The more and more I immerse myself in the radical scandalous redemptive mystery of the gospels the more I come to realize it is a mysterious journey of discovery. It is not a journey into which we embed ourselves into " church-life ", but into which we immerse ourselves into every moment of life. With nothing more than the offer of come " Follow me ", the disciples dropped everything and walked with Jesus into life.
Jesus cuts us loose outside all borders, boundaries, and barriers...outside of our constructed comfort zones. It is here we come to discover that the Kingdom of God is an uncivilzed place. The church's struggle to make itself " culturally relevant " continues to tangle itself up in a so called civilized world. There is no redemption in cultural relevance. What we need is a wild radical scandalous...uncivilized guide. We need to recognize Jesus walking toward us, beckoning us " to follow " him into the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not a low risk, blue chip investment created by the brokers of religion for consumption, to make life better...or for retirement in some eternal resort. It can't be calmly considered, and casually digested. God's Kingdom can not be domesticated, it can't be franchised and placed along side the other proprietors of religious goods. It's leader, Jesus can't be restrained, leashed and muzzled from his continuous challenge of our selfish way of life.
We have North Americanized Jesus, making him a Spiritual Guru selling the american dream. He comes rather tamely, in a three piece suit, or as cool hipster...to tidy up a few bad habits, make us better people, more prosperous, more cool...sending us back into the world grateful for the self-help. It seems the North American Jesus leads us every where except into the Kingdom of God. It's interesting that we have success at fitting " christianity " into our culture...but trying to fit the Kingdom into the world is like trying to hammer a square peg into our hole.
The reality is I think we've all caught glimpses of the Kingdom. It surprises us because often it is outside our comfort zones, beyond the barbed wire, the warning tape, the black and white lines we've etched our theologies. Often we are left unsettled, and have a difficult time understanding what we've found. But in our hearts we know we've discovered something so radical, so scandalously redemptive that it shatters our routine way of living.
It is like the man who has discovered a treasure in the midst of the brokenness of life. His shovel digs into the pavement of life and strikes something solid, glittering...it mezzmerizes him. He will sell out everything, sell out his old life to have this treasure.
There is nothing wrong with church, but often we're in danger of going to church, reading the bible, singing songs, saying prayers, doing good deeds, being baptized, having communion...that we risk not making the great discovery. Maybe, we have to leave the church to be startled by discovery, to hear the clink of the blade of the shovel against the glittering treasure. But, if you've made the discovery. Now the stakes are higher for you. Because, it's redemptive beauty will haunt you...you know it's worth, and you know it's power to transform everything it touches. Our lives, our imaginations will be ignited by the Kingdom of God.