Well, I am still following N T Wright into some deeper waters. I spoke at the clan meeting for Red Network Sunday morning. The clan meeting is the once a month gathering of all of our smaller tribes (regionally centered smaller communities). I shared some of the thoughts I have been getting from "the challenge of Jesus" by NT Wright.
I started by explaining how the Jewish culture of Jesus day was living in exile in their own land. They were being ruled over by people that did not believe what they believe, nor live the way they lived. It was a cultural, political and religious divide. And there were three ways that they chose to deal with this. These three ways were defined by three groups.
The pharisees and zealotts who believed that they must be good and righteous jews keeping all of the traditions strictly and God would come deliver them
The Sadducees who believed that they should work politically alonside of Rome in order to secure for themselves a good way of life. Don't be "too jewish" and lets all just get along.
The essenes who advocated leaving it all, forming their own communities and ignoring all outside.
We discussed how in our culture we face similiar things, and discussed how different Christian groups among us have chosen to deal with things in the same manner as our ancient Jewish forebears.
Please don't be offended these are gross generalizations
pharisees fundementalists, holiness groups
zealotts political right, we must take control
sadducees emerging church, seeker sensitive, prosperity gospel
essenes Amish, Christian youth culture, pentecostal church
But the truth is we all do a bit of each of these. But my point was that Jesus came to this culture, and these ways of looking for the kingdom of GOd, and brings a completely different idea. Infact He tells us to repent from these attempts and accept the kingdom of God, brought by Himself.
This kingdom says, do not be conformed to culture be salt to your culture, and if you are no longer salty you are really not good for anything. This kingdom says that by our good deeds and our love for others we will be a bright and shining light for all to see, and this will extend the kingdom. Jesus tells us to leave off our running away, because we cannot hid our lamp under a bushell. This is the new kingdom, an upside down kingdom where the least is the best, where the first will be last, and where love is the law. Repent and believe the good news, the kingdom of God is here, but you have to choose to live in it.