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21st Century Reformation

21st Century Reformation is dedicated to the task of making disciples of Jesus Christ and building morally beautiful community.

Updated: 2018-02-01T07:23:52.359-08:00


Live Blog of Hillary Clinton at Stanford on Counter Terrorism - 3-23-2106


Live Blog: 3-23-2016

Overall an excellent speech. Intentionally wonky. Intentionally sophisticated in order to show that Cruz and trump are totally in over their heads.

Implies how Obama represents true leadership. She explains well what real American leadership looks like. Partnering and not bullying.

What doesn't work:
Clinton: It does not work to alienate Muslims in America. 
She gives testimony of her experience. Explains how these Muslims are assets in the fight. 
Cruz is wrong for demonizing Muslims. This blanket bigotry is dangerous. 
Gives example of 1000 policeman in NYC. 

This is a strong argument. She is really pushing her knowledge. She is gaining steam. She is presidential and Cruz and Trump are not. Notice: She has not mentioned Sanders even once.

12:10 Syrian refugees: Solution is the cease fire. Create safe areas for Syrians
"It would be wrong to shut our doors. Terrorists cannot intimidate us to abandon our values."

The goal is to let the voters know that she understands how International relations works. She is showing how ignorant Trump and Cruz's comments have been.

Clinton: We need to revoke passports of those we know have joined IS.
Focus on hot spots: prisons, neighborhoods

Clinton: "How high does the wall have to be to keep the internet out."
It would be a serious mistake to stumble into another ground war.
It would be a serious mistake to carpet bomb. Such talk makes it sound like in over head.

Clearly, giving a candidate speech.
Talking about importance of NATO and need to maintain partnerships and allies.
Allies extend our reach.
Clinton: NATO provides bases. A huge strategic advantage that Moscow and Beijing cannot match

Clinton: If Mr trump gets his way it will be like "Christmas in the Kremlin."

11:49 Three Part Plan:
1. Take out ISIS strong hold in Iraq and Syria. Intensify coalition. Step up support for local ground forces.
2. Take out the infrastructure..finances. Waging on-line battles.
3. Harden our defenses at home. Brussels demonstrates our weaknesses.

Opening with Michael McFaul. @McFaul

11:42 am Hillary starts talking about Chelsea's time at Stanford.

11:45 Sec Clinton describes recent atrocities of ISIS. Uses the word genocide. Genocide against religious minorities.




Populist Libertarianism – The Quest to Disarm the Morality of the Citizen


Populist Libertarianism – The Quest to Disarm the Morality of the CitizenThe political dialogue in the United States is getting ever more polarized. The rise of the “tea party” republicans in 2010 was a response to many factors one certainly being a deep mistrust of the power of the state. This libertarian, populist impulse opposes any expansion of the use of state power. After arguing extensively for the use of the state to meet the needs of people for both security and welfare, Michael Walzer, in Spheres of Justice, makes a parenthetical statement, which I would like to reflect and build upon. Walzer states, “[this] point [regarding the use of state power] would hardly have to be made were it not for contemporary advances of a minimal or libertarian state, who argue that all such matters (except for defense) should be left to the voluntary efforts of individuals” (SOJ, kindle 1542)Since 1983, when Walzer made this observation, the forward march “of the minimal state” has been steady and drastic. What we have seen in the subsequent decades, in the United States, is an “advancement” based on the maxim that “government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem” (Pres. Ronald Reagan First Inaugural Address, January 20th, 1981). This idea has captured the political mind over a large segment of the American political landscape and, in many ways, has infected the entire body politic. My thesis is that this populist, libertarian ideology has resulted in great confusion with respect to the state’s moral obligation to its citizens. The effect of this ideology has been that the political process has been denied entry into many spheres where the state through political discussion is the appropriate instrument to undertake projects to meet the general and particular needs of the citizenry. Furthermore, if distribution mechanisms, other than the market, are ideologically weakened then those who monopolize money are empowered to dominate these other spheres. Using the model developed by Michael Walzer in “Spheres of Justice”, I will attempt to investigate the effects of this populist, libertarian impulse in American political life and suggest alternative distribution criterion, which are more appropriate to each given good. My aim is to convince the libertarian in all of us that the state is often the necessary instrument with which to more justly distribute key primary goods.Applying the Walzer’s Model to a Critique of LibertarianismTo begin this analysis, I must first define libertarianism as it is being utilized in the American political discussion by its proponents. I do not think I will get much disagreement by saying libertarianism is a philosophy of government that limits government’s role to its minimum. Often this minimum is limited to the defense of the citizens from enemies within and without. Secondly, I define libertarianism as populist. By populist, I mean that it caters to the self-interests of an idealized definition of ordinary people. In its populist guise, this ideology maintains an anti-elitist stance. But because it is libertarian, this ideology serves the interests of the wealthiest Americans by undermining the power of the state to limit the dominance of money in various spheres. In this sense, populist libertarianism is a type of false-consciousness in which ordinary people champion an ideology which does not align with their own self-interests. Why the State Comes into BeingWalzer’s depiction of the function of the state seems somewhat irrefutable. Human beings find strength in numbers. Security is the first need of the population. The state arises in order to meet this security need. Because the security needs of the population are so great and ever present, the state is granted the right to compel able-bodied men to fight. This is the fundamental social contract. Like the Hobbesian calculus, we give the state coercive power in exchange for the security of the population. For the libertarian, this lim[...]

