Recently I read This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley, pastor at Imago Dei in Portland. (A huge thanks to the lovely friend who purchased this off my wishlist for me!) I’ve been meaning to blog some thoughts from it for a while, and thanks to Kate’s prompting, that day is today.

McKinley’s book is a very readable, straightforward look at the kingdom message Jesus presented in the Gospels – and by straightforward I mean, he talks about what it would look like and how it would impact us if Jesus really meant the things he said. Things like, become like little children, or about not pulling out the weeds lest you pull out the wheat too.

One of the aspects that I found most challenging was thinking about how to become like little children. How can I learn from kids? Rick talks about how they are exploring this at Imago Dei through Learning Labs, and encourages us to think outside the box and allow children to teach us. Play with kids in the dirt and learn the basics again: God is big. God made worms.

“I think it announced, in the strongest terms possible, the revolution of Jesus – that it was here, authentic, costly, and worth everything. Every welt and lump and scar on Paul’s battered body announced the beautiful reality of the kingdom of God.”

Rick talks about this idea of strategic suffering, and its the other major thing that struck me. I go so far out of my way to avoid suffering if at all possible, but the disciples, and many modern day saints, are living lives of strategic suffering. What would it look like if I put your needs above my comfort? If I really stuck my neck out for you? I reckon my life would look a lot different to how it does now.

A few more quotes I like…

“When Jesus talked about the kingdom, He never talked about us building it or advancing it. Never. He said, “The kingdom is…” He simply invited His followers to see it, embrace it, believe in the unfading reality of it.”

“Relevance comes from relationship – it means we matter to someone, he or she matters to us, and we both know it.”

“We’re finding that the genius of the kingdom is nearly always in simplicity. We keep asking: What’s the need? And how can we meet it simply?”

“To be human is to live with loose ends, with people and in a world of loose ends, feeling you’ve been made for perfection but knowing you can’t get there on your own.”

Holly was reading this too… want to balance out my view?