Monday, January 09, 2012

The Incarnational Kingdom of God

"Identifying with the incarnation [of Christ] as the motivation and the power of Christian obedience changes our very [attitude toward others] so that we are always identifying [with our] enemies." -David Fitch, "The End of Evangelicalism", p.164
No longer is it us vs. them, but us in the place of Christ for them. This is incarnational ministry that transcends all labels, republican and democrat, saved and lost, gay and straight, conservative and liberal, and whatever antipathy this world has set up in contravention to the kingdom of God which calls all to Christ so that Christ may be all in all.
If Christ be lifted up, He'll draw all men to Himself. As we take on the mind of Christ, giving up our privilege and place in the service of others, we display the cross of Christ as we bear it in our bodies.
The us vs. them, in-group/out-group dynamic is a power struggle in the pattern of Gentile ruler ship which Christ disavowed. It dehumanizes us into servants of empty ideologies that are manipulated by principalities and powers in the service of evil. The kingdom of God, alternatively, calls us into a true shared humanity that places love ahead of fear and acceptance ahead of condemnation. The kingdom of God cares for the soul as well as the body, bringing the oppressed into a communion that the world can only pretend to create.
For the humanitarianism espoused by the world, while providing material provision for the body, sets at a distance the disadvantaged so as to maintain its own privilege and place. The kingdom of God offers bodily provision and relational integration into the community of believers as it calls the outcast its own in the spirit of Christ who was cast out and crucified for all.
The peace espoused by the world is a detached tolerance that leaves the oppressed marginalized by those greater than them. The peace espoused by the kingdom of God is an involved love that embraces as Christ embraced, making the least of us the greatest of us, the first last and the last first.
To the extent that we have not experienced the kingdom of God is to the extent that our Christianity has morphed into an empty ideology that deals in antipathies, delineating friends and foes, casting out some while privileging others. But our God is no respecter of persons, and His kingdom is not either. We are an empty body politic dealing in ideology, or we are the manifestation of the eternal kingdom of light shining upon the darkness and contradictions of the pretensions of this world.

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