A Thought Experiment … Dropping the “G” From Kingdom

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Jesus taught us to pray ”Thy kingdom come.” He also taught, “The kingdom is already here in your midst.”

How do you put those two together? Some emphasize one or the other.

Let’s explore what happens when you drop the letter “G” and think of a “Kin-dom.”

Kingdom or Kin-dom

The terms “kingdom” and “kin-dom” have different meanings and connotations:

“Kingdom” implies hierarchy, power dynamics, and a system of governance often characterized by the concentration of power in the hands of a few. Today “kingdom” is often used metaphorically to refer to any hierarchical organization or dominant system.

On the other hand, “kin-dom” flattens the pyramid.

The term “kin” refers to family or relatives. Kin-dom” emphasizes a community based on kinship, cooperation, and mutual support.  (Think of the prayer Jesus taught – OUR Father.)

Overall, “kingdom” emphasizes hierarchy and power dynamics, while “kin-dom” emphasizes the sense of community, cooperation, and mutual support we expect of family and kin.

Kin-dom highlights the idea that all individuals are interconnected. Each has a responsibility to care for others.

Jesus’ concept of God’s people

Remember, Jesus spoke of the kingdom in the male-dominated patriarchal culture of his time.

Could it be that today kin-dom captures more of how Jesus fills in the frame created by “Our Father?”

Jesus spoke of something richer than a political or earthly empire but a spiritual reality that is both present and future. He explained it in terms of justice, love, mercy, and compassion, open to all people regardless of their social status or background.

The description of the eternal banquet seems more in harmony with a family celebration. Think of the last judgement scene … “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters you did to me.” It is the bridge between now and the fulfillment of the future.

Opportunities of “kin-dom-thinking”

Thinking of kin-dom emphasizes the importance of understanding God and our relationship with God. In the kin-dom, God is not a distant, authoritarian ruler, but a loving parent who cares for all of us equally.

Thinking of kin-dom highlights the importance of relationships and interconnectedness. In the kin-dom, everyone is interconnected and interdependent. We are all called to care for one another.

Thinking kin-dom encourages everyone to recognize solidarity and justice. In the kin-dom, everyone is called to work for the common good and to promote justice for all, especially the marginalized and vulnerable.

Thinking of kin-dom invites us to rethink our understanding of power and authority. In the kin-dom, everyone has a role to play in building up the community, and decisions are made through a process of dialogue and discernment that involves everyone.

Pope Francis seems to be a “kin-dom thinker”

Pope Francis writes in “Fratelli Tutti,” building the kingdom of God requires us to reject a culture of walls that divides people and creates fear and suspicion, and instead to embrace a culture of encounter and dialogue. We must be willing to listen to others, to acknowledge their dignity and worth as human beings, and to seek common ground in the pursuit of the common good.

Building the kin-dom of God is not easy. It requires us to reject the polarized culture of our world and embrace a different way of living and being. But we are not alone in this task. We have the support and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we have each other – our brothers and sisters in Christ – to support and encourage us along the way.

Isn’t that what Pope Francis associates with a “synodal church?”

What can you agree with or challenge … and why?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk


1 Comment

  1. Kathy Byrnes

    How true in saying kin-dom instead of kingdom! I would go a step further especially since Jesus was talking in a male dominated patriarchal culture. Yes he used “kingdom” and “Father” yet God is beyond us, neither male nor female. Jesus had an intimate relationship with his Abba which I/we aspire to also. My God is not “Father” but a growing into relationship with the mystery of Love itself.