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Occupy The Kingdom

• Greg Boyd

With all of the unrest around the economy, it can be easy to preach against the rich. In this sermon, Greg takes a look at the book of James to see what he says about wealth, and he finds that there is more to the story than fairness.

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Christmas is right around the corner, and with it comes the shopping and gift buying associated with the holiday. 70% of all purchasing in America happens at this time of the year, which is a little ironic because if we didn’t have Jesus’ birthday to celebrate, the economy would collapse. That’s why it is such a good time to take a look at what the Kingdom thinks about wealth. The book of James appears to have a scalding review of the rich, but in reality, there is something much deeper going on in this passage.

James is delivering a very passionate message to the wealthy. At first glance, it looks a lot like the current Occupy Wall Street or OWS protests. He says their possessions are corroded, the cries of the harvesters have reached the Lord, and that they have fattened themselves for the day of slaughter. OWS protestors protest against the wealthy hoarding their money while the poorer people lose their life savings, homes, and jobs. While sympathy is easy to give in this situation, James’ message is not the same as OWS, and it applies to all people more than we know.

While we might be inclined to think it’s about other people, it can easily be about us. If a family of four makes $50,000 a year, they are in the top 10% of wealth globally. And by historic standards, most housing provides more luxury than ancient kings had. While we may not feel wealthy because we always seem strapped for cash, we are wealthy by global standards. However, when it comes to wealth, people want to compare themselves to the richer people and never the poorer people.

However, the Occupy the Kingdom movement shows that wealth is dangerous, no matter how much of it you have. The pull of gaining more stuff affects everyone because we live in a fallen world. James isn’t preaching against the top 5% of the wealthy, telling them that God will slaughter them. Instead, James is warning the rich of what their wealth is doing to them.

James’ warning isn’t motivated by class envy or jealousy, it’s motivated by a love for the rich. He says that this hoarding is killing you/fattening you for the slaughter, but it’s not God that will do the slaughtering, it’s their own possessions. He’s warning them to stop because their wealth is destroying them. He’s not saying “Share so I can get some” but rather “Share to save yourselves.”

Wealth has a polluting force in this world. There are principalities and powers that try to suck us into the wealth race and pollute our lives. Jesus identifies this as the demonic god Mammon. Mammon wants us to find our security and happiness in wealth and possessions. It is not the Kingdom way to find these things in wealth. Rather, we should live in a way that fights against this demonic corruption.

The only way to prevent this corruption is to live with outrageous generosity. James wasn’t telling the wealthy to give their money away so that things would be fair and equal. James did not confront the rich to make his own life better. Instead, he was telling the wealthy to be outrageously generous so that they could fight against the demonic power of Mammon. James is calling people to give up on the demonic pull and embrace the Kingdom weaponry of generosity and love. James’ command is not given just for the sake of the poor; it is given for the sake of the rich as well. He cares for them and wants to warn them of the dangers of wealth.

It’s ok to have wealth. Just don’t let that wealth pull you away from God. Give generously and never hold onto your possessions for safety or happiness. That will only fatten you for the slaughter. Many people experienced this over the past few years, as their lives were taken from them because they lost jobs and homes. The only way not to be destroyed by the wealth of this world is to never cling to it. Instead, cling to God and give generously. Stay free by giving generously of your mind, heart, and wallet for the poor.

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Topics: Generosity, Greed, Money


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Focus Scripture:

  • James 5:1-6

    Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

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28 thoughts on “Occupy The Kingdom

