Reblogged from progressiveredneckpreacher:
Baptist preacher Clarence Jordan became convinced that the Gospel was not just about a personal encounter with the living Jesus – which Jordan had himself at the start of his Christian journey, and very much believed in. It was also about social transformation and about reconciling all people as one. Influenced by early Christian progressives like Walter Rauschenbusch, Jordan began to preach that our faith was as much about the Kingdom of God as it was about a personal experience of Jesus through “being saved” or “being born again”.
Rauschenbusch pointed out that Jesus preached more about the Kingdom of God than personal experiences of God, with most of his sermons being parables of this Kingdom. What is the Kingdom? It is
the energy of God realizing itself in human life … [ to affect] the redemption of social life from the cramping influence of religious bigotry, from the repression of self-assertion in the relation of upper and lower classes, and from forms of slavery in which humans are treated as mere means to serve the ends of others… [It is] the redemption of society from political autocracies and economic ogliarchies; the substitution of redemptive for vindictive [forms of justice]; the abolition of constraint through hunger as a part of the industrial system; and the abolition of war as the supreme expression of hate and the completest cessation of freedom. (A Theology for the Social Gospel)
In short it is about answering the prayer of Jesus “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven”. Jordan looked around at the Jim Crow south divided by very stark differences of rich and poor and of black and white, and knew it needed a witness to the call to the kingdom Jesus gave, a call to transform society into a place where all are welcomed as equal, with equal access to the table, and equal voice regardless of background, class, or race.