Monday, August 31, 2015

Nope. That's not it.

[F]irst, Christians were expected to be good citizens by participating in the community, and second, Peter doesn’t come close to describing benevolence as kingdom work. Like everyone else in the Bible, Peter saw kingdom as the realm of redemption and the redeemed, not what followers of Jesus did in the public sector.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 114

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The kingdom

Kingdom is people; church is people. A people under King Jesus begins to live into an alternative society that witnesses both to and against the world’s system. Our world is marked today by isolation, fragmentation, transience, privacy, consumerism, power, complacency, alienation, suspicion, and a host of idolatries. The church, which is a kingdom fellowship under King Jesus, counters each of these stories with the story of new creation that becomes possible through the power of the Spirit and the life of Jesus. Kingdom creates a family called a church.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 106

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Putting the "Two Kingdoms" theology to rest

We are not “under the Lord” when we do our part as Christians—at home, in the church—but then “under Caesar” when acting as public citizens. If Jesus is Lord, he is always Lord—at home, in the church, and in the public. We don’t have an ethic for our Christian life and another ethic for our public, worldly, secular life. We have one ethic because Jesus is Lord over all.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 103

Monday, August 24, 2015

Listen up!

Politics is a colossal distraction from kingdom mission. Politics entails diminution of our kingdom message, because to speak well in the public forum means we have to turn our gospel-drenched message that focuses on Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection into acceptable, common-denominator language and vision. Instead of talking discipleship and a cruciform life, we talk about values and soak it in the pretentious “Judeo-Christian ethic.” Politics entails energies and time that could be used more directly for kingdom mission task. Politics means seeking to influence the state in the direction of the kingdom, but in so doing it is asking the public and the state to put into law and policy the kingdom story.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 102

<idle musing>
Would that people would here this! The kingdom of God is not the kingdom of this world—be it the U.S. or any other country. We are to draw people to the kingdom of God, not our preferred political viewpoint. (Of course, my viewpoint is the one that is closest to the kingdom of God, right?!!)
</idle musing>

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wrong focus!

But Christians have failed to embody the church as an alternative politic and have instead opted for influencing and improving Caesar or transforming culture or using the political process to accomplish their wishes. American love politics, as do people all over the world. America is made up of lots of Christians, and this means many Christians get riled up in the political process.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 101

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Too hard? Or just hard?

This means that all true kingdom mission is church mission. For many today it is far easier to be committed to social justice in South Africa, to the restoration of communities on the Gulf Shore following Katrina, to cleaning up from the devastating tornadoes of the Plains, or to fighting sexual trafficking in any country than it is to be committed to building community and establishing fellowship in one’s local church. I hate to put it this way, but I must: it is easier to do the former because it feels good, it resolves some social shame for all that we have, it creates a bonded and encapusulated experience, it is a momentary and at times condescending invasions of resources and energy, and it is all ramped up into ultimate legitimation by calling it kingdom work. Not only that, it is good and right and noble and loving and compassionate and just. It is more glamorous to do social activism because building a local church is hard.— Kingdom Conspiracy, pages 96–97 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
Yep. He's right—not that I like to admit it!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

But it's more fun doing it our way...

Our responsibility is to point our noses at the Bible to see what is there, to read it carefully enough to fashion an explanation that is rooted as much as possible in what it says. We are not supposed ot invent our own ides, then go to the Bible to find support, and then claim the Bible as the authority for our own inventions.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 66

Friday, August 14, 2015

How do we get the kingdom?

I call this quest for power through the political process the “eschatology of politics”—that is, the belief that if we usher in the right political candidates and the right laws, then kingdom conditions will arrive. Every two years America goes through convulsions as one candidate after another promises (all but) the kingdom if he or she is elected. Every two years American go through the same convulsions as they lather up for the election because they believe if they get their candidate, not only will they win, but (all but) the kingdom will come. This is idolatry…— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 62

<idle musing>
Amen! The kingdom of God is just that, the kingdom of God. Only the Holy Spirit can usher it in, not human politics...
</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

There really are two different ways

Roman politics is about power and domination and might and force and coercion and the sword. The politics of Jesus is about sacrificial love for the other even if that means death from the sword. Lording it over others is the way of Rome; serving others is the way of Jesus. The lords of the empire are for Jesus lordless lords. Those are two stories at work in two politics, and the politics of Jesus counters the politics of Rome.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 61 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
And unfortunately, even as Christians, we tend to lean toward Rome : (
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Avoid it!

