Wednesday, August 31, 2016

There Are No Levels In the Kingdom of God

Image result for johnpiippo victory
Teaching at the Green Lake Christian Conference Center
To understand what God is doing in Christ it is important to understand honor/shame hierarchies. Every culture has them. For example, when I was growing up I learned that we were "middle class." This meant there were people above us (better than us; better off than us), and people below us (worse than us; worse off than us). 

The honor/shame hierarchy is the realm of all competition, comparison, jealousy, slander, flattery, pride, and shame. The heart of the kingdom of darkness is the honor/shame hierarchy. 

In the kingdom of God honor/shame hierarchies do not exist. We see a revelation of this in the song Mary sings recorded in Luke chapter one. God, in his greatness and mercy, 

has brought down rulers from their thrones

    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.

The tearing down of the honor'shame hierarchy is magnificent and breathtaking. Now, life is different. Eugene Peterson writes, "There are no higher levels in the life of Christ - only following him." (In Peterson and Dawn, The Unnecessary Pastor, 1%)

Just following Jesus, without competing. Cheering and championing one another along, with everyone wearing the victory crown. 

In my new book I share how a praying life lifts us off the prevailing honor/shame hierarchy - Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.