What Kind of Place is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth ?

iBrian

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Apologies - a couple of posts by Godtears got caught by the anti-spam filter - now approved. :)
 

Marsh

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I like you Marsh, but read between lines, and look at the bigger picture, bro. No matter how small our blessings may seem, they are large enough to share with others, whereby we ourselves become the blessing. Do you honestly believe that we are to sit idle and simply wait for something better? Again, Do you really expect to inherit something you aren't willing to work for today?

No, I don't think that man was created to sit. I also don't believe that man was created to be glorified. I think that man was created to work. And I think that the simple works of man are what is beautiful in God's eyes: that his creation would be satisfied with the simple things in life.

IMAGINE THIS: A world full of people who are content with what they've been given, because they know who God is, and give thanks to him for whatever they've been given (i.e. the parable of the talents). To me, this is the beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven. What you describe would also be wonderful, if it was possible, but in realistic terms I really don't think it is possible because there are just too many ambitious people inside the churches of this world, who are serving not for God's sake, but for their own.

My wife and I started a charity in Vietnam to help the village where she's from. It's simple, and it's quite effective. No church we've ever been part of has ever wanted anything to do with our charity, because it's not CHURCH-SANCTIONED. That is to say, if they don't get their name set up as the headliner, they're not interested in playing. That is the reality that we're dealing with, guy; you're heart's in the right place, but you're looking at things as if the world is an ideal place where everything that should happen will happen, and that just ain't the way it is.

Remember: Jesus traveled with the gospel, but he seldom looked for an audience; the crowds generally came to him. My wife and immediate family-in-law converted to Christianity not because of anything I ever said to them, but because they saw the way that I treat others, compared it with the way that other people act, and saw that Christ is real. That's the irony of the whole thing: churches have acted as if one needs to endeavour to teach people about Christ, as if Jesus is a tough pill to swallow.
 

taijasi

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Marsh said:
[your] heart's in the right place, but you're looking at things as if the world is an ideal place where everything that should happen will happen, and that just ain't the way it is.
Or, maybe some can just see past your future, Marsh. It's humbling, but I think you need to consider that.

And by your I don't just mean your own future, I mean ANY future in which people still haven't caught on. I think you recognize that it WOULD be nice IF people caught on. Now consider, there are many, MANY who work for just such a future. I may only know a few hundred personally, but I also know that there are many thousands. In fact, probably tens - maybe hundreds - of thousands.

Some have said that it might only take, say 10% of the world's population to catch on. Then the rest would follow suit, if only because it's trendy at first, but later because they can see with their own eyes what a difference it makes. And I believe that. We're getting there, just give us time ... and help, as you're doing! :)

Apparently, quite a few other folks believe in this vision and set of Ideals too. Some are Christian; some aren't. Some are religious, some aren't. Doesn't seem to matter, if your heart's in the right place. But I do agree that it takes Active Intelligence in addition to a pure heart and good intentions. That Intelligence has to WORK itself out, through our actions, as you indicate. It has been said,
"There is no human problem that cannot be solved with intelligence and love."
 

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Genesis 11
KJV
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
(*This is curious as the scripture is quite clear that ".....For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace....(1Cor:14:33)". Yet here it is very definite that God was the author of the worlds confusion which diminished humanities ability to accomplish great things)

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

A few other translations of this verse:
NIV
(If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.)

WEB (Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do.)

NAS (Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.)

Several things are apparent from this text:
-People can do amazing things once we learn to communicate with each other...even God recognized this.
-Somehow this ability to do amazing things pissed God off significantly enough for action to be taken wherein our ability to communicate was scrambled somehow.

So communication is key if we are ever to build a world situation which would qualify as being excellent and civilized.
But, are we exempt from being confused again, if we actually are able to overcome the barrier of confusion? , or will God confound people yet again, dooming us to even more millenia of barbarism?
 

Marsh

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Or, maybe some can just see past your future, Marsh. It's humbling, but I think you need to consider that.

And by your I don't just mean your own future, I mean ANY future in which people still haven't caught on. I think you recognize that it WOULD be nice IF people caught on. Now consider, there are many, MANY who work for just such a future. I may only know a few hundred personally, but I also know that there are many thousands. In fact, probably tens - maybe hundreds - of thousands.

Some have said that it might only take, say 10% of the world's population to catch on. Then the rest would follow suit, if only because it's trendy at first, but later because they can see with their own eyes what a difference it makes. And I believe that. We're getting there, just give us time ... and help, as you're doing! :)

Apparently, quite a few other folks believe in this vision and set of Ideals too. Some are Christian; some aren't. Some are religious, some aren't. Doesn't seem to matter, if your heart's in the right place. But I do agree that it takes Active Intelligence in addition to a pure heart and good intentions. That Intelligence has to WORK itself out, through our actions, as you indicate. It has been said,
"There is no human problem that cannot be solved with intelligence and love."

