Have you ever noticed that whenever Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God in scripture, he doesn't talk about worship services, church buildings, and Bible study? He instead seems to relate it to the ideology of restoration, redemption, and wholeness.
I have a confesson to make. I watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I'm not really into the whole "Trading Spaces" genre, and I won't bore you with how I wound up watching this show for the first time, but believe me, this is out of character for me. Even so, as a follower of Jesus, I'm facinated by it.
First of all, it is a metaphor for redemption. They don't level these rundown houses and start over. They redeem the existing structure into something much grander than any observer could have imagined.
Secondly, I have another confession to make. I have teared up at the end of every single episode I have seen. This show targets the downtrodden; people who's lives have fallen apart. It intentionally lifts up those people who life has beaten down. I've never seen any of the design team or the producers of the show make any claims of Christianity, but what they do "looks like Jesus". In addition, 9 times out of 10, the people who are helped wind up thanking/praising God at the end of the show! That is facinating to me. Nowhere in the show is God mentioned until the end when most of the people being helped recognize His hand.
It makes me wonder about the church. One of the reasons that I tear up is because I keep thinking "shouldn't the church be doing stuff like that?" Maybe if we devoted more time to really lifting up the downtrodden and the brokenhearted, they might recognize the Hand of God more readily than if we keep trying to shove dogma down their throats.