The Upside Down Kingdom

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“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” Acts 17:6-7

We who make our feeble attempts to emulate Jesus are viewed by the upside down culture as the upside downers. It’s a matter of perspective. God’s ways, especially those described and prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount, are only “upside down” in proportion to a culture that thinks of itself as “right side up.”

I heard that in the science of the human eye the image projected on our retina is upside down. I guess our brain compensates for it somehow and makes everything come out right. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me, but since smarter people than me say it, I’ll buy it. Maybe God’s perspective in contrast to ours works that way.

We call Jesus’ way the “upside down” way only because it appears so in contrast to the way we commonly conduct ourselves. It’s so contrary to logic and human nature it appears upside down. Appearances notwithstanding, this is the way God meant for our highest functionality from the beginning. Any other way is unnatural and corrosive.

Jesus shattered stereotypes and upended norms. Peter Maurin, the eccentric cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement, said: “If I am crazy, it’s because I refuse to be crazy in the same way that the world has gone crazy.” Likewise, Paul the Apostle called himself a “fool for Christ.”


This is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

As such, I’d appreciate your feedback on this post and others to come in order to make the final copy publish-worthy.

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