an alternative community

In so much Christian thought, tradition and theology, kingdom is a privatized affair, between the individual and God. This actually has its roots in an existentialist liberalism which tended to spiritualize and consequently glossed over the promises of God.

No, what kingdom entails, come in Jesus, is a community. An alternative community to the world. In the world and meant to impact it. But not of the world in the sense of having its derivation from it.

A kingdom in scripture always has a king and subjects, as well as land. In Jesus there is the kingdom of God come, the subjects–those in Jesus the King, flung all over the earth. Destined to inherit the earth. But living as the salt and light it is.

Often church is not seen like that at all. Or not enough. We see Christianity as more than less an individual affair between the person and God. Yes, it is an individual affair, but in Christ it also involves a community. And that community is to be in stark contrast with the world, indeed no less than an alternative community. Finding its identification and indeed its character only in Jesus. In the way of Jesus. Church is not just a way to get what help we need so we can do well in Jesus in our separate ways in the world. It is much more than that.

In the United States we might be well served in the political system to have a third party, as a friend of mine believes. But what we need far more is an alternative community, living out a body politic that is both in and for the world, but is not from the world. And will always be up against forces in the world, in Christian terms the flesh and the devil.

Until we arrive at this, the church loses much of what it is, because it is not living that out. And the world loses. Yes, hopefully we can impact the world with what has been called the politics of witness. We witness to an alternative which neither the vision of the Republican nor Democratic parties here in the United States can touch. A vision real to be lived out and fulfilled only in Jesus. A witness to and for the world of a kingdom destined to take over a judged and renewed earth, in and through Jesus.