Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Kingdom process

My mind, for the last several weeks, has been wrapping around the idea of Building the Kingdom. There are several blogs that I read that ask the question: What am I doing today to build the Kingdom of God? For several weeks, I've been asking the simpler question - how are kingdoms built?

It may surprise you to know that there aren't a whole lot of websites dedicated to building a kingdom. There isn't a "Building Kingdoms for Dummies" book I could borrow from the library. There is much in the history books that talk of kingdoms of past and present, but each article or book refers to kingdoms as they are and not as they became.

For example, the Kingdom of Scotland was united by King Cinead I in 843 (according to wiki). Who made him king is a little fuzzy and how he came to create the Kingdom of Scotland, which in turn became the United Kingdom, also is very hard to understand. However, for the purposes of this discussion, King Cinead I did not leave behind any details of his kingdom. He merely created the dynasty that ruled that island.

This trip into history lead me very uninformed. I still don't understand how kingdoms are created. However, in the course of this research I discovered what some of the parts of the kingdom are and how some people went about expanding their kingdoms.

One of the first mentioned components of a kingdom was a king. There is a man leading the way. Occasionally there were queens leading the way where I think it was then called a Queendom (but I couldn't confirm that. I did however read reports that if a King fell by way of violent defeat, the queen was either killed as well or forced into a new marriage with the person that just stained his sword with her deceased husband's blood). Once the king was in place he made assignments to those in his kingdom. (Interesting to me, there was no one that placed themselves in an honorable position. Those positions were appointed by the king. It reminded me of Hebrews 5:4.) Rules were established and ways to enforce them were created. Al of this was done as the king oversaw.
The next component was minions or peons. What good is being king if there is no one is below you. So the next component of being king was to have people to rule over. Kingdoms I assume started with a base group of people. For the purposes of this post - let's say it was 12 families. These 12 families listened intently to what the king proclaimed and went about trying to do it. Some did this out of fear but others did this out of love for the king. The king was someone most believed was leading them with their best intentions at heart (if he wasn't he might have to deal with a revolution and those were never fun). We'll talk about expansion in a second, but it is safe to say that as those in the kingdom grew, the role of the king grew and the duties and responsibilities grew for those who were on the counsel of the king.
The last component I found that commonly ran through the Kingdoms I read about was having buildings. The King had his place - often a castle with a throne. The people immediately below the king had their places - the west wing of the kingdom occasionally. Then those below had shacks, small homes, tents and caves. The Kingdom encompassed these smaller establishments. Unless you include the farm land, most of these encampments were included within a castle wall or at least somewhere that was protected from an enemy. At the center of these castle enclosures was a place for the king to meet with the people. It was a place for entertainment, instruction, and enlightenment. It was a place to come and be instructed by the king and to laugh with him as well (usually at the expense of a prisoner and some wild underfed animal). There could be one or several castles within a kingdom.

There seemed to be a lot of reasons for expansion. Some times there would be a group of smaller Kingdoms that would group up to fight off a larger kingdom. There was some kings that measured their success by the size of their kingdoms (which I'm sure is where the comment "It's not the size but what you do with it" comes from - as some kings had huge kingdoms that turned into empires that are now just a footnote in a history book), and so those kings would invade other places, slaughter those that resisted and expand the borders. (according to Malcomb Reynolds it isn't always a good idea to fight against those trying to form an alliance or those expanding their borders)
Another reason for expansion was immigration. And this really has been where my mind has been at for the last few weeks. People came to a kingdom because they liked what it had to offer. the kings rules were fair, just, and merciful. The people liked each other and cared for their neighbors. They were people you wanted to live near. Throngs of people would leave an oppressed place, land or kingdom and give everything they had to be somewhere where they felt they belonged - somewhere inviting. Somewhere that brought peace to their souls and hearts.

As congregations in the US shrink, I wonder about the building up of Christ's Kingdom. There is a King. There are places to go for safety. There are chapels and temples that are available to sit at our one Instructor's Feet and be taught. There are wholesome recreational activities within the kingdom walls (roadshows, choirs, pageants, and even beaches and mountains near by). We have the components for the building of His Kingdom. So my thought are with the reasons why people are immigrating away from this Kingdom and to another or others.

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