Kingdom Living: Dynamic Disequilibrium
I think we’re in agreement both regarding the nature of the salvation/redemption God will bring about and that we have an important role to play in the process. I particularly like how you put it in a response in the comment thread:
I believe the timing of God’s plan is subject to our involvement, and I find no conflict with using the terms “inevitable” and “ultimate” in this. God’s Kingdom comes—we know that.
So the question now becomes, what does this involvement look like in concrete terms (I appreciated the “so what” reminder delivered elsewhere!)? How does what we do participate in/herald/advance God’s kingdom right now? Can George Soros’s theory contribute anything to our understanding of how we are to understand our role and what we are to do, for Christ’s sake, in the present?
For me, Soros’s term”dynamic disequilibrium” is worth thinking about (you might have to explain what the term means in financial terms—I understand it to mean that the market is volatile and more responsive to human values than “economic laws,” but I could be wrong). It seems to me that this is exactly what we, as Christ-followers, need to be promoting/embodying. Too often, I think, the Christian community lapses into “preservation” mode, as if the status quo (whether that has to do with the level of cultural influence we have, the size of our church, or whatever else) is the end game and our job is to simply protect it.
As followers of Jesus, our job is not to guard some kind of a mythical “Christian nation” or “Christian culture” or “growing church.” Our job is, at times, to be disruptive and disorienting. If we believe that human beings are called to a destiny and a purpose that transcends our present experience, that this future destiny and purpose ought to feed back into and transform the present, and that our task is to represent this hope to the world around us, how could something like “equilibrium” ever be enough for us?
Yet equilibrium—predictability, safety, balance, etc—is something we seem to instinctively cling to, even as Christ-followers. I see this in myself, and find it troubling. In my more honest moments, I wonder what it says about my faith. If I really believed what you said in your comment above (“God’s kingdom comes—we know that) what would change about how I lived?
Speaking of all things unsettling, I’ll close with a quote of a man I know you admire greatly. I’ve recently been reading Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change. At one point—after discussing how a relief worker in a slum in South Africa saw no practical help from pastors, only talk of being “born again” and tithing— McLaren unloads this firecracker of a quote:
At that moment, I realized this man saw clearly what I had begun to see: that religion, even the religion we are committed to and in which we have found God and purpose and meaning and truth, can become captive to a colossal distortion. It can become a benign and passive chaplaincy to a failing and dysfunctional culture, the religious public relations department for an inadequate and destructive ideology. It can forego being a force of liberation and transformation and instead become a source of domestication, resignation, pacification, and distraction (emphasis mine).
As a newcomer to the pastoral guild, this is one of my greatest fears: that I will come to represent a “benign and passive chaplaincy to a failing and dysfunctional culture”—that I will become part of the machinery of producing “nice” people to populate a drowning ship rather than holy shit-disturbers for the sake of the kingdom. Perhaps the role of a pastor (or any follower of Jesus) is to consistently and fearlessly promote a kind of dynamic disequilibrium, where kingdom values and ends are forever impinging upon, subverting, and reorienting what is normal, expected, or possible.