Kingdom

Voting & the Imagination of the Kingdom of God

“…presumed familiarity (of Jesus) has led to unfamiliarity, unfamiliarity has led to contempt, and contempt has led to profound ignorance.”
-Dallas Willard

What if everything we know is not what we actually know or a reflection of our REAL lives?

What if our lives are nothing but projections we impose upon life and others (twitter, facebook, google plus, etc.)?

What if the options presented before us are not the only two options and there is a “write-in” option in life we are potentially unaware of?

In light of this years elections, I want to shed light on the way I was raised and the projection I was handed before coming to an alternative path that required more than the typical partisan choices that were placed before me. After all, are there only two options? Even when we think we have become more open to life and other perspectives, it is often the case that we have simply re-arranged our prejudice rather than a true perspective that has been expanded or left behind.

You see…

Growing up in the church was no simple thing. You had this one way of interpreting scripture and only one way of experiencing God, which should be the way the pastor was presenting it passionately on Sunday Morning. After 18 years of this, I was starving for something more…but I didn’t know what it was. I believed in what my church called the Gospel, which was essentially the Womb story and Tomb story of Jesus, while leaving out everything in between. The life of Jesus was important, but only as an example for the perfect obedience of Jesus to His Father and lack of sin. Each Sunday was a fresh participation of the elite who sat in the stands, marveling at our guy, Jesus, winning the race every time.

The Gospel became a fringe issue for me as Jesus became less and less appealing and far less “21st century.” In other words, the Gospel was boring and culturally irrelevant. And who wants to be a part of a boring and irrelevant movement?

Thank God, I was introduced to a book which said something different about Jesus, other than how sinful I was and how I desperately needed a Savior. This book said that Jesus’ primary message and mission was called the Kingdom of God, and this Kingdom was riddled all throughout the gospels. Not that the need for a Savior isn’t there, but making that the central issue was a lesson of reduction or inflation of certain gospel truths at the expense of the core values of Jesus. Finally, I realized that the american gospel was reduced to a double-predestination, as told solely by the Apostle Paul (I believe is a misrepresentation of Paul), a presentation that sought to guilt the people into repentance, as opposed to a biblical gospel which seeks to establish the Lordship of Jesus through healing, forgiveness, enemy love, Kingdom vision and sacrifice.

I began to see Jesus as interesting, as if for the first time. I still had never read all of the scriptures for myself but I knew Jesus was something that I was not: INTERESTING.

It was as if a ladder from the heavens appeared before me! Jesus had more to say to us than how to get to a celestial day care when we die, and escape eternal torment in the fires of hell.

Prepare yourself because this is all one sentence: I saw, as if for the first time, that Jesus was going to make all things new, and that heaven was Jesus’ word for “Kingdom” and “Kingdom” was His word for peace, justice, love, hope, forgiveness, life, lordship, sovereignty, etc…and that Kingdom had been inaugurated in Jesus’ public ministry on earth, instituted by His death, burial and resurrection and will one day become a physical reality when He returns to make all things new.

A generation is rising up to say, “Hey world, I am from the future.” The prophetic people, who refuse to cauddle, support or sit silent on issues like life, violence, hatred, racism, offense, war, disease, illness, demonization, pride or crime because of one reason: Those problems are not in the future, and now we shall (by the spirit of God) seek to bring Christ’s Kingdom (rule and reign) into the consciousness of society and change the world with the only message that saves: The Gospel of the Kingdom…McFly!

We are learning to ask certain questions:
-What if Jesus did my job?
-What if Jesus lived my life?
-What if Jesus loved my wife?
-What if Jesus raised my kids?
-What if Jesus were my neighbor?
-What if Jesus were President?
-What if Jesus were in charge now over all nations?
Whatever the answer is, it usually wasn’t found in a Gospel-as-sin-management presentation. Whatever the answer is, should challenge us NOW.

Whatever our view of the future is will always be reflected in the way we live in the present. If the future is destruction, we will live like it. If the future is beautiful, we will make it beautiful.

When we think of heaven invading earth we might think of a people who are well-versed in pulling down from heaven above to the earth below. In my opinion, I don’t believe that is how heaven invades earth. When Jesus came, He brought heaven with Him, and when pentecost came it was finished. Heaven has come, so we don’t reach up for what is already here. We instead reach forward, and pull that into the present.

Here is my main point: We are a prophetic people. We are from the future, as if to say, the imagination of the people of God is filled with the realm of possibilities of peace and how we are confronting the vileness in life to bring about that peace we see in the future, in today’s world.

Today, our pulpits are filled with the preaching of sin-management and sin-conciousness, in which the new believer is encouraged to see themselves as forgiven and yet still constrained by the forces of evil. A schizophrenic generation is being created right under our noses, saints who think they are sinners, who are worse off because we lack one primary thing: imagination.

Tomorrow, all could be different. In fact, this is why I am writing this blog, because I want to get out of the stands and get in the struggle in another way. It wouldn’t happen over night but it is possible! A world in which the Christian is not only different from the world he/she is enveloped in, but is transforming it, rather than trying to escape it.

Jon

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