Thanks to Brian McLaren for his essay “decoding” the “kingdom of God” (“Found in Translation,” March 2006), and offering an alternative lexicon for this fundamental notion of Jesus’ proclamation. It was fine to omit from his list the common creative alternatives like the “kindom of God” over which others have struggled, or to duck the translational debate between “realm” vs. “reign” of God.
However, I thought he passed over too quickly what has become my own term of choice: Dr. King’s phrase “the beloved community.” In addition to summoning the memory of that movement history and the price King paid for invoking it (and so retaining some of the crucial political content), this term for the rich diversity of the “kingdom” has the further advantage of bridging from realm to community—and so offering an alternative for another well-worn term (one that also suffers from a loss of edge and of its original political meaning)—“the church.”
Got something to say about what you're reading? We value your feedback!