    Shawn Grandstaff says: Tuesday December 13, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I live in Des Moines Iowa and have not been able to get up there to his church, which I would love to be plugged in with, however, I have read some of his books, which I will get to. Anyways, I want to say that I love Gregory Boyd’s perspective and understanding about the scriptures, I believe he puts them in a whole new light compared to what most mainstream church’s and preachers out there do, especially, when it comes to politics. I also truly believe he is dead on with most of what he preaches but let’s be real nobody has it all right all the time. As I said above about reading his books, I love them; they have confirmed what I believe and what I have shared with others about the Kingdom of God, which is not the politics of the kingdom of the world. They have encouraged me so much in my walk with God (as well as proving to me I’m not insane LOL) also in understanding the Kingdom of God manifesting thru Christ on earth in the here and now. In the world we live in now that’s a huge thing to know that His word applies to us when properly interpreting it. In the church world today so many things have been applied to us when they in the proper context and historical setting actually do not. Because of that we have a lot of religion not fellowship like it’s supposed to be. That’s enough of my rambling on and on about that, which isn’t even about my comment, well some of it was LOL…

    Now to my point that I actually stopped by to say, I’m glad that he at least said the Occupy movement is fighting for justice. Thank you for saying that. I completely understand his point that it is not Kingdom of God business. However, I believe that Kingdom people are still in this world (not of it) and should be standing with the people involved in it for a few reasons. One being to reach out to get others into the Kingdom of God and showing them that we believe what is going on is unjust. Simply because mainstream church is completely condemning it (and not even addressing the issues going on except to push their republican candidate) even though they have their foot in their mouths when it comes to the tea party saying that’s OK. Now keep in mind Greg wrote The Myth of a Christian Religion and that every chapter starts with the words Revolt (which is a big statement and most churches and preachers think that is crazy) so what does that mean? Of course we should revolt in love but what is wrong with standing by those who are when they are doing so peacefully?

    I look at this as a tool for reaching people by showing them that we care, and a lesson for the church to learn that if the world can come together putting aside their differences to stand against injustice we can’t we do so as well? WE OF ALL PEOPLE should be able too, isn’t that what true Kingdom of God is about, loving each other as they are? There is so much to learn from it, and what the media is saying about it is mostly false. I know this because I’ve been to some of their meetings in Des Moines trying to understand what this is really all about. I have met a lot of great people some who really care for you and the future of this country. I’ve also met many jaded Christians who have thrown in the towel on church simply because they don’t address real issues and are tired of all the self-help fluffy garbage also preaching hell but not doing much to help people who are in hell on earth.

    I’ve already said a lot and not to judge but most might not read this because it’s too long (not a sound bite) so to sum it up, I think we need to find common ground to bridge the gap using whatever we can to reach people for the Kingdom of God. The world is going to hell without Jesus, and in some places they are already there, so why not at least say something has to change and the government needs to get out of bed with the corporations. Bottom line, we live here and the people in power are screwing everything up when it could be stopped, especially with the influence of the church. Thanks for reading and letting me get this off my chest. Much love to you Greg and all those who support your ministry. Peace!

    Reply
    Shawn Grandstaff says: Tuesday December 13, 2011 at 4:19 am

    By the way, Thank you so much Greg for standing up and speaking what you truly believe when you know it’s against the mainstream ideology. You truly care and to me that proves it.

    Reply
    Teresa says: Tuesday December 13, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Hi Shawn,

    I actually agree with you. The Occupy movement is not about self interest only… its about loving our neighbor as we do ourselves. Its about being willing to put ourselves in the shoes of the suffering ones. It’s basically saying “If I have health insurance and medicine for my own children and my neighbor doesn’t because of the current state of things ( healthcare for profit so that the rich get richer at the expense of everyone else), I’m going to do whatever I can to change that.”

    By doing so i’m not trying to align with them so they get what the rich have (self interest) I’m aligning with them because that’s what I would want someone to do for me if I were in their shoes (mt 7:12). Most of what Occupy is about is basic needs. Wanting basic needs met like healthcare isn’t selfish…its survival.

    Greg, you have to think of it like Zosia. Keep the suffering close and concrete. What if your kids were still young and they became ill (say they are gasping for air because of an asthma attack)…and YOU/THEY were uninsured? Of course you would take them to the hospital (remember you might not have a car to do this easily in the winter), but there they just stabilize your child and send you both home. In the middle of the night your child needs to go back because the illness returns. This is what happens with many people whose kids have asthma. The bottom line is: If you can’t buy the inhalers and other medications to keep them breathing, you will watch your kid suffer and struggle for breath. That’s a common scenario… but there are many others as you know. We need to keep it concrete to understand why many of the Occupiers are crying out for help and why we should help them.

