Jesus said that his kingdom would start out as small as a mustard seed or a little pinch of leaven. Over time this kingdom would incrementally advance and grow until it was the greatest influence in the universe. It wasn’t a “one-day” kingdom, it was “at hand”, as in here and now, though not it its most complete state.
Fast forward 2000 years and this kingdom has advanced substantially, yet still not complete.
Along the way, progress has required God’s people to part with the status quo. They had to bear the reproach of their religious brothers and sisters for insisting on things like:
- Salvation would extend beyond the Jewish people. (seems like a little thing now, but to a Jew, the idea that people of other religions would be saved by their God without becoming a jew was atrocious–oh wait, it’s still that way)
- That the non-clergy could read and interpret the bible for themselves.
- That slavery needed to be ended.
- That women were smart enough to have a voice and a vote.
Jesus referred to progress as “New Wine” and unfortunately it always bursts the old containers as it matures.
So why are Christian people the most resistant to cultural progress and transformation? The God of scripture is moving forward, he is leading a kingdom from a simple garden into a great city.
But the cultural church wants to retreat into yesterday. They hate the city. They hate the new ideas on which they are built. They prefer convention. The want to conserve the old containers and along with it, their old ideas.
It makes me wonder who they are following. Does God want us to shrink back or to progress?
It is possible to experience God in new paradigms and in new ways. The traditional way is losing ground. It’s already lost touch. Thankfully God hasn’t.
If the picture of heaven is a beautiful, giant city, that manifests itself here on earth, I can only imaging that the most religious people of our day will be living in bunkers in the outskirts of town bemoaning its progress.