John Rawls: A Theory of Justice Part 1 - The Enlightenment Experiment


Admittedly, I am late to the table concerning John Rawls, but I am becoming quite the fan. I am currently reading "A Theory of Justice" having read, earlier this year, "The Law of Peoples". What I will be doing is journaling my thoughts as I read this monumental work of moral philosophy. My audience for much of what I write is the American evangelical but also more broadly the American electorate. Having studied a bit of Rawls this year, I am coming to the conclusion that Rawls should be mandatory reading for all Americans, probably best as college freshmen. Of course, such a suggestion is merely wishful thinking, but one can hope that the American electorate could become well informed and thoughtful in light of the irrationality that marked the 2012 election cycle. Rawls is a Newtonian figure in the realm of political philosophy. What Newton was to modern physics I believe Rawls is to moral and political philosophy. Rawls makes all things clear when considering how political life ought to work, which brings me to my first point. Johns Rawls is a pillar in the endless line of splendor that is the enlightenment tradition. The enlightenment is based on the idea that through reason mankind can discover the path to ever increasing peace and prosperity. The works of John Rawls and especially "A Theory of Justice" lays forth a methodology by which men and women of reason may discover a conception of justice upon which they can agree. Such a conception of justice becomes the foundation of a well ordered society and, thus, such a program becomes a step forward in the enlightenment experiment. I find such an appeal to reason glorious and dignifying. The vision of the enlightenment can be quite motivational, but likewise, to lose the vision and quest of the enlightenment can be quite disheartening. Such a cynicism rooted in a rejection of the enlightenment principles that assume solutions to fundamental problems can be solved at least partially leads to political and social apathy. The study of Rawls can be a means to overcome such apathy, but it seems that to find inspiration from Rawls, we must first address two obstacles. First, the enlightenment experiment involves faith in reason. There then is the problem of man's political nature. In our current political and social environment, partisanism appears to be undermining the role of reason in the decisions of the various political actors. Would a reading of the likes of Rawls by the American electorate tip the scales from purely political considerations in the decisions of political actors to a more principle-based problem solving founded on a common conception of justice. Needless to say, a more principled and thoughtful politics would be welcomed. A reading of Rawls can help us embrace such a quest for public reasoning based on a common conception of justice. While the obstacle of our political tendencies poses a threat to a more enlightened approach to our political life, our cultures post-modern tendencies likewise poses an obstacle. By post-modern, I mean the belief that all opinions are equal. Ought not an opinion which is based in fantasy as opposed to fact be discredited in the marketplace of ideas, yet it appears of late that such a naive proposition is not a given. In fact, the reality that a fantasy based opinion can survive public discourse is a threat to the enlightenment experiment that is liberal democracy. But maybe just maybe, an appeal to education, indeed an education in the writings of John Rawls and the like, might just give a shot in the arm to our ailing experiment. [...]

The Need for a New Theological and Political Wineskin


Last night, I heard a theologian teach at our church. He started by saying he was very depressed because we are losing the war for evangelical Christianity in America. Needless to say, his depression had to have something to do with the election. He tried to hide his partisanship but it leaked through.

