Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two Triangles

I’m thinking about how I raise my children, and how that compares to how I want to raise my children. I live in a society that has chosen to ignore its children, and is now surprised when they turn out ‘bad’: gangs; Anti-Social Behaviour Orders; murdering each other with knives…And, shaped in part by my society as I am, I find myself habitually not giving my children my full attention when they look for it from me…

What do I want to pass on to my children? The unpacking of two big ideas: covenant, and kingdom.

Within the Covenant, we experience God as FATHER. This Father God gives us a new IDENTITY, as his children; which in turn enables us to OBEY his call to bring blessing to those living alongside us.

Within the Kingdom, we experience Jesus as KING. The King gives his followers AUTHORITY to be ambassadors of his kingdom; authority which is validated by POWER to bring blessing to those living alongside us.

As my friend and Senior Guardian of The Order of Mission, Mike Breen, points out, there is a correlation between Covenant and Kingdom. Employing the triangle model, we might articulate it by placing one on top of the other, so that AUTHORITY correlates with IDENTITY, and POWER correlates with OBEY.

The more you grow in your identity as a child of the Father, the greater the spiritual authority you are able to exercise. And as you grow in exercising spiritual authority, the more you grow into your identity as a child of God.

The more we grow in obedience to the Father, the less resistance there is in us to his power at work in and through us, and thus the greater the spiritual power we are able to exercise. And as we grow in exercising spiritual power, the more we grow into obedience.

This correlation means that we grow through indirect effort. If you want to complete a marathon, you don’t just start running and try to get further each day: you attend to your diet, do weights at the gym…that’s indirect effort. If you want to be happy, you don’t achieve it by trying to capture happiness: you find that you are happy in the midst of choosing to love other people…and that’s indirect effort too.

So, if you want to grow in authority, spend time discovering identity; if you want to grow in power, work on the discipline of obedience.

Likewise, if God pours out his power in your life, and you don’t want it to dissipate, don’t focus on the power: pay attention to obeying the covenant call to bring blessing to those living alongside us. If God pours out his power on your community, pay attention to nurturing the community identity, so that together you can obey: don’t just play with the power…

If identity isn’t the key battle ground for the children of our nation, then I don’t know what is. If they aren’t interested in exercising authority and power, I don’t know what the ‘bad news’ stories are about. I don’t just want to pass on to my children what I need to know about covenant and kingdom because I’m some sort of religious obsessive. I want to pass it on because I believe it will address things God has put in our collective children’s hearts, more fully than they will find these things fulfilled anywhere else…


  1. good to have you back, as well as a reflection on Mike's teaching.
    Keep in touch.

    Love the Burgi.

  2. Thanks for that,
    as a farther (and a son) that is inspiring and encouraging.