Hello everyone, I have been re-reading Walter Wink’s book Engaging the Powers with his sub-title Discernment and Resistance in a world of Dominance. If you did read his trilogy back in the eighties and early nineties, then I invite you to read them again and start with Engaging the Powers. Wink’s message and interpretation of, in this case John’s gospel, seem even more relevant in 2021.
Wink’s inspired interpretation is that in the New Testament the word ‘kosmos’, (κόσμος – in Greek) often translated as ‘world’, is better translated as ‘earthly human systems’ or ‘the dominant world systems’. Read John’s gospel out loud to yourself (and to anyone else who will listen!) but read ‘dominant system’ when the kosmos word or ‘world’ comes up. For instance, in 1 John 2.15,16 You do not need to read:
“Do not love the world or the things pertaining to it. If anyone loves the world the love of God is not in that person”,
“Do not love the Dominant System or the things pertaining to it. If anyone loves that System, the love of the Father is not in that person.”
This makes a massive difference. Our faith in Jesus surely insists that we live, not according to the dictates of the Dominant System, but according to the Way of Jesus. It is time to re-express our faith, that is re-Jesus our faith for the present ‘normal’.
The way of Jesus is THE Way which opposes the dominant culture and systems. It is our present world systems (the principalities and powers) which believe that violence always wins, that riches make you top dog, that money and violent power make a person or a country great. On the other hand we know that our Saviour lived a different way. God became a human being, He became a servant, a slave, He died a criminal’s death (Philippians 2.11). He lived for the earth and against the dominant culture whatever the consequences. The good news is that we can re-examine our way of living by asking what sort of ‘normal’ do we want. Throughout the pandemic we have experienced how we as individuals and whole communities, whole countries, the world even, we can deliberately live a different way. Now is the time, with Jesus-confidence, imagine the Kingdom and live as if the Kingdom is present now – live as if it is now present whatever the consequences. The new normal, we surely believe, is to be Kingdom living big time.