He was absolutely horrible, but I am heartened. He was an old man, and I think he represents an old way of thinking. At least I can hope.

This theologians point was that Christians need to learn how to think and persuade people to our way of thinking. He decried the anti-intellectualism in the church. He completely missed the point. The problem is not that we do not think enough. The problem is that the conservative evangelical theological system makes people anti-intellectual. The problem is that any theology which purports that the earth is 10,000 years old cannot be intellectual. What is needed is a new theological framework, a new wineskin to hold the wine of scientific FACTS. If we cannot reasonably and elegantly address the facts, then we cannot be intellectual or thinking people. The problem is that the 20th century conservative hermeneutic is not capable of addressing scientific fact. Therefore, a new hermeneutic is needed, a new wineskin.

This theologian was forlorn about the votes on homosexual marriage. If we cannot support equal rights and liberty for ALL, then we cannot have a place at the table of democracy. We need a new political philosophy that shows a compassionate and grace filled face to the Church in the political arena. It is so obvious that Christians are supposed to be the voice for the poor in America. Instead, we are seen as people who believe that what is on God's mind is the idea that homosexuals want rights under the law. In a democracy, it is fine to believe that BUT it is not the basis of a political philosophy. The American political system is founded on the motto of e pluribus unum. The American experiment is an experiment centered on belief that the a diversity of peoples can become one people. This political philosophy by definition must not bring our religion into our politics. Unless we develop a political philosophy based in a commitment to civil liberties and a passion for justice, we cannot be intellectuals in the realm of politics.

What this theologian didn't realize is that what created the anti-intellectualism is the inability of his generations theology to incorporate scientific facts and to understand the relationship between religion and politics under our constitutional democracy. What is needed is better ideas not doubling down on the failed ideas of 20th century evangelicalism.

Presidential Debate Obama / Romney: What President Obama Should Have Said


I am a firm believer that democratic ideas are the solution to the current economic problems. That democrats have the solution to economic problems is certainly not always the case. To articulate the democratic ideas on the economy, this is what President Obama should have said.

During the first debate session, Romney and Obama went back and forth on reducing taxes for businesses with Romney stating the 50% of American workers work for successful small companies whose taxes would go up under President Obama’s plan. These companies, Romney strongly asserted, are the job creators. Romney then re-iterated the Republican talking point that the Obama administration is penalizing success. To this line of reasoning Obama had no answer.
Here is the correct answer which the President could have made. I would have said the following:
The problem with Governor Ronmey's one size fits all, supply side solution is that he states what appears on the surface to be a valid point but is simply bad policy in the current economic environment. Today, corporations small and large are holding onto a record level of cash. To lower tax rates on these companies will give companies better after taxes cash on hand, and only add to the record cash on hand that companies are already not spending on growth and hiring. The problem is that companies are not spending because they do not have enough demand from consumers to grow their businesses by spending more money. The reason for this is because Republican policies over the last 30 years, supply side economics, have funneled money to the top income brackets and left the middle-class squeezed and buried. Therefore, in order to increase demand for goods and services and grow the economy from the middle out ALL tax decreases need to be focused on the middle-class. We are in a economic situation, caused by republican supply side blind-ideology, which has consistently reduced the buying power of the middle-class. Therefore, let me say this again 100%, ALL, tax relief in my proposal is focused on the middle class . Again, to grow the economy from the inside out, we must focus ALL our tax relief on the middle-class so that they can energize economic growth through increased consumption.

