The Kingdom of God

January 6, 2009

This will be quick and to the point, and I’m not really going to take time to cite the specifics for much of what I’m writing about, I’ll save those for upcoming articles that tie in with this. Just consider this a brief overview, a brief into to a new thread of articles that will appear sporadically over the next month or so.
I’ll admit up front I’m very liberal on many, if not most, issues. I’ll also state that I’ve felt for years, much prior to my recent immersion into Theology and World Religion literature and scripture, that capitalism in its present American form was contrary to ethical and compassionate behavior.

The Kingdom of God. It keeps coming up in every bit of Christian Theology I read, from Wright to Crossan to Borg even to evangelicals like Campalo. It’s not talking about heaven. Kingdom of God does not refer to the global Christian church either, at least not in the way I feel most scholars refer to it in how Jesus spoke of it. The Kingdom of God is something Christ pointed to and proclaimed to be at hand, right here in the now. It’s something those that follow Christ and hope to become like Christ strive to bring about in their own lives and in the world around them.  I feel that this term refers to a path, a lifestyle, a state of being as well as an economic, political and human state. It is a world in which people reach out to help those that are suffering. It is a world in which there is voluntary, inspired redistribution of wealth, in which people don’t live in McMansions and throw money away in obscene and uninspired ways but rather give some to those that have not. It’s a world of universal health care, total human equality, peace and justice. It’s a path of humility, humbleness, love, forgiveness and compassion. Jesus rarely spoke of life after death. When he said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, he wasn’t talking about heaven. He was talking about this struggle and lifestyle that aims to liberate the oppressed, and transform the darkness into light through compassion. I highly doubt that Jesus pictured all of those that are wealthy being shut out of paradise in the heaven sense. I do think he was referring to the fact that if you have too much, if you are overcome with wealth you often tend to lose perspective and you may find it difficult to view the oppressed and the poor with total compassion– you may find yourself justifying your wealth, status and position and claim that if the poor only wanted to be like you they could through hard work. I myself am a collector of things (be it affordably collectable things at this point) , and like to keep quite a few certain possessions, and although I’m far from wealthy I understand that there has to be a bit of restraint and composure. I don’t think that were I middle class I would have to give up all but the bear necessity, but I do think if I were wealthy I should take stock of what I really need and what I really should use for better means. Our modern consumer culture doesn’t see room for restraint or taking stock of what we need or what we should maybe use to help others. Our system tells us to define ourselves by what we have and what we can purchase, what item of clothing or jewelry we can wear that costs more than some make in a month of work. That’s the lie of capitalism. I do not believe in a mixture of church and state, I’ve seen too many cranked out conservatives that wish to control government. I do however think that if you truly follow any major spiritual guide, be it Jesus or Buddha or Allah you will find yourself motivated to support politics that seek to transform poverty and aid in equality. Religious people may disagree about the particular moral and ethical issues but they should never disagree about issues of equality, fairness, justice and compassion if they open themselves up to truth.
That said, it’s illogical for someone to call themselves Christian and proclaim their Nationalism to be merely Patriotism and to equate that feeling with Christianity itself. It’s illogical to view the modern system of Capitalism as a righteous system.
Tirade over, specific articles that tie in with this overview to come at a later date. Thanks for reading. Feel free to disagree.

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One Response to “The Kingdom of God”

  1. thedaythatidie said

    that’s not even quick.

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