Escapism is no longer a past time for many people. It is a lifelong ambition. There was a time when I was guilty of turning my entertainments into my goals. I love movies, games, and sports. There is nothing real about any of these things. Some historians thought that the programs that gave “bread and circuses” eventually caused the downfall of Rome forget that it gave the empire 400 more years of existence. What they accomplished was to hold the people in a position in which they did and thought very little.
The christian church often gets caught up in the escapist mentality. Many people will attend church to “feel better” about themselves. The rule of the church working to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable is lost when everyone feels afflicted because they do not receive the luxuries they want. Happily not everyone is in this kind of spiritual spiral. There are many church people who pray and act for the reign of God in their lives and the lives of others. These people love and serve. They know what is right and condemn what is wrong without judgmentalism. They are spiritually discerning. They laugh at their own foibles. And most importantly, many of these same people find a way to be a blessing in the lives of so many other people.
It is in this way that the church will continue to survive and uphold the truth of Christ. We can do this by walking along the same road Jesus walked. Jesus never desired anything more than people should know God. He talked about God reigning in the lives of the people living in this world. Yet, the new people of God were not meant to be a “Kingdom” like the kingdoms, empires, republics, or even democracies of this world. Jesus provided for leaders to not be lords over the people. A new word that has been gaining some currency in recent years and in theological discussions about the nature of the church is the word “kindom.” It looks like “kingdom” at first glance. Speaking it aloud gives it the connotation of a family. However, it is not a family with a structure that includes only a few responsible persons. It is a community of those who follow Jesus in every part of the world. It is simply our calling in this life to build this kindom everywhere we are.