Discipleship – Intro: Discipleship and the Need for a Spiritual Revolution


SPIRITUAL REVOLUTIONWhen I first started writing publically about the church, I started this blog, “21st Century Reformation”. That was 2003 or about 10 years ago. In those years, the emphasis was simply to take seriously the teachings of Jesus and to apply them in a practical way. I was pastoring a church and later participated in a church plant. Both communities evolved into something that, in light of my reading of the scripture, did not look like the early church. Many of my friends encouraged me to meet people half way and to be more “realistic”. The last few years I have tried that half-measured approach for myself, and I have found this road does not make me happy. Therefore, today I return to my first love and am beginning a new quest to walk a road of continual spiritual revolution. Personally, my heart will only find its home in the midst of a community committed to this spiritual revolution.  Let the journey and the struggle begin anew. God Plan for Human Community Remains the Same42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed]were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.And again in Acts chapter 4, the church is described as “32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.The biblical description of the early church depicts a community that is both spiritual and revolutionary. Can this be said of the church today? Is the church spiritual? Martin Lloyd-Jones, one of the greatest preachers of the 20th Century, described the church’s greatest problem as “superficiality”. Is not superficiality in opposition to spirituality? Spirituality seeks to heal what really ails us. A healthy spiritual community develops a spiritual program that helps others find this healing, this freedom, this truly happy and heavenly quality of life. Are today’s Christians distinctly more spiritually healthy and beautiful than the non-Christian? Are our behaviors and attitudes distinct?  Would the on-looker describe the peace and endurance of the modern Christian as stunning and awesome? If not, then, we are not yet spiritual. Likewise, would anyone describe the church of today as revolutionary? The early church lived communally, “had all things in common”. “There was not a needy person among them, for all who had lands or houses would sell them…and they would distribute to each as any had need”. Does this describe the church today? Is not the church a staunch defender of the status quo? Is the church meeting the material needs of the world in a revolutionary way? Is materialism a problem in the church as it is in the world? Is simplicity the norm? Is our generosity extravagant? Is the church revolutionary like the early church was? By revolutionary, I mean a community that i[...]

As Clinton sounds interest rate alarm, a Warning Against a Do-Nothing Congress


As Clinton sounds interest rate alarm, will reason prevail?
The cost of politics as usual is very high. If Congress takes the stance that the best politics is to assure that the other guys fail, real people will get hurt.

Fiddling at the Fire by Nouriel Roubini - Project Syndicate


After compiling all the elements of the future perfect storm leading to potential global depression, Roubini states the cause:

Ineffective governments with weak leadership are at the root of the problem. In democracies, repeated elections lead to short-term policy choices. In autocracies like China and Russia, leaders resist the radical reforms that would reduce the power of entrenched lobbies and interests, thereby fueling social unrest as resentment against corruption and rent-seeking boils over into protest. But, as everyone kicks the can down the road, the can is getting heavier and, in the major emerging markets and advanced economies alike, is approaching a brick wall. Policymakers can either crash into that wall, or they can show the leadership and vision needed to dismantle it safely.

This confirms the fundamental truth that problems can be solved. All problems have solutions, but, as is so often the case, the primary players' political agendas trump reason. Fiddling at the Fire by Nouriel Roubini - Project Syndicate

Violence Returns to Iraq - democracy and Military Action


Wave of attacks kills dozens amid Iraq's upheaval
The lesson here is to reassess how democracy promotion works. We cannot expect to be successful by enforcing democracy via military action. The entire endevor may prove to have been a total waste of lives and money.

Lesson learned: Empire isn't a good long term strategy for prosperity.

Bias Justice in Alabama: Executive arrested under Alabama immigration law


Mercedes-Benz executive arrested under Alabama immigration law

A basic premise of justice is that justice must be without bias. Laws cannot favor the poor or the rich. No one is above the law. This principle of justice, obviously, is not understood by the good people of Alabama where a law is being reconsidered because it has been found to possibly harm rich folk.
Would a false arrest of a spanish speaking tax paying maid lead to the over turn of a law in Alabama or must the person falsely arrested be rich? The answer is obvious. Poor brown skinned people have been complaining about this law and others like it for months, BUT, as it turns out, the long arm of the law is only comfortable reaching downward.
This case is a perfect example of bias and, therefore, an unjust law which should be overturned regardless of who is being falsely arrested.

US Lawmaker Blocking Obama’s Pick for Ambassador to Russia


US lawmaker blocking Obama’s pick for ambassador

Michael McFaul is the most clear eyed observer of Russia on the planet. He has legitimate pro-democracy street cred. If anyone thinks Mike will be fooled by Putin, they are either ignorant of Dr. McFaul's history or they simply are being disingenuous. You choose.

