It is often said that: “Jesus didn’t come to make us more religious, but rather, more human. Yes! One synonymous designation of God’s kingdom, (as inaugurated in the coming of Jesus Christ) is that of God’s new humanity in Christ. That new humanity is being continually formed into the image of the son of God (Romans 8:27), i.e., in a whole new way of thinking and behaving, as well as in intimacy with God. We are called to be the glory of God right in the midst of all of the broken-ness, all of the “stink and stuff” that is so often confronting us.

I have found the description of ‘glorifying God” (given by Biblical scholar Gregory Boyd) to be a regular part of my daily prayer life: Glorifying God is the radiation of his divine nature in and through us. My prayer is that God will do in me what he must so that his divine nature is radiated through me in whatever I encounter, day by day—professionally, socially, in conflicted relationships, in my participation in the Christian community, yes… and in my political choices, and in the midst all of the injustices, deceptions, suffering, financial priorities, and complicated engagements that seem to have no solution.

We, God’s people, are to be his new humanity, and the living breathing demonstrations of his divine nature. In this calling, we are also promised that there will be suffering and misunderstanding. An unfortunate and frequent side effect of this is that church gatherings can be an escape, rather than an occasion for equipping to be God’s new humanity, “the radiant display of his divine nature” 24/7.

We are watching, in our current political scene, how easily professed Christian identity is contradicted in the realities of political engagement. I’ve long admired Rep. Walter Judd, a former medical missionary to China, who was elected to congress after World War II. When his political convictions, formed by his Christian faith, caused him to be at odds with his constituency, he told them that if they didn’t agree with him, not to vote for him. And, sure enough, he was voted out of office. But,… he was a profile of courage. We are not called to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can be and do the will of God, i.e., to be the radiant display of the divine nature.

Remember: “Unto us is given on behalf of Christ, not just to believe in his name, but to suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29) Stay tuned …

About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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