All I know is that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom in a time of history when his people were occupied, discouraged and enslaved, when religion was often corrupt, and the numbers who understood were few. Yet he said, the Kingdom of God is in your midst! What is the alternative? Does anyone else have a greater wisdom or a greater vision? To whom else shall we go?
Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If you are anxious, if you are trying to control everything, if you are worried about many things, you don’t have faith, according to Jesus. You do not trust that God is good and on your side. You’re trying to do it all yourself, lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.
We are finding that the system, without a gospel of healing repentance, is actually more unforgiving than the Church ever was. All it has is the law, which kills, but Jesus has offered us the Spirit, which gives life (see 2 Corinthians 3: 6).
Forget for the moment about believing in the Immaculate Conception or the pope. Those are fine, but they’re not what Jesus is talking about. He’s talking about the grace and the freedom to live God’s dream for the world now—while not rejecting the world as it is.
Unless you’re willing to let go of your self-created ego worlds, you will not see the Kingdom in your midst. The ego, by nature, is conservative. It strives to conserve, to maintain itself. That translates into seeking a comfort zone to live within and staying there. Once we find that place where we feel secure, we may do anything to maintain it!
It might be a little cynical, but you could almost figure out what Jesus said by looking at our history and naming the opposite of what we did! We keep worshiping the messenger, keeping Jesus up on statues and images, so we can avoid what Jesus said.
Idols, like cultural myths, are always disguised, if not totally invisible to the worshiper. If we could see their falsity, we would, of course, know that they are not God.
A political culture, like the former Soviet Union, will always use power in totalitarian ways to achieve its purposes. We can never expect Caesar to do Christ’s work.
Our addictive society has to do what it wants to do. The freedom offered by all great spiritual traditions is quite different: spiritual and true freedom is wanting to do what you have to do to become who you are.
One will not, of course, turn away from what seems like the only game in town (political, economic or religious) unless one has glimpsed a more attractive alternative. Jesus is a living parable, an audiovisual icon of that more attractive alternative. We cannot even imagine it, much less imitate it, unless we see one human being do it first.