Is Modern Capitalism Sustainable? - Kenneth Rogoff - Project Syndicate


Is Modern Capitalism Sustainable?
(image) As we think about "The Kingdom as Justice", it is helpful to take a self-critical look at our understanding of the world's political economy. What about our political-economic system is unjust? How are people and future generations harmed by a lack of care for the economy, the environment and our debt burden? Is it not unjust to leave a world of inequality, pollution, debt and rising health care costs to our children to fix? Certainly God cares about the well being of our children and has his sights on the well being of our children's children. Can inequality continue to go unchecked? The question is how do we fix these problems that are quickly evolving into crisis due to our petty self-interests and our lack of intellectual rigor.
In the above article, Kenneth Rogoff begins to ask questions concerning the sustainability of capitalism in its current form. We too need to look objectively and without bias (especially religious bias) at how to solve these policy problems which are at the heart of the problems of injustice in God's world.

John Rawls - Required Reading


John Rawls
It seems only reasonable to me that such great thinkers like John Rawls should be required reading for all Christian leaders AND that the church should be a central place for public reasoning.

Did the Poor Cause the Crisis?


It is hard to resist posting an article like this one. Justice compels me.
Been meditating on justice a lot lately.

Why Greece is so Important - Bailouts and Haircuts


Discussion of Greece proposing the possibility of 50 percent haircut on debt is a very important news item. For a Christian blogger to speak so much about economics might seem strange to some but consider 20th Century Europe's history of financial meltdowns.

First, I think Europe needs to take action to allow peripheral countries an orderly default. The longer the global community waits the greater the risk. My understanding of an orderly default is basically an agreed upon haircut. Banks holding Greek debt agree to write the value down and Greece agrees to pay the new payments on the new debt levels. Though a 50pc haircut seems drastic think about the options of more austerity.

Populations like Greece at some point will rebel against further austerity. Political unrest in Europe is the worst case scenario. Unrest will likely lead to a populist call for a disorderly default. The contagion of such action is completely unpredictable and likely to be more catastrophic than Lehman.

Why is this important? 1. Good policy and orderly cooperative action can avoid total catastrophe. It is vital to realize that while a natural catastrophe like a Tsunami cannot be avoided Financial Tsunamis can be avoided. The math can be done to make a balanced bailout and haircut options that equally effects banks and public services but protects all of us from wholesale disaster. As Christians, we ought to call for balanced sacrifice and wise solutions to avoid undue suffering. This is the compassionate and wise thing to do. 2. Human nature and the realities of life can cause suffering people to do horrible things. Poverty and economic collapse can lead to political instability. These things have happened before and it is unwise to believe that the 21st century is any different than the 20th.

India's Identity Project


With National Database, India Tries to Reach the Poor -

This is a great article about the India Identity Project. This is a project to register all Indians. India is notorious for leaving its despertely poor behind as it "develops". This project is an aim to monitor and measure the lives of the poor and be able to get these suffering people into the benefits process. The aim is to lower significantly corruption and the cost of India's bearocracy. This is great use of technology to move development forward.

It is also headed by the author of Imagining India, Nandan M. Nilekani. Imagining India is on my bed stand waiting to be read.

Currently Reading @ 21st Century Reformation


(image) (image)
My current reading list on the side bar is a bit outdated I need to update BUT here is what I am reading:

1. I just finished    
The Bottom Billion - Paul Collier

2. I am now reading 
Development as Freedom - Amartya Sen

Both are fantastic...highly recommended.

Development or Charity


The Christian Obligation to Be Generous to the PoorOf all the teachings of Jesus certainly laboring for the well being of the poor is of the most central. Any student of Jesus has to be struck by the ethic of sacrificial love and extravagant giving. Consider this teaching recorded in Luke 12:29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.In my own contemplation of Jesus, one of the most compelling aspects of Jesus is that more than anyone else Jesus challenges me to serve the poor. Many other passages of the New Testament challenge the follower of Jesus concerning our obligation to generosity. 1 John 3:16-18 commands the Christians, 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.Clearly, the Christian is to live by different set of values than those who are not followers of Jesus. As Christians, we are to use any discretionary resources to alleviate the suffering of others as opposed to our own luxury and pleasure. While we are called to serve the poor and suffering of the world, the question remains how ought we to go about doing this. Many churches have food pantries. Many churches give to emergency relief funds. Is this the limit of our obligation? Are we merely to give charity and supply for the destitute emergency needs.While we are commanded as followers of Jesus to demonstrate our faith in the love of God by being generous, we are often troubled by the observation that often charity in the form of aid is ineffective. This observation that often charity might actually do harm is quite demotivating. The question of how we are to help and serve the destitute can be answered if we consider the difference between development and charity. To help understand the difference between development and charity or aid, I will make a few definitions. These definitions are not meant as being necessarily technically accurate but simply to be used as tools to help focus our efforts. By charity, I mean giving materially to meet the immediate needs of people. The food pantry is a great example of charity. Currently, the world is seeing a famine in the Horn of Africa which may be the worst of our generation. Certainly, in these situations charity is absolutely necessary. These people need emergency aid and to stand by and watch such suffering is cold and inhumane. Nonetheless, wisdom compels us to think deeper about what we can do to help poor communities. Wisdom compels us to consider the idea of development. Development is the process of growing a person or a community’s capability to provide freedom from suffering for themselves. Development respects the agency of the individual. For example, about one billion people on the planet lack the cap[...]

