Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Marcus Borg, The heart of Christianity, The Kingdom of God

Marcus Borg, The heart of Christianity, The Kingdom of God

Continuing my random thoughts and summary...

This chapter 'The Kingdom of God' has a strong emphasis on Justice. Many authors have written about this lately. Those which I have read are Brian Mclaren and Tom Wright. For me it was a massive shift when the Kingdom of God was associated with 'Signs and Wonders' to an abnormal degree, when I was in the Vineyard.

Borg writes for of reasons justice has not been emphasised because::

  1. Christianity been the dominant religion for so long meant the political message of the Kingdom became mute.
  2. 'God's Justice' has been misunderstood. "Theolgically it is seen as the opposite of "God's mercy", "God's Justice" is understood as God's deserved punishment for us for our sins, "God's mercy" as God's loving forgiveness of us in spite of our guilt. Given this choice, we would prefer God;s mecy and hope to escape God's justice. But seeing the opposite of the jusice as mecy distorts what the Bible means by justice.
  3. Borg mentions the US but I think most western countrys there is an ethos of individualism where people are 'self-made. To the detriment of 'Social Systems' which may have grave errors in them.

Borg gives an overview of God's passion in the Bible

Hebrew Bible:: Justice goes back to the begining, Prophets where often against suffering

New Testement:: 'Kingdom of God' was the message and passion of Jesus. It has many meanings

  • Kingdom of God is political, specifically for the time Jesus said these words
  • Kingdoms where a real part of life 2000 years ago, most lived in Herods Kingdom, Ceasers Kingdom Jesus spoke of Kingdom of God. Kingdom of God was a theo-political metaphor.
  • Kingdom of God:: Living on earth as if God was King and current rulers where not (I like this!)
  • Kingdom of God was also somthing for the earth, and what was happening on earth. Not about heaven as often been assumed. Borg writes 'Among the reasons is a linguistic decision made by the author of Mathew. He freferred to avioid using the word 'God', presumable for reverential reasons. (Not sure this is a stong argument).
::Jesus is Lord:: Many of names for Jesus where taken directly from names for Ceasar. 'Jesus is Lord' was a direct challenge to Ceasar.

::Christians had a very negative view of the current kingdom 2000 years ago, can be seen very well with Revelations.

::The Cross, not only does it reveal a path to personal transformation also it also afirms Jesus vision of the Kingdom on earth and against ingrained stuctural issues in society.

Meaning for us now

::The message of the Kingodm of 2000 years ago is the same as today, we should rail against corrupt and poor systems.

::The Church has a role in making aware of poor governmental systems.

Borg's conclusion was somthing which I thought made good sense::

Conservatives has overemphasised person transformation over the message of the Kingdom. Liberals have been the opposite, emphasising social transformation without the Spiritual transformation. "What we see in Jesus and the Bible answers our deepest personal longing, to be born again, and the world's greatest need the Kingdom of God. "



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