War and Peace Pt. 3

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Wont waiste anytime talking, lets begin…

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?

*Kyle

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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • http://joshuaobserves.wordpress.com Joshua Long

    Who is your brother? Who is your sister?
    You just walked past him. I think you missed her,
    As we’re all migrating to a place where our father lives
    Because we married into a family of emigrants.
    So my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
    My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood.
    It’s to a king and kingdom.
    There are two great lies that I’ve heard.
    The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die.
    And that Jesus Christ was a white middle class republican
    And if you want to be saved you have to learn to be like him.
    So my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or to a man.
    My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
    It’s to a king and a kingdom.
    But nothing unifies like a common enemy
    And we’ve got one, sure as hell.
    He may be living in your house.
    He may be raising up your kids.
    He may be sleeping with your wife.
    He may not look like you think.

    –Derek Webb

  • brennanloveless

    Kyle, I hear what you’re saying, and like i said yesterday, respect for being honest and sharing with where you’ve been. Like O said yesterday, some of the reasoning you have is vague so it’s hard to see where you’re coming from with everything.
    my initial response to this post is that i hear you saying that because we don’t ultimately belong to this world (Kingdom) then we shouldn’t be concerned for the well being of our country. We should serve “the least of these” but Paul also writes in his epistles to respect those in authority above you. Jesus said a couple of things like that as well.
    to me, your logic follows that the gov’t is like “Big Brother” as in the novel 1984…where there are tons of instances, politicians, laws, taxes, etc… there is still a call to not “abandon the ship.” I really don’t think that that is what you are getting at but there’s a couple of sentences/paragraphs/whatever that can be construed as such.

  • kylereed

    Brennan
    I agree with you in the fact of what Paul said about respect towards authority. I guess I should have talked about this a little more (brevity sake) but I am not saying that we should disown our government or not support our country. The main thing is that we should not put our allegiance in the government. I think that we often put our hope in what the government can do for Christianity. I am not abandoning the ship, but I am asking what the ship represents, if that makes sense. I want to make sure that the separation of church and state or America is happening. I still pay my taxes, I still uphold the laws, and I give to Caesar what is Caesers. I just think the issue here is that the lines are being blurred bewteen America and Christianity and I don’t see this in the Bible.

  • O

    Kyle,

    You should come hang out this weekend. We’ll drink some beers and pee on Landan when he passes out. As for the post, did I hear you say you “want to make sure that the separation of church and state in America is happening?” I said before that I pretty much agree with your overarching theme here (that America and Christianity are not one and the same), but I don’t think you really understand what you’re asking for here. Sure America is not synonymous with Christianity, but is it wrong for a nation to have a religious preference? I think every nation you look at has a religion they base much of their decision making on…be it Communism, Islam or Taoism. To have a country without a religious foundation is a dangerous thing. This is when decisions are made based on money, power, and lust without regard for the moral foundation and future perspective that religion brings. The more seperated our country has become in regards to religion the worse thigns have gotten (in my opinion). Again I say: I do not believe America will be in existence 100 years from now. Wrap your head around that sucka!

  • http://www.kylereed189.wordpress.com Kyle

    As much as I would love to take you up on that offer David, I can’t. I am planning on something in April or maybe March. Pretty busy each weekend of February and March. But we will see.
    I see what you are saying on the whole issue of morality and that if we separate from a religious belief all hell will break loose. But I do feel that these lines are becoming to blurred. If we truly believed in religious freedom then we would not have a religious preference. Now I know that it is impossible for this to not happen. People will believe and act on what they follow or believe. But I wonder sometimes, would we be okay with someone who is say a Hindu or a Muslim as our leader or governor? Probably not. That was one thing that people said about Obama, was that he was Muslim. I think it can be dangerous if we go into leading with no morality. Naturally it is impossible to suspend any belief. We are governed by what we believe (look at pro-life and pro-choice). What concerns me is that people are making decisions based on money, power, and lust and are still claiming Christianity on other things. I just don’t think it is right to force others to follow what you believe. This is a really tough one, and I still do not know exactly what i believe or think about this. I see both sides, I just feel like at times we use Government to spread Christianity (in schools and public life) to govern others. Jesus was pretty clear that people would reject him and his ways and that it was not for everyone (let him who has ears, let him hear).

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around no America, good thing I will be dead.

  • http://joshuaobserves.wordpress.com Joshua Long

    Our country will not become better by the government deciding to be more Christian. Separation of church and state is almost THE founding principle of this great nation. Certainly we want to see Americans being more like Christ, but government will not get us there. The only way our nation will better represent the values of Christ is if Americans as individuals begin following Christ. You can’t legislate morality. You can try to punish those whom are behaving in a destructive way but laws and policies do not drive a person’s choice to follow Christ or not.

  • O

    I agree with you Josh. You addressed our nations’ (and churches’) big problem (well, among many others)-complete individualism. It’s all about the individual, it’s all about the singular, the subject. I agree you can’t legislate morality, but that has nothing to do with a community, or nation, of believers. I don’t see anything anti-Biblical about a government (group of chosen leaders) being the religious leaders of a country. With the Lord Messiah (Obama) “spreading the wealth” and putting more and more power into the governments’ hands, it wouldn’t hurt if they themselves were Christ-followers.

  • O

    Oh and Kyle, you might be dead, but we are f’in our kids futures up more and more everyday. Be it the global economy, our planet, or our religion; we’re screwing them all up royally.

  • http://joshuaobserves.wordpress.com Joshua Long

    Hey O,

    Thanks for the followup comment. I agree that it would be great if our leaders were believers. The only way to get godly leaders is for God to do such a work in our nation that there are so many believers that want to vote for godly leaders. It is a tough spot to be in this system. Do you vote for the most spiritual person or the best leader? Should I vote for someone just because they are a believer? It leads to a lot of soul searching doesn’t it?

  • Andy Unnerstall

    I just wanted to bring up the point that many times when “Christians’ were in charge of governments were some of the most violent times in history. By this, I am referring specifically to the Crusades and the Inquisition. Events like these are the exact reason that our founding fathers set up the government in such a way as to include a freedom of religion. I will certainly agree that having genuine, Bible-believing (and following) Christians in government would be the best thing we could have. I just think history has shown that those desiring power will use whatever label they need to get them there, and that doesn’t guarantee that they are what they say they are.

    As for the dangers of an actual theocracy, we need only look to Iran.

  • kylereed

    Just look at what the disciples thought Jesus was going to do. Establish “the way” as the actual way of government and set up a kingdom of the world. Christianity does not equal America. If we had a perfect person, a perfect Christian running America things would be different, but we don’t. Jesus was the only one that could do this and he chose to take the path of the upper Kingdom, not the earthly Kingdom.
    Look to Jesus in the dessert and the temptation of taking over the world, he chose a different way to bring reform and peace, through death.