Article 02 | Alternative Polis
I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
Frodo and Gandalph, The Fellowship of the Ring
What is Jesus doing in the world by calling people to become his disciples?
How can Christians ban gay marriage in the United States?
This is a challenging concept for many well-intentioned people to comprehend; yet it’s also one that is understandable after thinking through the essentials. It’s foundational because it underscores the importance of the Church as an alternative community.
1. The decision to become a disciple of Jesus and follow his teachings is the initiation point that enables a life of discipleship. With this decision, numerous resources become available to the disciple that enables them to live in the way of Jesus. These resources ideally include but aren’t exclusive to the following:
a. The conviction, regeneration indwelling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
b. The forgiveness of our sins and direct access to the Father through the Holy Spirit and prayer.
c. A community, who teaches, models and nourishes each other with the life of Jesus and his teachings.
d. A community that understands, supports, and encourages us to embrace the kingdom logic behind the teachings of Jesus. For example, serving one another and loving our enemies does not make sense with current order reasoning; yet it does with knowledge grounded in the kingdom of God.
2. All ethics are based upon a specific story or narrative and the ethics of Jesus are based upon a specific narrative found within the biblical text that makes certain claims regarding reality. This narrative is different than other narratives and the ethics that are adhered to, lived by and promoted in the world are different as well. As a result, people will be helped greatly, simply by identifying which narrative they’re using whenever advocating a particular way of life over another.
3. The ethics of Jesus are eschatological in the sense that they reflect how life will be once he returns and initiates the final Resurrection.
4. These ethics are also heavenly because they reflect reality both prior to “The Fall of humanity” in Genesis and following the return of Jesus Christ in Revelation.
As Christians, our primary job is not to “Christianize” the secular culture, but to live in such a way that we are a blessing to all nations. Through the Holy Spirit empowered witness of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and self-control, it is God’s intention that all people see and experience the kingdom of God in action and have a legitimate choice to join the perpetual world revolution of Jesus that begins with a transformed heart.
Recommended Reading: Resident Aliens, by Stanley Hauerwas & Will Willimon, Agenda For Biblical People, by Jim Wallis, The Politics of Jesus and The Original Revolution, by John Howard Yoder.