Alternative Language

I resonate with a couple of these “alternatives”offered by Brian McLaren to the terminologies Jesus used to speak about what God was up to in his proclamation that “the Kingdom of God is at hand”. Although I can still derive the postive sense of the “Kingdom” language, I can also recognize how “Kingdoms” can communicate the wrong sense about God when viewed through the lens of modern history and the legacy of kingdoms that beome infamous for their imperialist conquests and capitalistic motivations that terrorized whole nations of native people who stood in the way of “progress” as perceived by Western European colonialists.

Found in Translation, Sojourners Magazine/March 2006

The revolution cannot use the corrupt tactics of the current regime; otherwise, it will only replace one corrupt regime with another. For example, if it uses violence to overcome violence, deceit to overcome deceit, coercion to overcome coercion, fear to overcome fear, then the revolution isn’t really revolutionary; it’s just a matter of lateral conversion or regime change. The very success of such a revolution would reinforce confidence in its tactics.

So perhaps we need a modifier in front of revolution to show how the goals and tactics of this regime are radically different: the peace revolution of God, the spiritual revolution of God, the love revolution of God, the reconciling revolution of God, the justice revolution of God. In these ways, we get much closer to the dynamic hidden in Jesus’ original language of kingdom of God.

This immediatly brings to my memory the sermons of Clarence Jordan about Jesus’ s “Parables of the Revolution” and his translation of “The Kingdom of God” as “The God Movement”.

The network of God. A promising new metaphor works with the idea of a network or system. God is inviting people into a life-giving network. First, God wants people to be connected, plugged in, in communication with God, so God can transfer to them what they need—not just information but also virus-debugging software, along with love, hope, empowerment, purpose, and wisdom. As well, each person who is connected to God must become integrally connected to all others in the network. In this way, the network of God breaks down the walls of smaller, exclusive networks (like networks of racism, nationalism, and the like) and invites them into the only truly worldwide web of love. The network becomes a resource for people outside the network as well, and of course, people are always invited to enter the connectivity themselves.

I like this a lot. I want to reflect on this over the next several days. (Alsoi appropriate for me, a computer-geek kiind of guy, who also has had a Christian community history saturated with emphasis on community and relationships.


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