© 2014 John Casimir O'Keefe

Left Behind and Koinology

The other day I wrote an article centering on the idea of the Second Coming [here] and the whole “Left Behind” series and how centering on the Second Coming distorts our understanding of Koinology (the theology of a community of faith). In looking over the stats for my blog it was well received (over 1,150 people read the article in three days). While not a record for an article on my site, it is impressive. However, after rereading the article (yeah, I tend to do that – being dyslexic, and without an editor at hand, I try to make sure things read right) something kept knocking around in my head.

While rereading the article, I started to think more about the whole “Left Behind” craze and how it relates to The Naked Jesus; I felt something was amiss. It had nothing to do with what I wrote, I stand behind that, I just felt something was missing. I could not put my finger on it, but something started to creep in my brain – I missed something; it felt like it was something big, something major, something that escaped me, something that started with a small, light tapping on my frontal lobe and grew larger as time passed. If you know me, or have read anything I wrote, you know that if that happens I have to write, because if not – that light tapping on my frontal lobe will turn into a full out assault and cause my head to explode, and it was on the verge of exploding.

As I started to rethink this whole Left Behind thing, I started to think in a different direction, one that many people do not think of when they speak about being Left Behind – One that, I pray, will make you think – I started to think of all those we, as a society, as a church – have Left Behind.

When we say, or hear, Left Behind our minds tend to drift to the Second Coming, but should it? When we say, or hear, Left Behind, I want our minds to focus on our relationship with others based on the First Coming. Let me see if I can get the words out of my head, the clock is ticking.

I started this process asking myself ‘what is the difference, if any, between being Left Behind based on the Second Coming and the First Coming?’ I have concluded that there is; when we see people as being left behind based on the Second Coming, we think of them in some kind of “future thought” as to say, “you missed out on the salvation narrative.” Now, we can discuss whether this is a proper interpretation of the collective narrative, or not – but that is a debate left for another day. However, when we think in terms of those left behind based on the First Coming, we are talking about the marginalized, those we pass by each day. Those we have no desire to enter into a relationship with; those we feel might cause us to actually put our faith into action. Think of it this way, those left behind because of the Second Coming are on the Divine, but those we leave behind based on the First Coming, well they are on us. We have the ability to make sure no one is left behind, marginalized, now because of our theology, our words, or our actions, or lack thereof. We need to remember that Christ marginalized no one, so we are to marginalize no one as well.

When we leave out others, we are saying their lives have no meaning to us; that may sound harsh, but if we are honest with ourselves, we see it as truth. Think about that. Because they have no meaning to us we refuse to develop an intimacy with them. This hurts not only them but us as well. We have to remember all humans are created by the Divine to have meaning, to live in intimacy with each other (koinonia); to seek joy in our lives, to seek others to connect with; we are a communal creation created to live in a Koinology. When we ignore the idea of community, common unity, (koinonia) we ignore the Divine’s call in our lives. Because we focuses our faith journey more on right thinking, we miss the reality of loving others, we focus more on judging others and less on welcoming them into our faith journey, into our Koinology. When we do this, we define our faith journey by looking inward at what makes us comfortable and less on looking outward to see the Divines movement in the world around us. We lose our connection with what a community of faith should be, and turn it into a country club.

The reality for a Christ centered community of faith is that no one should be left behind, left out, there should be no marginalized people in our community. Sure, it is hard to do, but it is what we should be striving to accomplish; yes it is messy, but I can assure you it is worth the mess. We should move from the stale air of religion and move out towards the fresh air of an open community and make sure no one is left behind.

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