The Kingdom of God is US – Each and All!

“In the phrase, “The Kingdom is among you,” the word “you’ is plural! The Kingdom is among all of you, among us, where two or three are gathered together ” – Matthew Fox at the second Christ Path Seminar

So Jesus was shaking up both the political and religious institutions of his day with this idea of the Kingdom of God. But what does that mean for us today, here and now, in the 21st century?

Now the essence of the Kingdom, Chilton says, is based on the community’s acceptance of the poor, the hungry, the bereaved, and the shunned. The Kingdom of God is in your midst, and he points out that this is so important, that in the phrase, “The Kingdom is among you,” the word “you’ is plural! (In Greek, hymon). The Kingdom is among all of you, among us, where two or three are gathered together. And of course that is taken from the Wisdom literature, that is Wisdom that shows up, Shekhinah, where two or three are gathered together.

But there’s been a tendency in the West to clean up, make more comfortable, this teaching, and so some people always want to stress “Oh, the Kingdom of God is within me.” Well, yes, it’s within us, but it’s us, more than just you and I as individuals.

Jesus thought in terms of community. Jews have always thought in terms of community. There’s a shadow side to that, of course, because it can tap into tribalism. And there’s a difference between tribalism and tribe. Tribe is a neat thing. You laugh together, share jokes together, play with language together, all those neat things you do in family and in tribe.

But when Tribe gets spelled with a capital T, when Tribe becomes an idol, we’re in trouble, because tribalism can be extremely fierce, and want to go to war with every other’s tribe. So again, Jesus was dancing that dance between tribalism and tribe. But always he comes back, “The Kingdom of God is within you, among you” – plural.

So it is community that is meant to bring about the Kingdom. And this is one more proof that the Kingdom of God is not about your getting to Heaven and crawling over everyone you can to get there. It’s not about that. It’s about bringing something into birth.

“In all Jesus’ teachings,” says Chilton, “no single concept is more important, more central, more resonant than the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God figures as a vital concept within the Scriptures of Israel.”

It is the fundamental energy behind all that is, the King of the Universe, you see. This taps into the whole idea of the Creator God, the Cosmic God, that’s holding the universe together within the order of justice. And that’s why bringing about the Kingdom is bringing about justice, because without justice the Kingdom is not sustainable.

So the first job of the King in Israel is justice, including eco-justice. I love to tell the story about how in Celtic Ireland in the ancient days, when the king was anointed he took a marriage vow to Mother Earth. His job was to preserve Mother Earth, because that’s the only way he could preserve the community. The community needs Mother Earth, especially in a place like Ireland – or Israel – where the soil is so shallow. So there’s a direct connection between God the Creator, and the Kingdom, and justice.

Jesus knew that! He saw it in the peasant farms where he grew up. He knew how much he had to be in love with the Earth to preserve the Earth and to get the results each season. Every small farmer knows that. There’s a relationship going on here, and it is about justice.

And that’s why the Jewish Bible talks about the Sabbath, letting the Earth rest once a week, letting the Earth and the animals rest a whole year, every seven years, with a Jubilee every 49 years to let everything rest and start your economics all over again.

So these are just a few examples of the teachings of Jesus as revolutionary, prophetic, at the edge. This is who Jesus is. Trying to sentimentalize him, turning him into Little Bo Peep, it’s an insult! Where is our outrage about that? If Jesus could get outraged about the religion of his day, why are we sleeping and becoming couch potatoes married to television instead of shaking things up?

Borg says, “Compassion for Jesus was political. He called for a politics of compassion.” Compassion is political, because it’s about justice in the Hebrew tradition. And justice is always political, because injustice is the fruit of egoistic politics, and it always needs shaking up.

It needs shaking up in our time especially, because the days are running out on us. The Earth is trying to tell us that it can’t endure this abuse much longer.

I believe the young are receiving special visions from Mother Earth today. They’re not visions about how to save the Church. They’re bigger than that. They’re visions about – to use the language I’ve been using here – about the Kingdom.

And you know, the Kingdom’s not the same thing as the Church. The Kingdom is where justice is happening, where compassion is happening, so it’s a verb. And Jesus is our inspiration.

But he’s left it to us, each of us individually, and all of us together, to get the job done.

How are we doing in taking up that challenge today?

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About Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox – author, educator, activist, and spiritual pioneer – has spent the past 40 years doing the culture-changing work to lay the foundation for the values of a new generation. As today’s leading voice of the ancient mystical Christian tradition of creation spirituality, he has helped to midwife the birth of a movement that celebrates embodied spiritual practice, oneness with creation, personal awareness, educational empowerment, and social, environmental, and gender justice.

  • Sherry McCameron Peyton

    Thank you for your posts. They are part of my spiritual health and I do love them. Since I’m new, I may have missed the references to the books involved by both Borg and Chilton. Which books specifically are referenced in the posts? I’d of course like to acquire and read them. Thank you and Blessings!

    • ChristPathSeminar

      Thank you for your response, Sherry! The books referenced are Borg’s
      “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” and Chilton’s “Rabbi Jesus.”
      They’re both available on the Christ Path Seminar Bookstore
      -http://www.christpathseminar.org/bookstore/ – in the category “Cosmic
      Christ and the Historical Jesus.” Enjoy!