When we are persuaded into the depths of our heart that what we believe to be true is the Truth, we want this for all others. When we want this for others, we are tempted for our witness to become coercive, manipulative, and sometimes to resort to violence. Jesus opposed the ways of the Maccabees and the Zealots and offered instead of the symbol of the sword the symbol of the cross. The way to “rule” was the way of service; the way to love was with the basin and towel. Kingdom mission must resist all temptations to use coercion and violence to accomplish God’s will.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 57

Friday, August 07, 2015

Pharisees as the good guys

No Christian wants to be called a “Pharisee,” so it can shock modern Bible readers to learn that the Pharisees were good guys. They were the home Bible study movement in the land of Israel, the ones who wanted to interpret Torah in such a way that everything was clear so everyone could follow the whole Torah. Their vision for Israel was to obey the Torah, to teach the Torah, and in so doing to stimulate a revival in the land and draw down the blessing of God, including the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 51

Holy warfare?

This holy warfare to bring in the kingdom strategy was the rejected option for Jesus, and so we dare not ignore the presence of a Zealot in the circle of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Simon is called the “Zealot” in Luke 6:15, and one has to wonder about the violent proclivities of James and John, who are dubbed “sons of thunder” in Mark 3:17. Jesus shut down the pervasive desire on the part of the disciples to lord it over others (Mark 10:35–45). Jesus’ strategy was dead opposed to holy warfare, because for him the way of “winning” was “losing,” and the way to resurrection and kingdom was through love and through the cross. Kingdom cannot be connected to holy warfare; holy warfare destroys the kingdom. Jesus’ words are not “Grab some swords and let’s head for the hills surrounding Jerusalem” but “Take up your cross daily.”— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 50

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Give thanks

Adam and Eve sinned; they died. Sin leads to death. The sin they committed was the sin of usurping, of wanting to be God-like instead of god-ly. They died for the sin. We, too, are usurpers. From the moment we become conscious to the moment we die we want to be in charge, we want to control, and we want to rule our life. That is the sin of Everyman and Everywoman.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 36

<idle musing>
Ain't that the truth! I get frustrated. Why? Because I can't control what's going on. I'm not God; I'm not even a god! Of course most things are out of my control. That's part of life. The trick, if it is a trick, is responding in the Holy Spirit instead of in the flesh.

That's what I'm learning this summer. People leave late and come early. You can't possibly get the cabins done in time. Relax and enjoy the summer! Do your best, but don't fret it.

The Internet connection is flaky. What does getting frustrated do? It certainly doesn't fix it! It just makes you—and everyone around you—upset and in a bad mood.

The web site interface is being flaky and taking longer to get anything done. If I can get it done! "In everything gives thanks!" Not what the flesh wants, is it? But by the power of the Holy Spirit, it can happen...
</idle musing>

Monday, August 03, 2015

Plan B

Here is where we now stand in explaining how to put the big picture together. Plan A is God’s will for the world: God rules with Israel governing under God on God’s behalf. But because Israel wants a king like other nations, Plan A takes a divine detour in Plan B, where God accommodates Israel’s selfish desire. During Plan B arises the memory and a hope for the return of Plan A, to God’s rule in Israel with no human king. As this hope moves forward, a Servant King who redeems by way of suffering and who rules by way of redemption comes to the fore.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 33

Saturday, August 01, 2015

40 years folded into one book

Yesterday one of the printing reps stopped by Eisenbrauns home office in Warsaw, Indiana. He brought a gift for the business:

Isn't that cool! I can't wait to see it in real life (I'm in Minnesota).