    I really believe we are fighting evil systems by standing with the Occupy movement. We aren’t fighting people… but systems that are set up against those who have needs. That’s love. We do it with racial reconciliation (that’s not about self interest, right?) and we should do it with those who are suffering economically.

    We have to ask ourselves: “what if it were MY child suffering, MY homelessness in the winter, MY hunger, MY illness… how would I want to be treated?”

    The Church can try to meet the needs (and we should), but when it comes to healthcare such as the ongoing need for medications and surgery etc, its nearly impossible for any church or individual to cover those expenses. That’s why we fight the system….

    that’s my two cents anyway,
    peace

    Reply
    kevin says: Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 1:54 am

    two cents well spent sister Teresa

    Reply
    Mary Reyes says: Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I am thanking God for this message. As one of the “lucky ones” who has yet to hear the call to sell all I have and give it to the poor, I’m often perplexed about where my responsibilities lie. This word has cleared away the fog for now and helped me grasp a new perspective. I need not be paralyzed by shame about my wealth. May my life manifest godly enjoyment and be truly rich in good works.

    Reply
    Ruth says: Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    1% that Occupy talks about is not a rich guy. Here is an example:

    Two countries devastated by war and deeply in debt made a deal with each other. I’ll give you some oil, and I’ll help you build a national well for clean water. Everyone was happy. The debt was still in the way. The singer Bono, made a CD, had concerts with many others and raised enough money to pay the debt of the African country that desperately needed fresh water. The gift money was tied into the deal the two nations made. Everyone was even more happy.

    Enter a Wall Street investment firm. An American company. The CEO of this company refers to himself as “Gold finger” I am not making that up. His company bribed a corrupt leader of the African country and bought the legal paper work for the well creation and debt payment. The ppl of that country found out, arrested their leader, but it was too late. The Wall Street firm had the paperwork and would not give it back. All the money to build the well went to Gold finger. The deal was off. No fresh water for the desperately poor Africans, no help rebuilding after a war for the other country. And now the impoverish African country still owes the money but now to Wall street. All the charity money raised…..gone.

    No one in Occupy hates Bono the singer. He is rich. We think he is great, because of how he uses that money and how he earned it. The Wall Street guy, that is the one present. He stole life giving water and money from the poorest ppl on earth.

    Those are the ppl we in Occupy are trying to stop. It is kingdom work to use peaceful actions to defeat evil. Not for “the middle class” only. This is for the world.

    We also go against Fox News corp. International news organization that targets Christens. They talk about Christianity, lure in the faithful and feed them a steady diet of fear, nationalism and hate. That is why surveys say the average church goer is more likely to be pro war and pro torture. Why? Fear makes ppl watch. Wars benefit Oil companies, like Koch brothers.

    The Bible warned about an international businessman who won’t let anyone buy or sell without his mark. The Bible said this would be a person. The US has declared the corporations are ppl. Think about it. Trying to stop such a thing isn’t Kingdom?

    Reply
    Ruth Iverson says: Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    If any of you think as I do and it seems many of you do. I am with Occupy ST. Paul and Occupy Mpls. E mail me and I can get you in touch with how to help. We are not stetting up tents or getting pepper sprayed. Don’t worry. Anything can help. You don’t have to do anything dangerous.

    Pepperwindu@aol.com.

    Reply
    Ruth Iverson says: Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Me again. Just had to add, I love Woodland Hills, I love Greg’s message. I have been comming to this church for 10 years. I bring new ppl in and I will continue to do so.
    Yippi, for Woodlands Hills, its team, and it congragation, and its pod rishaner. (how ever you spell that)

    Reply
    Shawn Grandstaff says: Thursday December 15, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I never did say, Great message Greg, even though I have some thoughts on Occupy that I’ve already posted I enjoyed what you had to say. I learn something new from the perspective that you bring. I was in the word of faith teachings for awhile, although I had many questions, but I believe you nailed it on the whole claim it thing. And now look at me involved with Occupy yet was in the word of faith funny how life can lead you.

