Doing a Find/Replace on the “Kingdom of God”
Our language and the metaphors we employ to speak of God and what God does shapes us in ways we are often unaware of. This is something I’ve been working through the past couple of years. Where I used to embrace the language of the “Kingdom of God,” my journey away from patriarchal imagery for God and the movement of God through creation toward non-gendered, synergistic, and immanent language created a tension for me in that I could not navigate beyond. The “kingdom” language that streams through the biblical text and is even favored by Jesus does not resonate in our modern context and implies images of God that are easily misunderstood, potentially harmful, and echo themes of colonization. I’m over it. Rather, I find “the Presence of God” to be much more appropriate language. Presence implies an immanence while also implying the possibility of absence when we fail to embody God in our places. Presence removes the patriarchal nature of “kingdom” language and replaces it with language empowers us to participate with God continually. Responsibility is placed on us. I find this to be deeply incarnational, kenotic, and highly appropriate.
Thoughts? Critiques? Where does this metaphor break down or hit a wall? What non-patriarchal metaphors do you find helpful and useful?