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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        

Clarence Jordan on the Kingdom of God

   "The phrase most frequently upon Jesus' lips was 'Kingdom of God.' It was the center of all his preaching and teaching. Most of his parables illumined one facet or another of the Kingdom. It was the pearl of great price; the treasure hid in a field for which one sacrifices everything else. His disciples were taught to seek it first, and to pray for its coming upon the earth. Professional religionists had more difficulty entering it than harlots, and rich men found it well-nigh impossible to get in. Hypocrites were absolutely banned.
    "The citizens of the Kingdom were the poor in spirit. They were those who were persecuted for righteousness sake, and who rejoiced when they were reviled, denounced, and slandered for something beyond themselves. They had no possessions, yet it was the Father's good pleasure to give them the Kingdom. 
    "To enter this Kingdom was to be saved, to find eternal life.
    "The most likely candidates for citizenship were those least bound by tradition, custom, and creed, who were flexible enough, and willing enough, to go through a complete metamorphosis of mind and soul, a process called 'repentance' in the New Testament. The first ones in this Kingdom were the last, or we might say, the least likely - the poor, the uneducated, the 'lost,' the babes - and the last in the Kingdom were the first - the high and mighty, the wise and understanding, the influential, the 'saved.'
    "All citizens were examined for deeds, not loyalty oaths.
    "What was this Kingdom of the Reversed Social Order, this revolutionary Kingdom of God?
    "Jesus never sought to define it. Perhaps he considered it indefinable, like God and love and beauty and truth. 
   "to the people who heard Jesus, the word 'kingdom' would certainly mean a body of citizens, a nation, a race, or a people, who were in subjection to a given ruler. God's Kingdom, then, would mean simply his people, his nation."

from "Christian Community in the South" by Clarence Jordan, Journal of Religious Thoughts, 14:1, 1956, p. 27. Jordan founded the Georgia interracial Koinonia Community in the 1940s. Habitat for Humanity was started by the community.

"The spiritually humble are God's people, for they are citizens of his new order.
"They who are deeply concerned are God's people, for they will see their ideas become reality.
"They who are gentle are his people, for they will be his partners across the land.
"They who have an unsatisfied appetite for the right are God's people, for they will be given plenty to chew on.
"The generous are God's people, for they will be treated generously.
"Those whose motives are pure are God's people, for they will have spiritual insight.
"Men of peace and good will are God's people, for they will have spiritual insight.
"Those who have endured much for what's right are God's people; they are citizens of his new order."

Jordan's translation of the beatitudes (Mt 5) in THE COTTON PATCH VERSION OF MATTHEW AND JOHN, 1970.

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