    Reply
    Shawn Grandstaff says: Thursday December 15, 2011 at 12:43 am

    And thanks Teresa for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad that I’m not the only who thinks that among those who enjoy what Greg teaches.

    Reply
    Shawn Grandstaff says: Thursday December 15, 2011 at 2:52 am

    I also what to add, simply because some may be interested in this perspective, this whole occupy thing is, and regardless of our beliefs on it or of it, showing us that if things go down and really hits the fan there is hope because so many people are making a stand, which I know God is the greatest hope, but God works thru man. So now we know there are people out there who do care enough to make a stand about issues that affect us all and the world around us. They’re not there just to promote pro-choice, gay marriage, or some other secular thing that we may not agree with like other protests we have seen in the past, but they are there for social injustice, which is a huge deal for those who follow Jesus’ teachings while unfortunately, the mainstream church is not calling it out. They’re not exposing the darkness with light unless it has to deal with pro-life or gay marriage, which seems to be the only two issues that matter to them, and as they say, they’re voting for the lesser of two evils. Well to me it’s still evil. The occupy movement is also calling it the 99% to include everybody from all walks of life regardless of our beliefs. This is my point in the comment I made earlier that the church could learn a lesson from all this. We live in desperate times and that calls for desperate measures so I believe US the CHURCH needs to put aside our petty differences to see the bigger picture of hell on earth today.

    One last thing I want to add, and in no way did I come here and comment just for this, Greg and a few others like Jacques Ellul who is my second favorite author of all time Greg being the first, has encouraged me to write a book. Now I know Greg would not endorse everything I have written in it but some of it is right up his ally. Anyways, here it is for those who may be interested in a perspective you may not have heard, especially with my diverse background and where I have been in my life. By the way, you may not agree with it all but my heart in it is to stir up the mainstream western culture Christianity thinking that has dominated the United States. You can also go to amazon to read thru some of the pages. The preface and introduction are a must read to fully understand the whole. http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60462-129-7

    God bless! and much love to you all. Thanks for supporting Greg so he can get the truth out there to expose the ideology of Constantine Christianity that unfortunately is prevailing today.

    Reply
    caucazhin says: Sunday December 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    A lot of this sermon is insightful but how can u presume and isnt it rather arrogant of u to speak for everyone by saying its a “power over strategy” when in fact in a lot of cases its amore about real equity. Your presuming that everyone is acting on self interest alone.
    If u read the text part of the reason besides the ramapant homosexuality and Violence that God destroyed Sodom & Gamorrah and the neighboring cities was the absolute inequity. Thats also part of the reason God let the Jews be taken captive into Babylon. Maybe America the pitiful is next.
    So isnt it kind of hypocritcal for u to tar everyone with a broad brush that conveniently fits your theological presupposition.
    And why does the rich “muaw” have a giant building and a corporate “we have no king but Caesar” 501C3 tax exemption if “muaw” is so righteous…..Mirror Mirror………
    http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvbx1n60o81qguulqo1_500.jpg

    Reply
    Greg Boyd says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Thanks for all the thoughtful feedback you guys! Appreciate it. While I obviously try to persuade people through my messages, I consider them to be successful if they simply stir up reflection and discussion, and by this criteria, it seems this message was something of a success!

    Many good points and questions have been raised, but for the sake of time I can only offer a few thoughts that will hopefully clarify why I don’t consider OWS a distinctly “Kingdom” movement.