The Answers from Nouriel Roubini - Project Syndicate


Is Capitalism Doomed? - Nouriel Roubini - Project Syndicate:
This is so important to minimize global suffering. What is required is political courage:
"The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.
Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is – like in the 1930s - unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability."

Famine and Hope in the Horn of Africa - Jeffrey D. Sachs on the Famine in East Africa


(image) Famine and Hope in the Horn of Africa - Jeffrey D. Sachs

It is discouraging how the West, both Europe and America, are ignoring the famine in the form of Africa. The Millennium Village Project is showing some hopeful strategies that the neighboring countries are attempting to use to make efforts more effective and the Islamic Development Bank is responding. Nonetheless, it appears to me that the catastrophe will be horrible if the west does not respond. Read more here

In Praise of Ban Ki-moon - Jeffrey Sachs


(image) Ban Ki-moon and the Age of Sustainable Development
This is a pretty compelling story of the good work of the UN in the last 5 years.

Ban Ki-moon

The Human Problem and the Kingdom (Part 1)


In the last Discipleship 101 post, The Kingdom Solves the Human Problem - Intro, I introduced the revolutionary concept that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The human problem is met with the immediate availability of the Kingdom of heaven. The motto of Christianity that “Jesus is the Christ” means precisely that a new heavenly quality of life, which was previously unavailable to human beings, is now “at hand”. The kingdom is available. This is a revolutionary claim, and, to understand the true revolutionary content of this promise, this gospel, we must see with the human problem with God’s eyes. From God’s perspective, what is wrong with human life?To understand God’s perspective on humanity, to see with God’s eyes, we must must accept one preeminent truth: God is a God of compassion. The living God is the defender of the weak. The second truth we must accept is like the first. This God of compassion has a global perspective. The living God sees the oppression and suffering of the world’s poor, and He hears their cry. To understand the kingdom of heaven and its promise, we must see with the eyes of God and feel with the love of God or we will miss the proper application of the kingdom of God. How can we live in the solution if we do not understand the problem? Only if we know the compassion of God will our perspective look at a world of incomprehensible suffering and define the human problem as God defines the human problem. The human problem is suffering. This suffering is the result of man’s inhumanity to man and this violence and oppression is the result of man’s sinfulness. Looking deeper, we find that this violence and oppression is the result of man’s alienation from God. But before we dig into solutions, solutions that include a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we must look at the problem and, indeed, the problem is oppression and suffering. A Word on Problems and SolutionsWhen I speak of the term “problem”, I am using this word in an almost technical sense. By "problem", I mean the observable concrete circumstance that people find themselves in. By problem, I specifically do not mean the causes or the root causes of these objective problems. For example, war and violence is part of the human problem. I make this distinction between problems and causes because unless our theology solves these ultimate outcomes and observable problems, our theology is worthless and irrelevant. If our "solution" does not solve the "problem" how can we call our solution an actual solution. Our so-called solutions are mere theory. Human existence has very concrete problems which prophets and philosophers have attempted to solve for centuries. The Christian faith is that the solution to the human problem is Jesus Christ. The promise of the bible is that God will bring salvation to solve the human problem that is ever before the eyes of all reflective human beings. We are all aware that humanity has a problem. We are cruel and heartless to one another. If the 20th century taught us anything, it is that something is profoundly wrong with humanity. To say that Jesus is the Christ is to say that Jesus has the solution to these self-evident problems. A Quick Look at the Root Cause of the Human ProblemIn the paragraphs ahead, I will look at the details of the human problem by looking at the first chapters of genesis, but for n[...]