Here’s Matt’s analysis of one portion of the book which really got me thinking about follower’s of Jesus, and our relationship towards our nation’s government:
At the end of the chapter, Boyd contrasts the two kingdoms. This was very helpful to me. Here are the points he makes:
- Trust: The kingdom of the world trusts in the sword, but the kingdom of God trusts in the power of the cross.
- Aims: The kingdom of the world seeks to control behavior, while the kingdom of God seeks to transform lives from the inside out.
- Scope: The kingdom of the world is “tribal” (i.e, each group seeks out and defends its own interest), while the kingdom of God is “universal.” (I’m sure its an accident that he used this word, but his use of the world suggests something very important to me – even if we aren’t all universalists from an ultimate-salvation standpoint, we should all be universalists in practice – that is, we should assume that God is seeking to redeem all people and love them as such).
- Responses: The kingdom of the world functions under the law of retribution – if you hurt me than I’ll get you back. But the kingdom of God seeks to turn the other cheek when it is wronged.
- Battles: The kingdom of the world sees its enemy as any group that isn’t part of my tribe/nation/political party. The kingdom of God, however, prays for its enemies, while fighting a spiritual battle against the forces that keep this world enslaved to sin.
I am SO INTERESTED in this line of thought, concerning the differences between God’s Kingdom and the “kingdoms” that people have created.
But what I have yet to see/hear is this: how is it possible to actually live like this?
What does it look like for me (us) to live in America yet to live in this way?
Can we actually expect that our government/military should NOT retaliate if we are attacked?
If they do decide to retaliate, how do we actively show our disagreement with that action?
And at that point, does breaking a law become OK, if we’re doing it to stand against our government’s retaliation?
What about our Judicial/Prison system? If it’s not truly redeeming/reforming people who have messed up, but instead is merely “payback” for what they’ve done, then should we as Christians be fighting for the whole system to be reformed?
I just don’t know, but I REALLY want to figure this out…