    For a multitude of reasons (explained in my “Myth of a Christian Nation,” “Myth of a Christian Religion,” and elsewhere) my foundational conviction is that the Kingdom is always about imitating Jesus at an individual and corporate level. The Kingdom is manifested when, and only when, we individually and collectively sacrifice like, serve like and love like Jesus. In this light, its very significant that there is absolutely no precedent in the Gospel’s for Jesus modeling or encouraging others to put pressure on Caesar (the government) to be more just (or to do anything, for that matter). This fact becomes all the more important when consider that:

    a) The gulf between the wealthy few and the poor majority in Jesus’ day makes the present gulf in our culture look miniscule.
    b) The government of Jesus’ was directly responsible for this unjust gulf. In fact, those in power were the sole benefactors of this injustice. They were the “wall street” folks pocketing the money from the poor.
    c) We know there were many Jews who WERE trying to bring about a fairer society by putting pressure on the power-brokers.
    d) Throughout the Gospels people tried to lure Jesus into taking precisely this stance, and he consistently refused (e.g. Lk 12:13-15).

    I’m aware that this position can be offensive to some because it can give some the impression that Jesus didn’t care about the plight of the poor or about matters of justice. In reality, Jesus was (and is) passionate about caring for the poor and about justice. But he manifested his passion by HOW HE LIVED, not by trying to change what Caesar did. He modeled self-sacrificial love and a passion for the oppressed by setting aside his riches as the Son of God and become a Jewish peasant. And he modeled this by the way in which he lived among and served the poor, the judged, the oppressed and the outcasts. All of his energy was focused on LIVING a certain way rather than on modifying what Caesar did. And for this reason Jesus demonstrated what the unique Kingdom of his Father looks like rather than demonstrating what a slightly improved kingdom of Caesar might look like.

    In my view, Jesus followers are to imitate this. In a world of grotesque injustice, we are to put on display the beauty of a Kingdom that is not only just, but self-sacrificial. And the CONTRAST between God’s Kingdom and the kingdoms of the world is to serve as the magnet that draws people into the Kingdom. I’m convinced that, if a fraction of professing Christians lived this way, not only would multitudes be won to Christ, but we would have a much more profound impact on society at large than any amount of law-tweaking could ever do.

    As matters stand, unfortunately, the Church in the west obviously does very little of this. In fact, the Church in the west tends to support and even “Christianize” the very kingdom of the world we’re supposed to contrast with! For this reason, it’s hard for many to even begin to IMAGINE a Church that transformed society simply by living differently. And because we so rarely see the power of humble, self-sacrificial love in action – the only “power” we see affecting change is the power of putting pressure on law-makers and others to change laws – it’s understandable that Kingdom people who are passionate about bringing about change (as we all should be) instinctively fall back on such pressuring activity and call it “the Kingdom.”

    It’s understandable, but from a Kingdom of God perspective, it’s also damaging. As long as we keep placing our trust in pressure activity to bring about change, and as long as we continue to identify this activity as “Kingdom” activity, regardless of how just and noble the activity may be, we will continue to be distracted from doing the one thing Jesus did, and the one thing he calls us to do: namely, to manifest the unique Kingdom of God by HOW WE LIVE and to thereby transform the world in a way that glorifies God rather than a new-and-improved version of Caesar.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit. Again, thanks tons for the feedback!

    Blessings,
    Greg

    Reply
    Luke - the "Recovering Baptist" says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Shawn,

    Do you attend a church here in the des moines area? my wife and i searched for a church for a long time that we would fit with. we found one now and love it. just curious where you may attend.

    thanks.

    Reply
    David says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I am saddened to see so many people trying to tie Christ to the Occupy movement. The rhetoric does not match reality. Some claim that OWS is about people others, and thus has similar aims as what Jesus advocated. They miss one major point. Jesus never advicated taking from one to give to another. The OWS people seem to be more interested in getting OTHERS to give, but not themselves. We should be helping people, not agitating for government force to do it on our behalf.

    The allies of OWS should also be taken into account. Look at the drug use, the anti-Christian rhetoric, the hatred, the documented support from the Communist Party, the murders, crime, etc. It is naive to think that they are pursuing teh same goals as the Christian.

    We should be the hands and feet of Christ. We fall short of that, rich and poor. Support for the OWS movement seems to be based on a simple hatred of “the other”. It is an ignorance of economics and political reality. Who are we to judge the 1%? Does it matter how much a person earns. or what a person does with that money?

