taking the words of Jesus seriously

This week marks ten years since the occupation of Afghanistan started. I’ve just sat down to throw some thoughts on paper in between speaking engagements in New Zealand. The news here is all Rugby World Cup and the sad death of Steve Jobs. He was too young and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. A mate of mine sent me a quote from Steve Jobs that I keep thinking about, “Your time on this earth is limited, don’t live someone else’s life, live by your vision.”

Vision shapes our lives. And in Jesus we have seen not only seen a vision of God’s fullness, we have seen God’s vision for our lives and our world.

It is with God’s vision, the kingdom that reflects our nonviolent King Jesus, that we learn to see differently, so we might live differently. For me, God’s vision for our world means I can’t forget the lives of 8 million people in the horn of Africa whose lives are threatened with famine. Though the names of these sisters and brothers wont trend on twitter nor make headlines, with kingdom vision I can see these lives are just as precious in God’s sight as mine, or yours, or Steve’s.

With kingdom vision I can see the significance of the death of Wangari Maathai in a new light. While news of her death might have made most papers, the story of this extraordinary Christian woman didn’t make the front page like the Rugby World Cup. Yet this nonviolent eco-warrior who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for tireless work of connecting the dots between ecology and economics, conflict and climate change, the Holy Scriptures and holy soil had a vision that was deeply earthed in God’s kingdom vision. I thank God for her work and witness and how she waged peace with an army of empowered women, whose weapons were reading Scripture, reflecting on the land and planting trees to challenge governments and corporations who valued greedy short term gains over God’s good creation.

Particularly in the context of the #OccupyWallStreet movement, which Cornel West is convinced is continuing Martin Luther King’s call for “democratic revolution, ” there are a number of things that keep coming up for me in prayer that I will share with you on this tenth year of war in Afghanistan that we might think critically, pray courageously and act prophetically in witness to God’s nonviolent kingdom vision;

  • I arrived in New Zealand and heard about the death of yet another Kiwi solider killed in Afghanistan. This comes on the back of a friend at work who buried a family member this month after yet another Aussie solider returned from Afghanistan in a coffin draped in a flag.
  • The voices of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers who, Kathy Kelly, Simon Moyle, Noam Chomsky, I and others recently had the opportunity to listen to as they told us what is really happening in Afghanistan.
  • The reality that while nations seek to keep their heads above the seas of this ongoing financial crisis (a crisis that is an inevitable result of the current gnostic economics that dominate the modern market; as we don’t trade in material goods but gamble on ideas of return) they are wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on this unwinnable war.
  • Yet the greatest cost is to the tens of thousands of children who have been killed in this war in Afghanistan.

I’m not sure where you stand on the war on Afghanistan or on the #occupywallstreet movement. I would encourage you to ask that question with three things in mind today:

1.  Steve Job’s words, “Your time on this earth is limited, don’t live someone else’s life”

2.  This challenge from Martin Luther King Jr. “there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”

3.  (of ultimate significance) God’s vision revealed in the life of Jesus.

Let us together keep prayerfully seeking God’s vision, the nonviolent kingdom that reflects Jesus, our crucified, yet resurrected, King.

Jarrod McKenna is the National Advisor for Youth, Faith and Activism for World Vision Australia. He is a peace award winning founder of EPYC and co-founder of the Peace Tree Intentional Community in Perth. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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About The Author


Australian pastor and social change educator, Jarrod McKenna, has been described by Rev. Jim Lawson, as “an expert in nonviolent social change.” Jarrod is the Founding Director of CommonGrace.org.au, a co-initiator of the #LoveMakesAWay movement for refugee rights and is a co-founder of the global GazaCeasefirePilgrimage.com movement. Jarrod pastors with Steeple Church in Melbourne and Table in the Trees in Perth, and is the co-founder of the InVerse Podcast and Collective with Dr Drew Hart. He is living on Wadjuk Noongar land, found on most maps as Perth, Australia, with the love of his life Kathleen and their boys.

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