Brian Mclaren at Universiteitsoord

May 4, 2007

Just when I was done typing the previous post, my internet account at the university ran out, so I could only publish it today. Luckily wordpress autosave posts!

I’ve been blogging about Brian Mclaren for the whole week. But hey, my week has been taken up with Brian Mclaren, and trying to get my new laptop setup. I actually still have to finalize my sermon for Sunday, but my ideas are mostly organized. I’m gonna do one last post about Brian’s talk at Universiteitsoord last night.

I met Steve last night, which I am glad about. And there was quite a number of students, which I also was glad about. Brian talked about his ideas on the Kingdom of God. If I understood him correctly he says that if he read the words of Jesus in the gospels, then he thinks that the gospel is primarily about what should happen on this world. Not that he deny the existence of heaven, but what was radical about the message of Jesus, was it’s implication for this world.

This got me thinking about the role of South Africa in the emerging church conversation. My African perspective let me wonder if the kingdom of God, as a social reality, would ever come to this earth. I don’t think we can ever amplify the importance of getting involved in the problems of society too much. But when looking at Africa, I wonder how I can preach a message of the Kingdom being here and now, to people dying from AIDS and lack of food? To people caught in racial wars. Again, I agree with him on what he considers to be primary to the gospel, I think, but I’m kind of sceptical as well, cause I can’t see how this would relate to Africa. Maybe some of you other folks that attended want to give some views on this? Anyhow, the third thing I think me could contribute is some realism as to how big the problem is, as well as keeping people in check to not get in an over-optimistic view of humanity, which I won’t say Brian does, but I do think the conversation opens up the possibility. Again,your views would be appreciated!

At the end I asked Brian a question he asked someone over the weekend. He asks a South Africa what it would look like if the Kingdom of God would come to America. I asked him what it would look like if it came to South Africa. His response was something like this:

Religion changing to, instead of contributing to, as it does at the moment in many cases, help make a difference in the problems of

  1. over-consumption. We consume more than this world can sustain.
  2. Rich-poor division. The rich get richer, and although we do some welfare programs, we should do more to get justice between these groups.
  3. Violence. Religion, also the Christian religion, are currently many times part of the cause for war, and not part of the solution.

This is an over-simplification of his answer, but he will discuss it in his new book “Everything must change”, so look out for it when it get released.

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