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Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Power of the Lamb

'...there is no greater power on the planet than self-sacrificial love...This is the unique "Lamb power" of the kingdom of God...When God flexes his omnipotent muscle, it doesn't look like Rambo or the Terminator - it looks like Calvary!' (Boyd, 2005, p.32)


Friday, 28 September 2012

Quotation from Boyd

Too little time to post thoughts today so here's a great quote from Boyd's book I was writing about yesterday:

The kingdom of God 'demonstrates the reign of God by manifesting the sacrificial character of God, and in the process, it reveals the most beautiful, dynamic and transformative power in the universe. It testifies that this power alone - the power to transform people from the inside out by coming under them - holds the hope of the world. Everything the church is about...hangs on preserving the radical uniqueness of this kingdom in contrast to the kingdom of the world.' (Boyd, 2005, p.14)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Authority and God's Different Kingdom


How do you get revelation when reading about American politics? Well, you wouldn't have thought it. But I was reading The Myth of a Christian Nation, by Greg Boyd (a courageous challenge to his fellow American Christians that they were guilty of political and nationalistic idolatry) nearly two years ago. As I read the first three chapters, I was just hit with a fresh perspective on the kingdom of God that made me weep. I wasn't changing my fundamental theological position but there was a shift in perspective that is still proving to be life transforming. We have to first understand that the Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). It is God's different kingdom. But the church has often imitated the world. When it comes to authority, the way of the world is about what Boyd calls 'power over' people. It is the power of the sword - ultimately about intimidation and coercion. The way of the kingdom is about 'power under' people. It is the power of the cross - it's about selfless, servant-like, sacrificial love. Its power and authority is one that is willing to die in order that others might be powerful. The connection between the cross and the kingdom just hit me with fresh force.

Although we may have taught and held up the principle of servant leadership,  our practice has too often defaulted to the way of the world. Even when this has not manifested directly in intimidation (and too often it has done that in subtle and not so subtle ways) it is expressed in an understanding of authority that is essentially hierarchical - its concern is with who's in charge rather than who can I serve?

This has set me on a journey of re-evaluating my understanding of authority and power, government and leadership that still continues today. My next few posts will have more to say on this. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Reasons for Blogging (2)

Just getting round to explaining my other two reasons for blogging again.

A third reason I guess is its an opportunity to explore with others some of the theological questions and issues behind some of the things that we believe and do in church life. I am interested in how our theological understanding relates to our discipleship and church life, but also how Christian theology connects with issues in contemporary culture and public life. And also, doing theology is just good fun! No, really!! I hope some of you will help me with this by asking questions and making comments on my posts.

A fourth reason is simply that it is another vehicle for encouraging members of the church community I help to lead - and anyone else who cares to visit and read this blog. I want to encourage God's people to live this life of adventurous faith with boldness and understanding, vision and passion as we advance God's different kingdom across the nations and through the generations. There is nothing better to live for than this!

I hope over the next few posts to say more about what I mean by 'a different kingdom' and especially how it began to help shift my perspective on power and authority.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Reasons for Blogging (1)

I guess I have four reasons why I want to restart blogging, and why I am beginning this blog. The first relates to the title. Almost two years ago, I felt that God began to refresh and enlarge my understanding of his kingdom by shifting the focus on to the counter-cultural nature of his kingdom. Its character and ways are so radically different from the ways of this world, but the Church has often imitated the world rather than been shaped by the kingdom. Part of what I want to do is to explore with others more about what it means to be a citizen of this different kingdom, in vision and in practice, in understanding and experience.

A second reason is that, along with other factors, this vision led to a whole new stage of a journey for myself and the church I help lead. This is involving some shifts in perspectives, a revaluation of our understanding of many things and to an on-going cultural transformation in the church. We believe this connects us with what God is doing in the body of Christ across the globe in our generation. I want to use this blog to help the people I lead - and anyone else interested - to understand more about what is involved in this journey.

These are my primary reasons. But I learned from blogging last time not to make the posts too long. So I'll explain the other two reasons tomorrow.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Welcome

Welcome to Different Kingdom, the blog of Trevor Lloyd. I am a leader of Community Church Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, in the UK. I am committed to a vision of the kingdom of God that is radically, totally and completely different from the kingdoms of this world. The character of God's kingdom is most fully, though enigmatically, expressed in the Sermon on the Mount. Its primary characteristic is the counter-cultural way of selfless, serving and sacrifical love; this is the way of the Cross, the way of the Lamb who is seated on the throne of this kingdom. The rule of this kingdom is therefore not tyrannical, oppressive or even hierarchical but is one of serving, empowering and liberating love. It is such an understanding of the kingdom that this blog is intending to explore.