    Reply
    David says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I realize I need to clarify my final comment above. I said “Who are we to judge the 1%? Does it matter how much a person earns. or what a person does with that money?” I meant – it matters more how a person spends their money rather than how much they earn.

    Finally, it seems a bit tactless for Ruth to use this site to recruit for her group, or for Shawn to sell his book.

    Reply
    Jeff Lexvold says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Greg is a bold proclaimer of God’s Word….I must agree as difficult as that may be at times in the culture that we have grown up in, that our distinct kingdom call is to live like that of our Lord and King which entails significant sacrificial love that frankly we aren’t able to comprehensively act on without a reliance on the Holy Spirit.

    We’ve all been brainwashed by the culture around us to live each day for society’s sake rather than for the Savior’s sacrificial sake. Maybe we all should wake up each morning and proclaim “Lord, help me to sacrifice my life for your sake today”. Imagine the kind of impact the Kingdom of Christ would have on society then!

    Reply
    Aaron Russo says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Question for Greg. In light of this reasoning how would you view the civil rights movement. It was a very similar movement in terms of tactics and it was clearly pressuring the powers that be to change laws etc. Was that a “power over” movement with no Kingdom principals? What about the abolitionist movement, which was largely fueled by churches and Christians? Martin Luther King Jr. just prior to his death, was taking the civil rights movement almost exactly where Occupy Wall Street is headed now, to a war on poverty and militarism. I am wondering what you think about this in light of what you said about Occupy and the Kingdom.

    Reply
    Aaron Russo says: Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Another thought. It is so much easier to view protest movements as not being Kingdom movements when you are not the one suffering the most under the injustices going on in the world. Could we honestly tell the African Americans that the protest movements that freed their ancestors from slavery or gave them the right to vote were “Kingdomless” “Power Over” movements. Could we really tell kids working in sweatshops as slave laborers that it is not Kingdom work to protest on their behalf now in this day? As white male Americans (me, Greg B. et al) we are about as far from being on the underside of the oppressive and evil forces at work in our day.

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    Sara says: Thursday December 22, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I think the difference is that the civil rights movement was fighting for fundamental human rights. MLK wasn’t asking for government power to “help” a specific group, he was advocating for people to be treated equally under the law. The occupy movement is fighting “greed” with greed. There is not a right, either in American law, or Biblically, to an equal income. They simply seem to want what others have. It is not a movement made up of poor, mistreated minorities, but largely middle class, white, college educated young adults who can hardly claim victimization. And their solution seems to be government power, which can often lead to unintended consequences that ends up hurting the poor in the name of helping them. Remember, the political class is largely made up of the “1%”.

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    Christopher says: Thursday December 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I was ready to be P.O’d at Greg’s sermon; expecting more “bash the rich” rhetoric that is common today — in and out of the Church. Instead, I heard the Kingdom of God preached, pure and simple. Thank you Greg!

    The occupy movement does not represent me, and I disagree with most of its stated goals, tactics, and practices. David is right to point out that the Occupy Movement is far from representing the Kingdom of God, and in no way can be called “Christian.” Even from the world’s perspective, there are more effective ways of affecting change than those used by the O.M.

    The reality is that governments and corporations are made up of people. They can be greedy and oppressive, and they can be generous and good citizens. The poor can also be greedy when they pursue their self-interest at the expense of others.

    If we really practice the Kingdom and Jesus taught, and Greg challenges us to do, then we just may find the following to be true.

    “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free [poor and rich, cf Acts 2:45], there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28, NRSV.

    The Kingdom of God does not make class distinctions.

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    Kevin says: Thursday December 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Wonderfully said Christopher! I was going to post something but you put it better than I could!

