The Kingdom of God is Not a Franchise
by Mark Votava
In the corporate culture world all you see is the franchise. There is very little room for the local, organic way of life that is relational. We have to fit everything into our franchise box.
- Nothing is creative or unique
Nothing is creative. Nothing is unique. Everything is predicable. Everything is boring.
- What has happened to beautiful ways of life?
What has happened to the beautiful ways of life that Jesus taught us to live out? Why is life about prefabricated clichés, boxes and franchised ways of life. Our North American life has turned into a programed box that we cannot quite seem to escape.
- We are not allowed to defy our status quo traditions
We are told who we are. We are not allowed to defy the status quo traditions of family, religion, education, economy, culture, society and media. But maybe I don’t want what is safe, familiar and predictable. I want to be alive and not feel boxed in by a franchise approach to life.
C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison write, “You can’t franchise the kingdom of God…”
- The kingdom of God is a mystery that lives inside of us
The kingdom of God is a mystery that lives inside of us. This mystery is not a franchise at all. It is evolving our human consciousness constantly. It is about love and compassion in the midst of our world.
- We are created in the image of God
We are the light of the world. We are created in the image of God. We are beautiful and authentic beings who long to discover our true self. There is no greater mystery than this.
- Stop conforming to black and white structures
I used to copy what everyone else did. My spirituality conformed to some black and white structure. But I am coming to see that this is seriously unhealthy and is not the way that life is supposed to be lived.
- Developing boundaries
Developing boundaries in my life was essential for me to move into what I thought was authentic for me. Others don’t always understand my decisions, but that is okay. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I have learned to say no which is a good thing at times.
- The body of Christ is an organic community
The body of Christ is an organic community not a franchise. We must work to protect this organic community from becoming an oppressive franchise in the world we live in. There are too many examples of oppressive franchises and not enough organic, relational community in everyday life together.
- Leave us on a path of upward mobility and greed
Why do we settle for the franchised status quo? This is seriously not good for our health, sanity or sustainability as a way to be human. Franchises destroy our humanity and leave us on a path of upward mobility and greed. In this narrative we no longer care for our neighbors.
- Care more about money, greed and possessions than people
Franchises care more about money, greed and possessions than about people. The kingdom of God is so much more than this as it leads us to value the marginalized, the oppressed and those that corporations leave in poverty with no dignity. Franchises have virtually no conscience.
- Free, alive, creative, merciful, compassionate, loving and graceful
The kingdom of God is free, alive, creative, merciful, compassionate, loving and graceful. When we lose touch with the spirit of the kingdom of God we lose touch with what makes us most truly human. We lose our lives to hatred, bitterness, resentment, unkindness, disrespect, judgment and apathy. I want to never lose touch with love.
- The path of freedom, life and authenticity
This is the path of freedom, life and authenticity. I have no interest in being a part of a franchise, but desire to follow in the ways of the kingdom of God. I desire to base my dreams around something more beautiful than a franchise. I want to be my true self and a franchise has no part in the process.
How can we discover the kingdom of God within us?