Christians Response to America
If America is not indeed a Christian Nation then how do we respond to it? This has been a question that I have been wondering and still to this day wonder. I think there are two Kingdoms that are represented here that give us a response to America. Lets look at the idea of a Kingdom, then at what we can do with this Kingdomship.
First, this idea of the Kingdom.
There are two kinds of Kingdoms that are available for citizenship. The “Upper” and “Lower” Kingdoms. Greg Boyd in his book The myth of a Christian Nation talks extensively on this. I will give you what I got from it, a response I guess you could say.
The upper kingdom represents America, the way of America, and the Kingdom that we can fall into.
The lower kingdom represents Jesus, the way of Jesus, and the Kingdom that is hard to be a part of.
Jesus came to represent the lower Kingdom, the one that does the opposite of what a dictator or King would do. The King of the Jews coming to not set up a Kingdom of this world, but to set up a Kingdom that will last forever.
The upper Kingdom represents the worlds kingdom, the temporal type of Kingdom that last for one or two generations. Basically, it subscribes the the very typical way of gaining power of rulership over selected groups of people through government, power, and fear. Jesus was thought to establish this type of Kingdom. Even his closest followers up to His death on the cross thought this was the way that Jesus was going to set up his Kingdom. Look at what John 18:36 says and then look at what James and John asked in Mark 10:32 and on (really before this talks about Jesus Kingdom as well). They wanted to be in power, a part of the Kingdom that they thought Jesus was going to be establishing on this earth. Good place to be if it was an earthly Kingdom. But Jesus suprised everyone when he died on the cross, the worst way to die, the ultimate sign of weakness and humiliation. So embarressed the discisples ran, peter denied him, and Thomas doubted him. And thankfully the story doesn’t end there. Jesus rises from the grave and defeats death and sets in motion a Kingdom that is not of this world. Philippians 2 speaks to the kingdom that Jesus was apart of and the example He showed all. This was the lower Kingdom, one that considered the least the greatest, one that turned the cheek when struck, one that showed love to all, one that did not respond with anger and fitting when put on trial, and one that was a servant leader giving Himself up.
The Upper Kingdom looks a little different. Though it is powerful and makes sense on a lot of basis, it is one that is limited to this world. It does make sense to be apart of this Kingdom because it looks safe, it looks plentiful and it is the in place to be. In most churches this Upper Kingdom is represented. Like my dad likes to call it, “the good ole boys.” This Kingdom will do anything to protect themselves. They see that power equals influence, and so they protect power with thier lives. They use fear to get where they need to be and what they want. The upper Kingdom looks good on the outside but dirty on the inside (Matthew 23:26). The upper Kingdom represents any Kingdom that is off this world.
I will stop with that, Greg Boyd does a much better job of playing these two Kingdoms out, but I will ask the question. Which Kingdom do you want to be apart of? Now I know the obvious answer is the lower Kingdom. That was my choice too, but I started to think about what this implies and means for me. It means that I turn the other cheek, that I love my enemies, that I don’t respond with anger, that the troubles of this world (economy, war, taxes, etc…) are not my concern because I do not belong to this Kingdom. It puts a lot of things in perspective for myself and I hope it does for you as well.
I am not on a rant against America and Christians here, I am simple telling you the journey that I have been on for the last several months and my response to America.
What is your response? What Kingdom do you belong to?