      • Sherry McCameron Peyton

        Thank you so very much.

        • ChristPathSeminar

          You’re more than welcome!

  • John Musgrove

    I am reading Passion for Creation,
    Meister Eckhart sermon nine and your commentary on the nearness of the kingdom.
    The teaching gives insight on the vastness of the kingdom of God that expands
    the kingdom beyond our comprehension, and our need to be aware of its nearness.
    “For the kingdom of God is God himself and all his wealth”.

  • TehGoldenRule

    I love this article. Thank you!

    The Earth is perfect, with all of its hardships, and all of its blessings, and man and woman’s endeavors to subdue it, and nourish it, and love it.

    The animals are perfect, with all of their strengths, and their weaknesses, and man an woman’s endeavors to subdue them, and nourish them, and love them.

    Jesus did away with tribalism if one hears correctly. How can one look at another who is peaceful and loving and see condemnation, merely because of their beliefs alone? Aren’t only our words and our actions judged? Jesus said no one is good but God alone, but surely we each know good people, and isn’t what makes them good their words and their deeds, that these good things are done in the Spirit and presence of God?

    Ask anyone in the world two questions:

    Do you prefer to be told the truth or to be told lies?
    Do you prefer that people do things to you either with or without your agreement?

    Everyone on Earth answers the two questions the same way.

    Jesus Christ was at a well and a Samaritan woman asks him for living water, of which Jesus said that everyone who shall drink of the waters that I will give him shall not thirst for eternity, but those waters that I give him shall be springs of waters in him that shall spring up into eternal life. She asks because she does not take, but instead seeks agreement, and he agrees to give it to her. He tries to get her to lie which she does not, instead telling him the truth. He said she answered well. He gave her TRUTH AND AGREEMENT, living water, the Kingdom of God.

    Before your words you have two choices and before your actions you have two more. When you speak you can either speak the truth or speak lies and when you do things that affect other people you can either seek their agreement or not seek their agreement at all.

    Jesus Christ said that whenever anyone speaks the truth it is done in the Spirit and presence of God (John 3:21). He said that when anyone gets together with other people and decides to do whatever together, affecting no one else that did not agree, it is done in the Spirit and presence of God (Matthew 18:19).

    We all love truth and agreement to be done to us. Truth and agreement are the Spirit of God, The Spirit of Truth, the Kingdom of God, the Tree of Life, the Divine Spark, The Golden Rule, and Objective Morality. Do unto others as you would have done unto you so do unto others truth and agreement.

    There is only 1 true God. 5 things: truth in words, agreement in actions, help those in need when and where you can, be humble you are not better than anyone else, and forgiveness. Expressed as 3 things: Love, Truth, and Agreement. Judge not on the appearance but rather judge righteous judgement; lying and not-seeking-agreement are judged.

    And when Jesus kicked the money changers out of the temple, surely they wouldn’t of agreed to it, but the agreement was that the temple is a place of God, not of money and power, so he kicked them out, righteously. Seek the root agreement.

    No one likes a hypocrite, and because you love truth and agreement to be done to you, do it for other people also. This core hypocrisy is sinful.

    No one likes false righteousness, and because many think there is condemnation of others for their beliefs, yet they harm no one with beliefs alone, they do it without cause.

    No one likes it when others judge them about things that they do that affect no one else, but everyone righteously judges lying and those who trespass against them, who do things to them that they don’t agree to.

    The Spirit of Truth is not a person. The Gospels are to be interpreted with love, not hate or fear, with truth, not lies. Words and actions define a person, not beliefs, and God sees this. Beliefs are things that can’t be proven, so they are just beliefs, but the Kingdom of God is true and not a belief, because you can ask yourself the two questions and you will answer the same way as everyone else, including men and women, those who are religious and those who are not, all races and nationalities, heterosexuals and homosexuals. The answers to the two questions have been the same since the beginning of time and will be the same until the end of time, just as the groups of this world have been the same since the beginning of time and will be the same until the end of time. If you make war with them you make war with God, and if you don’t acknowledge that they also do Love, Truth, and Agreement, and that it is done in the Spirit and presence of God, then you speak against the Holy Ghost, and need to repent.

    Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to God but by me”. And he meant it. The way is agreement, the truth is the truth, and the life are the results. And a goal reached as the result of truth and agreement is a goal built on a rock, but the goal reached as a result of lying and not seeking agreement is a goal built on sand. When the winds and the rains come the goal built on a rock withstands and lives, but the goal built on sand withers and dies. Jesus’ person did Love, Truth, and Agreement since he came to us and until he left us. Jesus’ Spirit, being the Spirit of God, is Love, Truth, and Agreement, and no one comes to God but by the Spirit of God. When an atheist speaks the truth and does agreement it is done in the Spirit and presence of God.

    Jesus Christ is a person with a soul who was born of God. He did Love, Truth, and Agreement his whole life. He prayed to God many times while he was here on Earth. We are spiritual beings who are to be born again. Jesus Christ the person is coming back, and he is the Messiah. You will know him by his words and by his actions, not by how he looks, and not any other way. Anyone who brings war to those at peace is not of God. Do Love, Truth, and Agreement, judge lying and not seeking agreement.


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