Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Equality of Love and the Kingdom of God

"One's Neighbor is one's equal. One's neighbor is not the beloved, for whom you have passionate preference, nor for your friend for whom you have passionate preference. Nor is your neighbor, if you are well educated, the well-educated person with whom you have cultural equality [nor is your neighbor, if you are an American, the American people with whom you share citizenship]--for with your neighbor you have before God the equality of humanity...
No, to love one's neighbor means equality...
Your neighbor is every person, for on the basis of distinctions he is not your neighbor, nor on the basis of likeness to you [in color of skin or gender or social status or citizenship of a nation] as being different from other men. He is your neighbor on the basis of equality with you before God; but this equality absolutely every man has, and he has it absolutely.
Go, then, and do this--take away distinctions and similarities of distinctions--so that you can love your neighbor. Take away the distinctions of preference so that you can love your neighbor."
_Soren Kierkegaard (block sections added by me)

It seems to me that the only way we can love our neighbor in the way God has called us to love, "as yourself," is for that love to affect our politics, for through allegiance to country or acceptance of social status we deny to others the equality that is absolutely theirs. If our minds are taken captive by the imagination of some economic or governmental system we will ever be consumed by all sorts of distinctions through which to the image of God in our neighbor we will be made blind. Only when we go back to the garden of God where only God was king will we see neighbor in everyone with whom we come in contact. Only when our allegiance is to a Kingdom which is not of this world but consumes all of this world will we see our neighbor as our neighbor, as a citizen of the same humanity. Only through being transformed through the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12) and the forsaking of all but Christ and his cross, where distinctions are destroyed, will we be able to imagine that our neighbor is every person and that we are therefore free to love them with a relentless love. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom, not of this world, but of the whole world.

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