More notes and quotes.
Here's Part 1.
I often pray that God's Kingdom would come to my city, my neighborhood, my block. But I wonder what I expect God to do. What am I really praying for. Sometimes it's this:
"Unfortunately, many Christians seem to be hoping that the kingdom of God will come in triumphal greatness, expanding God's territory and taking over the world with glory and power. But that's the very temptation that Jesus faced in the desert."
I want God the Spirit to come in power and break the chains of my neighbors captive to hanger and poverty and addiction, to overturn their oppressors, to clear the air of racism and injustice. But what do I imagine a place looks like when all this has happened? I usually think of economic development. Restore 12th St. to it's former glory in the '50s, lined with thriving local businesses so that you could get everything you could ever need within a mile of your house.
Is that really what the Kingdom of God looks like? No. I mean, maybe. If that is what happens when people practice shalom. One intentional community of new monastics printed T-shirts that say "Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes." God's kingdom grows smaller and smaller as it takes over the world. "The revolution must begin with little acts of love, like washing feet or dishes." Like Mother Teresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love. It is not how much you do but how much love you put into doing it."
"Where you pray matters."
And this, from Rich Mullins: "God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and God's been speaking through asses ever since."
Unity and love are the goals of Jesus prayer for his disciples in John 17. When asked how many people live in his house, the authors like to respond, "On good days, one."
"While we are eager to ask what we can do for the world (justice and advocacy work is so important), Jesus is more concerned with who we are in the world. He wants us to pledge our allegiance, before anything else, to the Church." I honestly didn't expect this commitment to the Church, but it makes my heart so glad. As Belinda and I approach marriage I'm more and more amazed that this is the relationship that God compares Christ and the Church to. I'm falling more and more in love with the Bride.