Monday, March 06, 2006


I read an article on today that was an exerpt from Brian McLaren's newest book. He was discussing new phrasing, new translations for the Biblical phrase "The Kingdom of God." Here's a brief quote:
The revolution of God. For people like Martin Luther King Jr., attuned to fighting injustice, corruption, oppression, racism, and other forms of social evil, the “revolution” or “revolutionary movement” of God naturally flows from the metaphor of the dream of God for creation.

This metaphor claims that we human beings have created a totalitarian regime—a regime of lust (where too many people are reduced to sex objects or hyped into sexual predators), a regime of pride and power (where some thrive at the expense or to the exclusion of others), a regime of racism, classism, ageism, and nationalism (where people are identified as enemies or evil or inferior because of the color of their skin or the physical or social location of their birth), a regime of consumerism and greed (where life is commodified, where people become slaves to their jobs, where the environment is reduced to natural resources for human consumption, where time is money, which makes life become money). This regime is unacceptable, and God is recruiting people to join a revolutionary movement of change.

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.



Anonymous Anthony said...

I like "Dream of God" the best. Consider: "I have a dream!" (MLK) The biggest drawback is that, generally, dreams are seen as unattainable.

In corporate language, "dream" equals "vision", which requires "buy-in" or "entering the Kingdom of God". Jesus speaks a lot about entering the Kingdom, i.e. catching the dream.

A Dream Like Mine
by Bruce Cockburn


When you've got a dream like mine
Nobody can take you down
When you've got a dream like mine
Nobody can push you around

Today I dream of how it used to be
Things were different before
The picture shifts to how it's going to be
Balance restored

When you know even for a moment
That it's your time
Then you can walk with the power
Of a thousand generations


Beautiful rocks -- beautiful grass
Beautiful soil where they both combine
Beautiful river -- covering sky
Never thought of possession, but all this was mine

When you know even for a moment
That it's your time
Then you can walk with the power
Of a thousand generations


12:43 p.m.  
Anonymous Daniel Zylstra said...

Hmmm. I think that the metaphor of the "revolution" misses out on the "state of being" thing inherent in the idea of the Kingdom of God/heaven as Jesus describes it. When he talks of the kingdom it is not involves the people (who are citizens of the kingdom) but is the in-breaking of the Word (Jesus, the Incarnation of the Word) into human history--an act that has been done, is being done, and will be done. It is an omnipresent historical/eschatological reality in which we are involved.

To call the Kingdom of God a "revolution" seems to me to turn the idea of the Kingdom into a mere movement, but it is so much more than that...

9:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at iawah we use the "family of God" the idea of belonging to something, to be accepted.

Something I've been wondering about, and was reminded of it again as I read the end of the article, is this... I wonder if too much of the emphasis in the emerging church is on the arts community. It's true it's likely trying to balance years of neglect, however, it seems to be creating a new religious elite. Especially as the majority of people in Canada are actually working stiffs, who think artsy stuff is a bit weird.

11:26 a.m.  
Blogger Dave.B. said...

I've got some smart folks reading this thing. I like what you've each said.
Todd, I would agree with you regarding the arts/elite idea, to a degree. The pendulum has certainly swung a bit too far for some, but I think it will balance out, as you've said.
In many ways, the emerging church movement has been focused on breaking down the walls that have been built around the former religious elite, so I would agree that it would be a tragedy if a new elitism takes root.

12:43 p.m.  

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