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    Aaron Russo says: Thursday December 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Sara. As I posted, as MLK about to be asassinated, he was very much involved in protests with labor unions, poverty fighting, anti-war and other causes extremely similar to the causes of Occupy. At the end of his life he was much more interested in fghting poverty and corruption than just “basic” human rights. Research it a little. MLK was not just the civil rights lader we have been conditioned to believ he was

    Christopher. There are plenty of Christians who support and are involved in Occupy. Be careful bout dismissing the entire movement as “not Christian”. That is a sweeping generalization that not all Christians would agree with. Honestly, many of the comments on here opposing Occupy are disappointingly similar to the shallow spin I hear on fox news. There are many very sincere and compassionate and smart Christians who are intelligenty involved with Occupy. Keep an open mind.

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    Lynn says: Thursday December 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I may not agree with everything Greg says or believes, but I ALWAYS come away from a downloaded sermon with lots of food for thought, which is far more important than all of us believing exactly the same thing in exactly the same way. Thank you!

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    Christopher says: Friday December 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Aaron, you say to be careful at dismissing the Occupy Movement as “not Christian” because there are many sincere Christians are involved.” It seems you are missing the point. Movements are not “Christian” — people are. the OM is not Christian, because it cannot be a follower of Jesus (cf Acts 11:26). At BEST it can be “inspired by Jesus’ teachings. However, it is open knowledge that the OM was not started as a Christian movement, and there are many people involved who would take issue with attempts to co-opt the movement as “Christian.” I reject the O.M. as a vehicle for change, not necessarily the things well intended Christians would like to see happen.

    I have made my choice, but do not be offended that my choice is not yours. I reject the occupy movement, though I can love and respect all who are involved, Christian or not. I do not say this to reject YOU or to give offense to anyone. Nor do I expect anyone to embrace all that I get involved with. If the OM were to redefine itself and change some of its tactics, I might change my opinion about it. But to be fair to the OM, the changes I would want to see would cause it to cease to be the OM, so I am not expecting that to happen.

    Seriously, there are better ways in this world to effect change. The O.M. is a hodge-podge of people, many of which have conflicting motives. One of my points is that the actions of some of the O.M. movement are not something I can condone, and as a movement, I cannot associated with it in good conscious. Nor can I embrace its platform, as it has emerged.

    Do you want better government? Then vote for people with integrity and principles. Lobby your representatives on important issues. Make people aware of what the government is doing, right or wrong. Help cut through the media hype.

    Do you want corporate responsibility? Then lobby with corporate offenders to effect change. Boycott the ones that are unresponsive. On the other hand, promote the corporations that are trying to be good citizens. Corporations are motivated by profit, not people camping out in the public.

    Are you concerned about the poor, then, get involved with the various benevolence ministries at church. Partner with ministries that are working with the poorest of the poor and the oppressed around the world. These groups are actually making a difference, and they are doing it in Jesus’ Name!

    I’m just saying, there are more effective ways of making a difference available to us right now.

    But all of this misses the point. Real change is only something that can be done with Kingdom of God principles, as the Spirit of God works to change hearts. When we really understand Kingdom of God principles, we will not confuse the Occupy Movement, the Tea Party, or any other worldly group with being “Christian.”

    Reply
    Shawn Grandstaff says: Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 3:05 am

    To Luke – the “Recovering Baptist this is Shawn. I know of one church in Ankeny I really like called Heartland Assembly of God. The pastor is David Olson an old friend of mine and I found out recently he has been reading Gregory Boyds thoughts and that got me excited just because I really enjoy his thoughts on American westernized Christianity. Anyway, where do you attend? And email me if you want and get this message. Sorry it’s been so long for me to see your comment. shawngrandstaff@yahoo.com.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    Shawn Grandstaff says: Sunday February 19, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Hey Greg I hope you’re well and can’t wait to get up there sometime to go your church. First off, just like your books, your comment was very well put and made it very clear where you stand. I just want to say in regards to your comment that in no way do I consider the occupy movement as Christian or as Kingdom of God work, just to clarify the comment I made. I do believe it can be used as a tool an avenue to reach out to those in need and to declare that social injustice is what Jesus preached against. We know the Old Testament prophets were very serious about social injustice and how people were being treated by those who led or ruled over them. Even the book of Psalms talks a lot about justice and how much God loves it. And that justice was not just about people getting what they deserved for a crime they committed it was about people being treated with respect like human beings. You, like someone else stated here, cannot Christianize a movement but there can be Christians in that movement using it to reach others.

