Tomorrow sports "the Beatitudes," the incredible prologue to Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount." In the Gospel of Matthew, this opens a three chapter manifesto on the values of the kingdom, values which are out of step with (if not hostile to) the values of the world in which we expend most of our resources, including thought and effort.
In "Follow Me to Freedom," co-author Shane Claiborne gives some thoughts that might make for good preaching on the Beatitudes:
"But we are not just troublemakers for the sake of making trouble - we are people who plot goodness and whose commitment to the upside-down kingdom of God collides with the patterns of the world we live in...
After all, the same Paul who wrote in Romans 13 that we are to submit to the authorities uses the same word in Ephesians to say we wrestle against the spiritual demonic 'authorities.' The same Paul who said that the authorities are established by God ends up in jail for subverting them...
Simply put, just because the authorities are established by God doesn't mean God approves of them...the same way a librarian can order books on a shelf."
There are other good thoughts in this vein provided by Anglican blogger Sanctus, who applies them unsparingly to the church when it "falls in love with the things of this world,"
"They did not expect him to take on the enemy within. But that is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came to cleanse the temple and drive out those who had turned it into a den of robbers. The ones he came to judge first were those who should have known better. But they were 'in love with this present world' and did not realize their love affair was little more than a form of spiritual adultery."