Meaningless and Meaning-full

These phrases strike me as being virtually devoid of meaning:

1. “One of the most … ”  (and its ne’er-do-well brother “some of the most”)

2.  “Save up to X%!” (or its fraternal twin “prices as low as $X”)

3.  “Separate and apart from the Lord’s Supper, …” (used in attempts to introduce, and justify the sequence [existence?] of, the offering or collection in the liturgy)

On the other hand, the statements below are chock full of meaning and inspiration:

My kingdom is not from this world.  If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.  But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.  – Jesus (John 18, NRSV)

For we no longer take up sword against nation, nor do we learn war any more, having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.”  ‑ Origen of Alexandria (3rd century CE, Against Celsus 5.33)

Constantine introduced a fatal confusion into Christ’s religion, said [Roger] Williams, when he created this political-religious, messy mixture called Christendom.  It is because of Christendom that we have come to speak of Christian nations, Christian States, Christian institutions.  For Williams, there were no such things.  There was only Christianity, a truth that dwells only in the hearts and souls of women and men.  It is not found in kingdoms, for kingdoms do not convert, do not enter into heaven.  ‑ Edwin Gaustad (2005, Roger Williams, 98-99).

[W]hen everyone became a church member in the Christian empire, both the level of discipleship in the church and the level of expectation for the inbreaking of God’s new order in their midst diminished in tandem. – C. Leonard Allen (2004, Things Unseen, 166)

Righteousness and purity entailed for the Brethren a radical separation from the values and ways of the world.  Thus, no Anabaptist could serve as a ruler or magistrate in an earthly kingdom—a calling the Brethren viewed as diametrically opposed to service in the Kingdom of Christ.  The Brethren also proclaimed a rigorous pacifism and refused to fight under any circumstances….  To the Brethren, non-resistance was simply the Master’s chosen path.  ‑ Richard T.  Hughes (1988, “Restoring an Apostolic Lifestyle:  Anabaptists,” in C. Leonard Allen and Richard Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 131)

[Not accommodating themselves to] American culture through deism, patriotism, and materialism[s], Lipscomb and Harding … promoted a kingdom vision that saw the world differently than either the right or left.  ‑ John Mark Hicks, Bobby Valentine (2006, Kingdom Come, 17)

Whoever awaits God’s revolution will not wish to waste his time sewing new patches on old cloth.  ‑ Erich Grässer (1974, “Understanding the Kingdom of God,”)


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