    In the world we live in most people want nothing to do with Jesus because of many reasons and in some cases based on what you said when they continue “putting pressure on law-makers and others to change laws” basically they’re trying to legislate morality instead of letting God be God and trusting Him to change people’s hearts thru us loving the hell out of them. People see thru that and what’s even worse the very people legislating those laws are breaking them. Just like that big name preacher who worked alongside Bush preaching against homosexuality. It really scares me as a believer how it’s being done and how politicians use Christianity as a tool just to get elected but when they’re in office it’s as if they forgot everything they said and represent Jesus in a way that He is not at all. The world doesn’t know that they just assume it must be how Jesus is so they want nothing to do with Him.

    If you really want to know what I mean you should check out the book that David Kou wrote titled Tempting Faith: An inside Story of Political Seduction who was the former Bush White House Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and how Bush spoke about it once he was elected. In so many words without going into great detail he said, “That the Republican Party, under the leadership of Karl Rove, hijacked and manipulated faith organizations to ensure their support of Republican candidates.” It was all about the votes and getting Bush in office.

    The point is I think using occupy as a tool is just one way to reach out in sharing the gospel and taking back what real Christianity is all about, which I believe is loving people and meeting their needs in showing them God’s love with no string attached. That seems to be a big a problem in this country always having strings attached to something. Also, that serving Jesus is not about being a good law keeper or the morality level checker in other people’s lives or even the nation for that matter. I think it only creates the very thing we don’t want just like when Paul said that the law arouses sin so why then do we continue to preach law by the means of legislating it when we are only making matters worse?

    Reply
    karen says: Saturday August 24, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Dear Dr. Boyd, Too bad you weren’t at Occupy Wall Street in New York City. If you had been there you would have experienced Kingdom Principles humming and vibrating through the people– thousands from every imaginable walk of life. A gathering of people serving people– meals, lodging (albeit, tents, tarps and cardboard boxes in a tiny concrete park), Literature (2500+ books in a free library that was destroyed by the NYPD), health care, camaraderie, public/community art, ideas of all sorts and mettle, music, even our voices were shared in the human microphone ( “Mic check!!”) And yes, there were speeches and speakers and rallies and marches and politics. But no leaders. You couldn’t find a leader no matter how hard you might have tried. Because there were none. We were the people. We were the leaders and followers. It was something beautifully otherworldly that reeked of Christ, and it was made flesh and we dwelt there. It was beautiful. It was kindness on purpose made alive in the serving of one another. Donations flowed in from everywhere. And the ruling powers crushed it, and the academics judged it, and the local stores locked their doors against it, and the politicians ridiculed it, and the wealthy mocked it (literally looking down from their upper office balconies of the big Banks, often cocktails in hand, jeering at the humanity below them.) Shortly after it had begun, Occupy Wall Street was unjustly accused of what it didn’t stand for and was disemboweled by the NYPD– Bloomberg’s Army. Interior squabbles began and men vied to create a hierarchy. Exterior pressure left it homeless, hurt and scattered. Trinity Church couldn’t afford the liability to offer it a patch of grass. The crushing of it was bloody and dizzying and beyond not fair. It was cruelty and fear that rendered the movement. Occupy Wall Street was a sparky kindling of heaven and hope right here on earth. But it was killed. Or at least scattered and snuffed out. But despite the brutality to kill it, Hope sprouted philadelphos through kindness. That love for another is still being witnessed today. You just have to look and you’ll see it, alive and well, still serving one another, dreaming, planting organic farms, organizing and helping Hurricane Sandy victims and a bazillion more ways in as many small places of kindness. One to another. The Kingdom Principles were well served at Occupy Wall Street. Who knows what seeds will someday bear fruit from such a time as that?

    Reply

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