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at hand

Bloged in apprenticeship, church, culture by rod Tuesday July 6, 2004

Yesterday, I commented twice on this post. Both times I came back to the computer later to find that it “didn’t take”. So I thought this time I’d just bring it to my page and attempt a response post of my own.
Well, we certainly are pendulum riders. All of American Christendom seems to swing way in one direction as a correction to some perceived drift in the other direction. Finally our swing is sensed as a drift and we swing back. My favorite part is right there at the top of the swing where we actually cease movement and start back the other way - when the outside of your body heads back, but the inside hasn’t yet changed direction and one’s pancreas gently crashes into his belly button before it is shoved back into the direction of the rest of the body.
The two big phrases are, “he’s too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” or - “he’s too caught up in the day-to-day to think about eternity.” The interesting thing about these two positions is that those in them often are motivated by a less than right reason for being there. There seem to be two strange mindsets that are confused with “heavenly minded”. The first seems very focused on self. The world to come will mark the end of my troubles here. The second, and I know that this is a beaten and dead horse in my ranting, is to confuse being “heavenly minded” with the escape from fire. Those most passionately evangelical are often seen to be most focused on the next world, but in fact are fueled by fear. As King’s X so aptly put “scared of hell?” Hell must definitely be something to fear, of course, but in our fearful zeal to save people from eternal torment, we forget to point them to anything else. Most of our astounding testimonies deal with what God has saved us from rather than what He has brought us to. We snatch someone from the fire (or think we have) and then leave them, while we move on to snatch the next person.
So perhaps my response to the here and there dilemma is to be kingdom minded. May I say that most of us are either too heavenly minded to be any kingdom good, or too worldly minded to be any kingdom good?
Of course C.S. Lewis paraphrases the scripture when he says, “aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you will get neither.” Seek ye first…
But after the ellipsis lies the difference in our interpretation. Kingdom. And His righteousness. We interpret kingdom to mean the hereafter, because we can’t be righteous this side of heaven. But we can. Our righteousness is not of ourselves but Christ is our righteousness. We have Him NOW. And the kingdom? Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world, it is from another place. He didn’t say it IS another place.
So I’m assuming that I have citizenship with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities pertaining not only of some future land which will deliver me from this world, but of a kingdom here and now that causes me to live in this world quite differently than I would otherwise. It enables me to see things that are and things that are not yet, from quite a different perspective. It allows me to be unaffected by things that would otherwise destroy me, it allows me to affect others that might otherwise be destroyed. It allows me to affect people who have the same citizenship as I do, but haven’t yet moved to the kingdom.
Yo, the Kingdom is at hand.
After all, to live is Christ.

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