultimate, and best, Authority,
  • the presence and free action of the underlying creating, empowering, good and wise Spirit,
  • God’s intended world of Shalom – peace and prosperity,
  • etc.

But whatever it’s called, the idea is a beautiful one. The Bible holds up this ideal over and over in many different ways. It has also been a persistent and strong human longing, around the world. all down through history.

We can be consciously, actively committed to it, involved

in the pursuit of this “kingdom” – deeply devoted to it.  Jesus said, “Seek first God’s Kingdom.” What a wonderful idea!


B(1) … THAT IS TRULY HONEST,

In this ordinary world we often find that our leaders and teachers are dishonest and/or not as well-informed or wise as we need them to be. It is a perpetually re-cooked recipe for repeated disappointment and betrayal. We should not be surprised when that happens since key people (often our “leaders”) are surrounded by the apparently irresistable seductions of ego, wealth and power.

The Kingdom of God, the Economy of God, the Society of God offers us an absolute integrity at the top.

Jesus is the indication of how true this is. Even his enemies said of Jesus – “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity.” “You do not show partiality but teach the way of God in truth.” These sentences show both the problem and the response.

  • The problem: dishonest, manipulative leaders in both religion and government, who in this case were feigning interest hoping to trip him up. Then they could “legitimately” arrest and dispose of him. Turns out they had to do it illegitimately.
  • The response: a man of integrity who teaches the way of God in truth – who simply will not, not in the least, participate in their world of lies. That is his example to us. That is also the high standard of how God operates in this “Kingdom of God.”

It seems to me we should buy into a kingdom like this – one that both claims to be honest and has repeatedly shown itself to be so. That means, of course, that we need to be learning how to be honest ourselves, since that’s the way it IS in this wonderful kingdom. There have been, sad to say, many seduced into fraud and violence by “ego, wealth and power” while pretending to serve that One True Kingdom.

Unfortunately for us, for now, this will have to be lived out in the context of human institutions that have repeatedly shown themselves to be dishonest and dangerous. Still – is not the better choice obvious? We can expect the powers that be in the dishonest kingdoms around us to turn against us – often or rarely, at any time, obviously or covertly, for any reason or no reason. But the Christ of God will not do that – even if at present his freedom of operation is limited, in temporary submission to human freedom, in this nasty, deeply dishonest, but temporary (“temporal”) context.


B(2) … HOLISTIC,

God is the Creator of the whole physical environment we live in AND of us humans. If this God actually has a way of seeing things, a way to understand and operate in relation to this world – which, being the Creator, he surely does! – well, that Divine perspective would be what “holistic” means! A way of thinking and living that values all of this Divine creation, and that therefore prioritizes

  • not finance, but livability –
  • not greed and power-lust, but love and service –
  • not war, but shalom,
  • not fraud, deceit, corruption and manipulation, but integrity and openness –
  • not freedom for the relatively powerful but freedom for, and cooperation among, all humans to be becoming “all that you can be” –
  • not temporary comfort and pleasure for a minority of humans, but a healthy environment for all of life,
  • both now and ongoing.

Could not our current “normal” worldly systems of operation use some reformation in the light of these better principles?


B(3) … AND HUMANE.

The style of life and religion and “economy” that Jesus teaches, that the apostles taught, that the ancient Hebrew prophets taught, is respectful of human needs, human rights, and human potentials. It prioritizes decency, justice, and mutual concern. It condemns and rejects the greedy, the violent, and the dishonest. It is truly humane.


C. JESUS AND THE PROPHETS DESCRIBED IT AND TAUGHT US HOW TO PURSUE AND BUILD IT.

  • Think of Jesus.
    • It is, sadly, not common in our churches to get much help in understanding and living according to Jesus’ actual teachings. But that’s absurd – if we think he is truly the Christ, the Savior, and the King of the Kingdom of God!
    • Surely he must have some very significant, Kingdom-flavored, Kingdom-generating things to say. In fact in his “Great Commission” that’s what he instructed us to learn and to teach – right at the end of the Gospel According to Matthew. “… to all kinds of people … teach them to practice everything I taught you to practice.”
    • Jesus was a strong fan of the moral perspectives of the ancient Hebrew prophets, and they too give much practical instruction in how to live a Kingdom-style life within these un-Kingdomly dishonest kingdoms we live in for the time being.
  • Think of Isaiah 58,
    • coming down hard on false worship and exploitation,
    • and clarifying the breath-taking, amazing blessings that would follow on true Kingdom-style living.
  • Think of Micah and his righteous indignation at how the war-focused economies surrounding him and his people were brutalizing the little people. He’s the one who tries to focus our moral awareness with “What does the Lord require of you –
    • but to do justice,
    • love mercy,
    • and walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

These things very much deserve our attention.


D. LET’S!

These things richly deserve our attention. Our world desperately needs us to be giving these things our attention! AND WE CAN! What could we think of that would actually be more hopeful?!

This is the basic concern of this blog, the reason it exists –

  • to lift up this ideal,
  • to examine how the Bible presents this ultimate priority (“Seek ye first the Kingdom ofGod”!),
  • and to explore it’s application in practical terms both individually and socially.

Let’s DO this!

 


 

There is one Kingdom that is truly Honest, Holistic, and Humane.
Jesus and the Prophets described it, and taught us how to pursue and build it. Let’s!

 


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