In this last post on Brian McLaren’s The Secret Message of Jesus we will look at his last four chapters. Essentially our conversation today begins by asking if the kingdom is all-inclusive or are there borders? “Can any meaningful kingdom, including the kingdom of God, exist with no boundaries, no outside?” (163). Is there a more emerging question?
McLaren sees two problems: “dangers of hostile exclusion and dangers of naive inclusion” (165). His theory is that the kingdom is about “purposeful inclusion.” What is your thought on this one? “… the kingdom of God seeks to include all who want to participate in and contribute to its purpose, but it cannot include those who oppose its purpose” (167). He examines the well-known “he who is not against us…” and “he who is not with me… scatters.”
On the future of the kingdom, McLaren opts for the view that God made the world and is watching as a parent watches the development of a child. Jesus’ eschatology is not prediction of a time-table but warnings and promises. (See here M. Borg’s dissertation.) He has a brief escapade into Revelation. Do we want conventional futures, counterfutures, or a creative future? Jesus summons us to the last option.
Chp. 20 is about the harvest of the kingdom: heaven! Jesus’ vision is earthy. Jesus believed in a real resurrection at which time evil is destroyed. And this should lead us to focus our life now on God’s vision for his created world.
Final chp.: Seeing the Kingdom. There is a longing, there is quest of the beautiful, and at times we catch glimpses of that kingdom glory. McLaren relates some of his own glimpses of the kingdom — like lines in Handel’s Messiah.
Monday I’ll try to post something comparing Wright’s book and McLaren’s.