How did America manage to elect (so it is argued) its most liberal senator to be President? Why is our Maori Party (here in Aotearoa NZ) on the verge of agreeing to support a National Party-led government? How come in recent days we learn from America that its much debated, election turning decisions about government financing of dodgy mortgages are to be revisited ('they know not what they do'?!). We live in interesting times with challenges which are beyond 'interesting' since they are part of a new development in the story of the Western world - a story which can feel a little scary since we do not quite feel authors of our destiny and freely wonder if the eschaton lies over in the next page.
For the church in the West this is a hugely challenging time. Our greatest challenge (IMHO) is to renew our understanding of the gospel of the kingdom and to translate it into the language of our times. Just as John translated 'kingdom of God' into 'eternal life' for Ephesus in the 80s and Paul proposed 'in Christ' as its meaning for much of the Mediterranean of the 50s, we need to translate the gospel for the 2000s. Our translation needs to key into the inclusiveness of 'in Christ', the stability and permanence of the 'kingdom of God', and the hope and promise of the better day of 'eternal life'. From Luke's Gospel we can especially draw on Jesus' critique of wealth. From Mark's Gospel we can witness to the transformative power of Jesus.
Like Obama, we need to audacity to hope and the ambition to bring transformation to the world!