Transcendent and Subversive


So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ,
Act like it and seek the transcendent realities,
Where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your thoughts on transcendent realities,
Don’t only think about things here on the earth.

Your old life is dead.
Your new life, which is your real life,
(even though invisible to spectators)
Is with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world,
Then you also will be revealed, the real you, the glorious you.


Therefore, put to death the sinful and base things lurking within you:
Sexual promiscuity
Shameful desire
The idolatry of greed

Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to do them when your life was still part of this world.
But now you must put them all away.

Get these things out of your mouth:
Foul language

Don’t lie to one another — you’re done with that old self,
And have put on the new self,
Which is continually being renewed in a true knowledge
According to the image of its Creator.

In this new life it doesn’t matter if you are:
Jewish or Gentile
Circumcised or Uncircumcised
Sophisticated or Unsophisticated
Backward and Uneducated
Poor or Rich
Christ is what counts — all and in all.

(Paraphrase of Colossians 3:1-11 adapted from NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NLT, The Message and Thayer’s Greek Definitions)

Transcendent and Subversive
Overcoming with the risen Christ.
Undermining the fallen world order.

I was praying in the Upper Room last week, praying through the Five Words.
I had this thought:

CROSS = a costly Christianity
MYSTERY = a mystical Christianity
ECLECTIC = a rich Christianity
COMMUNITY = a shared Christianity

But when I came to the fifth word, REVOLUTION, I was stumped for a moment. So I prayed, “What is revolutionary Christianity?” Immediately this shot into my mind:

REVOLUTION = a subversive Christianity

the attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or system by people working from within.

So is Christianity a subversive Kingdom?


Jesus said:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:33)

G.K. Chesterton said it this way:

“Christianity, even when watered down, is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags. The mere minimum of the Church would be a deadly ultimatum to the world.” (Orthodoxy, The Eternal Revolution)

First John the Baptist, then Jesus, came making this startling and subversive announcement: God’s Kingdom is now invading the world! Jesus made it clear that this kingdom would upset the established order of the old kingdoms. If you really hear what Jesus was saying in its historical and cultural context, you will realize that Jesus was not uttering harmless pious platitudes, but what he was saying was incendiary, revolutionary and subversive. When Jesus said things like, many who are first will be last, and the last first, the Pharisees and Sadducees certainly understood this as undermining their power structure.

In his death, burial and resurrection, Jesus formed the new kingdom, the new covenant, the new Israel and the new humanity. In time, this new world that Jesus had formed would turn the old world upside down.

When the Apostle Paul began to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in the Gentile world it was like a spearhead being thrust into the heart of the Roman Empire. After a few centuries the entire Empire had been undermined by the subversive message of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Authentic Christianity has always been a subversive threat to the Babylon of the established fallen world order.

Accommodating Christianity has always been an accomplice to Babylon; serving as a chaplain to the culture of the fallen world order.

Authentic Christianity is a danger. A danger to any system established upon the values of Babylon.

Accommodating Christianity is a whore. A whore selling religious favors for the price of public approval.

I refuse to be a chaplain to the culture of the fallen world order.

I refuse to be an accomplice in the deception called “the American dream.”

I refuse to be a priest offering peace offerings on the altar of the status quo.

I am a dangerous Christian. I am a subversive.

I believe the kingdoms of this world are doomed to destruction.

I believe the kingdoms of this world will be replaced by the Kingdom of Christ.

I believe that Kingdom is already at work, undermining the foundations of Babylon.

Alison Morgan in her brilliant book, The Wild Gospel, says:

“We stand, in the church, at the end of a long process of accommodation in which we have unconsciously sought to harmonize the gospel with the assumptions of our culture, a culture which in abandoning the quest for absolute truth has embraced a new set of values — rationalistic, materialistic, technological, and reductionist. The effect has been that we have gradually turned the gospel from something subversive and life-changing to something tamed, packaged and institutionalized; from something expressed in words of power to something conveyed, if it is conveyed at all, in words of information.”

The fallen world order of the decedent West is governed by three things:
MONEY, SEX and SELF (to put it positively)
GREED, LUST and PRIDE (to put it negatively)

I am actively at work to undermine these three pillars of Babylon. Not by protest or political means (those are not the methods of a subversive), but by influencing people to transfer their loyalty from Babylon to the New Jerusalem. When a person really does transfer their loyalty to the New Jerusalem, the controlling characteristics of greed, lust and pride lose their hold upon the person and they become a counterculture Kingdom subversive. This is how the world is turned upside down!

Mysticism and subversion go together.

Mysticism is seeking the transcendent realities of the risen Christ and the resurrected life.

Subversion is adopting the values of the New Jerusalem which undermines the demonic trinity of Babylon: Greed, lust and pride.

We must be both culturally aware and counterculture. Immersed in the culture as the yeast in the dough but distinct from it. Only in this way can we transform our culture.

Be transcendent and subversive!

Be mystical and revolutionary!


Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem.”


What I’m reading:

The Wild Gospel: Bringing Truth to Life by Alison Morgan

Francis of Assisi: A Revolutionary Life
by Adrian House
(Thank you, dinosaurs!)