War: Knowing the Difference Between the Kingdom and the World

War: Knowing the Difference Between the Kingdom and the World January 3, 2020
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

I saw a post today. And I felt compelled to respond. Normally, I wouldn’t, because the shenanigans of politics, and especially the discussions about war, are always circular and lack reason. I would much rather stare at cow pies in the field. I mean, if I am going to listen to shit, I might as well get all the senses involved—smell it, see it…I don’t need to touch it, though. That is not to say the sentiment itself is shit.

The creator of the sentiment is Eric Nevins. He is the host of Halfway There podcast and a contributive director for Religion and Spirituality for Podcast Magazine. He tackles big ideas and asks thought-provoking questions. He tends to stir the pot just a smidgen, and that is why I appreciate his view. Nonetheless, it was a compelling statement. Here it is: 

 The Kingdom of God does not equal the government of the United States. Need an example? The execution of Gen. Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad’s airport yesterday. The US had an interest in killing him due to his actions against them. The Kingdom of God only had an interest in repentance for the general. See the difference?

Perhaps I am alone in this way of thinking, but haven’t we always known the difference?

Do we not know the difference between the Kingdom and the world? Have we not had advocates sent to us to remind us that the Kingdom is nothing like the world? That the rule of God resembles nothing close to the law of man? I know that I am still immature in my developmental understanding of biblical interpretation, but, as cliché as it sounds, I thought, least of all, the Bible was straight-forward on the distinction of the two realms.

If I were so bold, I would submit that we (the collective “we”) knowingly voted for these tactics of war, did we not? I believe that no matter which party you vote for, your ballot endorses war. A vote for the ruling authority is a vote for their choice to be deemed “the people’s choice.” 

I am not interested in convincing you to stop voting, nor am I interested in hearing you respond with justifications about why voting is not an endorsement for war. What does tickle my fancy is the surprise and reactionary angst that comes as a result of another declaration or possible declaration. Especially since 15 minutes ago, everyone was going bat-shit crazy about the impeachment proceedings. It does demonstrate how completely and easily distracted we all can be. 

The point is, we’ve been at war since the beginning of time. Humanity has always found a way to wage war against a perceived enemy. There truly is nothing new under the sun. Sure, we can sit here and act like the United States is some big, evil enemy and that we should be ashamed of what our country represents. But, despite the immaturity of the United States, every nation, territory, empire, or sovereign state of a rule will always be at war to protect property and profits. It’s not as if this country’s authority is the only monster on the planet. Let’s stop pretending it is. It’s ignorant to believe otherwise, in my opinion. 

We won’t solve the threat of war with the methods of politics, ever. Politics is the antipodes of mercy and grace. Kingdom practices do not rely on worldly fallacies of “justice” and “civility.” There are some astonishing mental and logical acrobatic practices (and buzzwords and rhetoric) that can be used to excuse our love affair with politics, but I see through all of that. We want to filter our politics through a Jesus funnel and present it as wholly Kingdom, but that’s just the silliness of our attachment to ways in which we identify ourselves. We aren’t political creatures. We are spiritual, erotic creatures. 

Incorporating the Kingdom and the world is a bold move, but in practicality, until we let go of the need for duality, there cannot be that kind of integration—not yet. We have much growing to do before we expect that our weightless words of protest of war will be audible enough that someone hears us.

Instead, we can ask how we can end the wars that we have going on in our own lives, in our minds and our heads. Until we have settled the situations of our own homes, we have no authority nor any business trying to resolve the affairs of the world. Where is our credibility or experience— if we have yet to figure out how to keep our shit together?

What this means is that we see the war as a gift. So that we can identify the battles in our own lives that need focus first before we distract ourselves with worldly repetitions of the perpetual phallic protections. 

This form of #complaintculture and #competeculture methodology is going to be the significant impetus we face that threatens our attempts of true peace through grace and mercy. This need to proclaim utter disapproval and dismay for the country, its actions, and its leaders is redundant and resolves nothing. 

I wouldn’t know what call to make if I were in the shoes of those who do make the call. I have no idea what kind of weight that would be. But I know that most people are just doing the best they can with the information they have. How do you decide to declare war? How do you choose to fire an employee? How do you elect to cut your addict child out of the family until they receive help? How do we pass by homeless people every single day and not invite them into our own homes, as we would hope others would do for us if the roles reversed? How can any of us sit in judgment of another when we beg for nonjudgment of our own choices and resulting mistakes? 

Do we extend grace and mercy to the ones for declaring war? Or are we only concerned for the repentance of the defined enemy of the country? If we are to integrate the two realms- the Kingdom and the world, and we do that by first getting our own houses in order; should we not be hoping for the mercy and grace of God to be delivered to all of us while we are sorting through our shit?

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brandon Roberts

    welp time to spend another 10 years doing nothing but destroying another country and making a bunch of future terrorists.

  • Who says “do nothing”?? I certainly did not. I said end your own wars.
    What could you do anyway, to stop a war with another country? The answer is nothing. You are not at war with Iran. But is it possible you are at war with something, be it in your mind, body, or spirit? Which wars are you electing to end now?

  • Zeigler John

    I suppose you are not a great fan of Yoder’s book, The Politics of Jesus, and his very watershed exegesis of scripture and revelation of our risen Lord in that book.

  • I actually own “The Politics of Jesus” by John Howard Yoder.
    It was one of the first books I dove into when I was learning how to fully understand this fancy world of theological debate and how politics played a part. I have also read “Christian Attitudes to War, Peace, and Revolution.” What makes you bring him up? Could you expand on why you believe he has a “watershed exegesis of scripture”?
    To be honest, I am a fan of Jacque Ellul’s work- his book “Anarchy and Christianity” was pivotal for me. Also, his book “Propaganda” was very enlightening.
    I am also familiar with the works of Charles Colson and his “God and Government”. I try to have differing views to use as my basis before I take any positions.

  • Zeigler John

    Yoder’s insight into a Christian interpretation of family structure brought a whole new insight into the egalitarian nature of the Christian faith, and how each one has a gift and work to do to bring to life’s table. Everyone before assumed the family structure in the N.T. was the same as that of Rome, but it wasn’t. Yoder also made a great case for opposing the powers and principalities when they behave in ways that are counter to the kingdom of God. We don’t get off the hook in this life for responsible response when justice, mercy, and kindness are trampled underfoot. We are like watchmen (biblical wording, not mine) who are tasked with speaking out on behalf of the kingdom we represent–the blessed community of Jesus. Yoder’s insights brought about a sea change in the way we perceive and live in God’s kingdom.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i think you misunderstood i was poking fun at america deciding to enter yet another pointless war that’ll just fuck over everyone.

  • I apologize if I misread what you wrote and intepreted it as hostile. Thank you for clarifying.

  • Ozzy Mandias

    I guess I’m not understanding here, but why does some random pro-abortion American woman who sleeps around on her husband believe she is remotely in any way able to opine on Christianity?

  • You mean I need your permission to speak about a religion that hinges on forgiveness and grace and mercy?
    Fuck, I had no idea!
    Do you enjoy trolling people because you are lonely? Ever considered trying to make an authentic and compassionate connection so that you don’t have to project all your unhealed pain onto others? Therapy works wonders, my dear friend. And also, I thought Christianity gave people a rebirth and fresh start? Or, is that just bullshit?

  • “You people” asserts that I can be placed into a box of some trivial categorization. Please, oh great and masterful expert on trolling blogs, tell me which box you desire to place me in?