Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Skinny Jeans and Pleated Pants Kingdom

Skinny Jeans and Pleated Pants Kingdom: McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy (Post 1)

imgresIn Scot McKnight’s latest book, Kingdom Conspiracy,he has an axe to grind. He’s doing some honest complaining. The way he sees it, the word “Kingdom” has become muddled. The phrase “Kingdom of God” has lost its moorings. It has come to mean many different things to different people within the Christian world. As a result, the word “Kingdom” has lost its impact. And McKnight thinks this word is too important to the Christian mission to get sloppy with. I think he has a righteous complaint.
So right off the bat he starts with a metaphor in which he explains the problem.  He divides the two most dominant camps of understanding the Kingdom into the “Skinny Jeans Kingdom” people and the “Pleated Pants Kingdom people.” The Skinny Jeans people understand “Kingdom” to mean good deeds, done by good people (Christian or not) in the public sector for the common good. Kingdom reaches not only beyond the purview of Christians and the church, it really does not need Christians (as narrowly defined) or the church. Kingdom happens wherever justice may be found. That is God working. Let’s join in with that! This is the world of mainline Protestantism (over-generalization). It is also the world of many progressive Christians including evangelicals. McKnight asks these people, “did Jane Addams do Kingdom work?” The Skinny Jeans people would say “yes.” McKnight would say “No!”
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Not Religion but a relationship?

Not Religion but a Relationship? (by Luke Norsworthy)

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 8.15.52 PMJesus didn’t come to start a religion. But if Jesus’ coming hadn’t started a religion you would’ve never heard of him. –Brian Zahnd
Every time I hear a Christian say, “We aren’t religious, we just have a relationship with Jesus.”  I’m nauseated by the self-contradiction.
We hear this trite statement usually spoken in buildings that are not required to pay property tax because they are deemed by the government to be religious buildings. And those non-property taxed buildings are usually paid for with tax-exempt gift because the organization has filed a 501c3 deeming them a religious organization. Or maybe the idea wasn’t said in a religious building, but read in a book. Odds are the book’s publisher categorized that book as “Religion/Christian life” or sold it in the religion section of And the person saying these words probably receives generous tax breaks because they are deemed to be clergy, i.e. a religious leader.
It’s like the story of the two younger fish swimming along happily when an older fish swims by and asks, “How’s the water today boys?”
And the younger fish say, “What’s water?”
I get why we make the idealistic and na├»ve statement about having the option to choose Jesus over religion. It’s the same rationale why I don’t eat pizza crust or watch preseason football games or regular season NBA games. We all want to skip the bad parts to get to the good parts, sometimes for good reason.

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