One of the most beautiful and enduring themes of religion is the idea that someday, this imperfect world will be made more perfect, transformed into a world in conformity with higher ideals — in Christian parlance, the “Kingdom of God on earth.”
I believe the vision of the Divine Kingdom should be all-embracing, not limited to one particular religion or religious tradition. If there is only one God, who is the God of all people, then that God cannot be limited by the perceptions or conceptions of one particular group of people. And if we want to talk about the “Kingdom” (or “Reign”) of God in our world, we therefore must realize that this reign transcends the boundaries human beings create in setting up their own little kingdoms, whether political or religious or whatever else.
Some Charismatic Christians call themselves “Kingdom” in their spirituality, yet seem to think the Kingdom of God is primarily found within the walls of the church — their own particular type of church. I don’t see how this is meaningfully different than the age-old claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on earth.
You could speak in tongues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, like a computer voice synthesizer running continuously, producing an endless stream of random syllables, and you wouldn’t be one millimeter closer to the Kingdom of God. You could eat the eucharistic bread and drink the wine every day, filling your stomach religiously with what is said to be the body and blood of Christ, and you wouldn’t be one millimeter closer to the Kingdom of God.
Building God’s Kingdom on earth is not about churches and religious traditions. It is about working to create a world of peace, love, kindness, compassion, understanding and reconciliation, and true happiness, meaning, purpose, and dignity for all people. Religion may either help or hinder that goal. But the goal is what matters, not the religion that might endorse it.
We should always ask ourselves: What am I doing to further this great and noble goal? How am I working to build the Kingdom of God through my actions in the world at large, not just the world of the church?