This is a hard topic. One I have been thinking about quite a lot lately. I wrote a book which will be forthcoming when I am good and ready. The book deals with death and dying, but it also deals with liberty, freedom and true humanity. I allowed a friend to read the proof copy recently.
Obviously, there is no way to address these topics without addressing them as they relate to the King. I believe that true freedom and liberty can only be reached when we live out the humanity we were made to live out as loyal subjects in a kingdom.
My friend is a wonderful artist. Made in the image of God, she reflects his glory in so many amazing ways. Her daughter, whom I have gotten to know, is 23 and honestly a special person. Well rounded and educated, she is a shining testament that my friend cares about good things. She has raised at least one child so that I can personally see how her influence on this earth has been good. It is not as if it is up to me to approve of her and her life, but in many ways I do. She is a terrific individual worthy of great respect.
The thing is, she talks like a universalist. She believes there is a “Christ in all of us” and that all of creation is filled with God. Personally I don’t exactly disagree. I think that all of His creation echos his name and his glory. So it is easy to see where she would say God is in the trees and the hills.
At any rate, she had some thoughts on my book which were well received and I am contemplating. She basically said I might want to make it more accessible to readers who are not openly Christian. Her words were not “tone down the exclusivity of Christ stuff.” But I think it is fair to say that is what she was getting at.
Herein lies the tension.
We live in a relativistic culture where people are happy to accept my point of view if I don’t question theirs. And I have no desire whatsoever to question their point of view. I think each and every human being has something special to share with the world and their opinions and perspectives should be valued and listened to. So I don’t want to challenge them, I want to listen respectfully to what they have to say.
The problem is that I live as a subject to a king. If my neighbors were openly plotting rebellion to the US government and shipping secrets to the Islamic Fundamentalists, shouldn’t I in the very least challenge their thinking and remind them that they are subjects of the US and could be tried for treason and executed?
Since Voltaire, the French Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and a thousand other small events in human history, western individualists have lost an understanding of what it means to have a king. We believe in personal sovereignty. Our ancestors understood Monarchy in a much different way than we do. Once upon a time, you had a King who fully controlled your life. You could only hope that he was a good king and not a tyrant, because you were completely at his mercy.
This Jesus I am talking about, he is a good king. But he is still a king. Rebels to his authority will not be tolerated forever. He will subdue his enemies just like any king would. But he is good to his people.
This is a hard thing to understand and to teach in a relativistic world where everyone’s opinion should be valued. I do however, think it is the only hope we have. I cannot long tolerate a world where each individual is their own sovereign ruler. I need a king, because frankly I am an idiot and so are you.
I believe that we were made to live in perfect harmony and beauty with each other and with the world (like the Navi on Avatar), but our ancestors made some decisions that screwed us over and now we have wars, death, poverty, oil spills and illegal immigration issues. Honestly, just think about it. Doesn’t that idea of harmony and perfection resonate with something inside you? Doesn’t it make sense that we were made to enjoy that? That our purpose is somehow not being fulfilled? I think this king who leads us has the answers to the deepest longings of all our hearts. The only way to live out true humanity is to recognize the king and bend the knee to him.
It is clear to me that I am not good enough to be my own king. I need one more powerful. Does that mean I am weak? Yes it does. But I am no weaker than anyone else. So far in these thousands of years of history, no one else has solved these problems. I don’t suspect that I will either. I simply have come to the point where I have been forced to recognize my own weakness and inability to create much of anything pure around me. Thankfully I have a king who does that.
Each one of us is a subject of the King from Nazareth. Loyal or disloyal, we have a king. What you do with the King is up to you, but it won’t keep him from being King.
I see my responsibility as a servant of that king to recognize the beautiful and unique way he has made every person on the planet. I should honor them since they reflect the image of God, but I must also make sure I let them know that they live in a Kingdom. And whether they know it or not, there is a King.
So the question is, where do I draw the line on how “accessible” my book is to those who do not recognize the authority of the king?