Lessons on Kingdom from Brian McLaren…
I took a trip into Glasgow last night to hear Brian McLaren speak at Strathclyde university. His writing has been hugely influential on my spiritual life and my understandings of faith, and so I felt a bit like a groupie!
I went with a couple of friends from Dunoon, Simon and Ali, and had a chance to meet up with a couple of on-line buddies too- Stewart and Thomas. In fact, the picture above is Stewart’s- who had the technology (royalty check in t’post!)
It was a great night. Finished off by a lovely drive home over the Rest and be Thankful pass under a clear starry sky. Oh and a good take-away in Balloch…
Brian McLaren was profound in what he said- and although not much of it was new to me, the words were like food to the soul. Lots of people seem to have this experience of listening to him almost telling their story- allowing them to ask questions, and permitting them to start a new journey with God. I am reluctant to build him up with labels that will later become millstones around his neck, but he has something of the Apostle about him that is not taken, but rests as a result of who he is.
Yesterday is a case in point- it was not just what he said, but the way he said it. There was a kindness to his words- a respect for all things, but always a gentle invitation for as all to aim for something better.
Highlights? For me there were many. He got into a lot of discussion about the Kingdom of God- and old theme for me, which has been the subject of much discussion in our housegroup. We had previously playfully tried to find new names for the Kingdom of God, and I was delighted to see McLaren taking this to a whole new level.
The suggestion is, that Jesus was using the term ‘Kingdom of God’ as a way to engage with the people of his time in words they would understand. If he was here today- he would do the same, but would not necessarily use the same words.
‘Kingdom’ today ( suggested McLaren) is a word that has lost it’s potency- it is embedded in an ancient understanding of power and authority. What Jesus was doing was suggesting that there was a new way of doing Kingdom.
He then went on to list a whole series of words that Jesus might use if he was here today (Stewart gives a list of these on his blog- The Dream of God, The Peace Revolution of God, The Mission of God, The Party of God, Network of God, Ecosystem of God, God’s New Planet, Beloved Community, God’s Economy, The democracy of God.)
But there were two that I really liked.
The dance of God
The idea that we learn to take part in a dance, in which we are part of an interrelated, dependent cycle of life and love- moving in response to divine music…
And perhaps most of all, I liked
The non-terror cell of God, or The insurgency of God
These seemed redolent with an idea that has been buzzing about my head for a while about a subversive group of Christians modeled loosely on the underground railway- I’ll post it soon I reckon.