Sunday, May 28, 2006
Sunday Meditation: Marcus Borg
The following quotes are from The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus J. Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University.
The Bible is political as well as personal. It contains sharp political criticism and passionate political advocacy: radical criticism of systems of domination and impassioned advocacy of an alternative social vision. Protesting the nightmare of injustice, its central voices proclaim God's dream of justice, a dream for the earth. Criticism and advocacy are grounded in their understanding of the character and passion of God: a God of love and justice whose passion for our life together is the Kingdom of God.
The claim that the Bible is political and that the God of the Bible is passionate about justice is surprising, even startling, to many Christians. We have often overlooked it; and when it is pointed out, we often resist seeing it. . . .
One reason is the long period of time during which Christianity was the religion of the dominant culture. It began with the Roman emperor Constantine's embrace of Christianity in the fourth century and lasted until recently. During these centuries the "powers that be" were Christian. So long as the wedding of Christianity and dominant culture continued, Christians seldom engaged in radical criticism of the social order. Instead, personal salvation in the hereafter was the primary message, an emphasis that continues to this day in many parts of the church. This emphasis incidentally (or not so incidentally) mutes the political voices of the Bible, thereby domesticating its political passion. . . .
So what is the political meaning of the Kingdom of God? In a sentence: it is what life would be like on earth if God were king and the rulers of the world were not. The Kingdom of God is about God's justice in contrast to the systemic injustice of the kingdoms and domination systems of this world.
Significantly, the Kingdom of God for Jesus was something for the earth. . . .the Kingdom of God is not about heaven; it is for the earth. . . .
To cite one of John Dominic Crossan's memorable serious quips: "Heaven's in great shape; earth is where the problems are."
(from chapter seven, The Kingdom of God--The Heart of Justice, pages 126, 127, 132-133.)