Separating Kingdom and Culture

This past weekend I was doing some teaching on the Kingdom of God with some students and at the end of the final session we began to discuss what marks the lifestyle of a member of the kingdom of God.

What was interesting was initially how hard it was to see that the lifestyle we live ‘by default’ might not actually reflect the values that Jesus taught about. Suddenly eyes began to open about generosity, hospitality, community, possessions, pace of life, forgiveness and that these are marks of the kingdom and that these are increasingly absent from contemporary culture.

It made me think about the rich young man who turned down an opportunity to follow Jesus, to become a member of his band of disciples because he had a great number of possessions and they in turn had him. It’s a sign of our compromise to materialism that we always comment that it’s the attitude that counts, allowing us to breath a sigh of relief because we always tell ourselves, like the unconvinced alcoholic or smoker that we could give up if we had to. But actually we can’t give up, we’re hooked, we have stuff but our stuff has us. The only way to find out if we’re hooked or not, is to start giving things up ….

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