At Big Tent Christianity last month Marcus Borg was asked how to avoid getting overwhelmed by kingdom work—that is, pursuing reconciliation, caring for the planet, spreading the gospel, loving neighbors, loving enemies, working for justice, celebrating beauty, and advancing peace.
“It’s like being part of a quilter’s group,” he responded. “Don’t worry about the entire quilt; just focus on your square.”
You don’t have to like Borg’s theology…or even his exact definition of “kingdom”… to appreciate that metaphor as it relates to the Christian life. Ever since I heard it, I’ve been asking myself, so what’s my square in the kingdom quilt?
I care a lot about helping people through doubt.
I care a lot about addressing the unique questions my generation is asking.
I care a lot about finding better, more constructive ways to engage the Bible.
I care a lot about rural poverty and women’s access to education.
I’m sure that over time it will change, but right now I imagine my little square to be made up of an eclectic assortment of earth-toned scraps—scraps from my evangelical upbringing, from my hometown in the Bible Belt, from my parents, from my culture, from my experiences—arranged into a pattern that looks like a path. Right now I feel most called to help myself and my generation take elements of the faith we inherited and turn them into something new, something that is our own.
When I focus on that square I thrive. When I focus on that square I can relax and enjoy the friendly chatter around the circle as others work diligently on their own.
What about you? What does your square in the kingdom quilt look like?
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