"Imagine all the pee-ple,
living for today... ah-AHHHHH, AHHHHhhhhhhhhh...."

But there are countries, and there are possessions, and there is religion, and there are greed and hunger, and people do live for tomorrow, and there is no brotherhood of man, and John Lennon was shot dead in New York, which like any city is full of people who didn't buy what he was selling.

It really sounds to me like we're talking about building the Kingdom of Heaven despite God. That's why I asked if we were going to charge him admission.

If you had 10% of the earth's population on your side, you'd still have 90% against you. And no, there would not be a big bunch of them in the middle; when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven, everyone chooses a side.

By the way, are you a Christian?
 

taijasi

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"Imagine all the pee-ple,
living for today... ah-AHHHHH, AHHHHhhhhhhhhh...."
Indeed. Now try and stick with it - and don't succumb to doubt, hopelessness and fear. :(

Marsh said:
But there are countries, and there are possessions, and there is religion, and there are greed and hunger, and people do live for tomorrow, and there is no brotherhood of man, and John Lennon was shot dead in New York, which like any city is full of people who didn't buy what he was selling.
Yep. Have patience, have patience. To err is human; to forgive ...

Marsh said:
It really sounds to me like we're talking about building the Kingdom of Heaven despite God. That's why I asked if we were going to charge him admission.
No, I think God probably already `resides' (lives, exists, can be found) within the Kingdom of Heaven. It's despite resistance within humanity that we shall establish the Kingdom, wherein brother does still find fault with brother, where we do still fight each other. We will do this BECAUSE there are, or will be, sufficient numbers who work and live with God in their hearts, minds, words and actions! :)

Marsh said:
If you had 10% of the earth's population on your side, you'd still have 90% against you. And no, there would not be a big bunch of them in the middle; when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven, everyone chooses a side.
Only ignorance, fear and hate form this division. These are our true enemies, and they pretty much exist only within the human heart. This is how we have become our own worst enemy. When we fall prey to these dividing factors, the 10% have it very difficult trying to fulfil their obligation to the other 90%.

It is not unlike having 10 people in a boat, while this boat sails a very rough sea, perhaps in storm conditions. There may be 9 people scrambling about, panicking and forgetting to stay calm, but this does not mean the boat will sink. Only the man who insists on seeing the glass as half empty will make that argument. For you see, the man who is accustomed to seeing the glass as half FULL also knows that even a glass which is filled to only 10% of its capacity ... is still of potential value, even relief, for the man dying of thirst. ;)

And thus, even if just ONE, LONE PERSON keeps his cool and maintains his seat, staying calm, while the other nine begin to panic and rock the boat ... that ONE MAN (more likely a woman, actually) can save the day. S/he can keep the boat afloat by refusing to yield control of her emotions to the people around her. Those nine people really don't know what to do, they are frightened, they feel doubt and fear, and they are convinced they are going to drown. But the ONE PERSON of the ten who remains in charge OF HERSELF ... will retain that control until the very end, and there will ALWAYS REMAIN Hope, within her, that even just ONE other person of the nine will "see the light" and realize they need to sit down and help steady the boat.

Then what happens? One by one? Perhaps. Or perhaps it will only take 2 or 3 before the remaining undisciplined individuals turn and see that a few folks are sitting quietly, keeping the Peace. I believe within Christianity there is a saying that Wherever two or more are gathered ... :)

So be careful before you write off the power, the resolve, the capacity and the prerogative of that ONE, DETERMINED individual ... since s/he may have precisely the answer(s) that you seek - the inner strength and calm to literally save a boat of ten (or a world population), where 90% of the folks don't quite know what to do ... and would otherwise capsize the vessel!

Marsh said:
By the way, are you a Christian?
I believe in the Christ as the Lord of Lords, the Master of Masters, the Teacher alike of Angels and of Humanity. His `act' (Ministry, model, Good Works and `miracles') may be a hard one to follow, but I do believe that His is one of the greatest examples that we can learn to live by. Then again, if we don't pay close attention to these last four words, we sell ourselves, Christ, and each other short ... so I would never claim to be an exemplar or a role model.

I believe that Christ taught us we ARE capable of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. The idea that we are doing this without God is really a false dilemma, however, because there is no such thing in my book as a Humanity bereft of Divine guidance and Heavenly sustenance. Either we are aware of the Presence of God within our lives (and to VARYING degree, both in terms of that awareness, and in terms of just how much or well we Serve) ... or we are less aware - but, not to sound trite, God is still there! :)

You cannot show me a human being, not mr. hilter, not mr. crowley, not mao tse tung or the most hardened criminal, within whose heart there is not STILL ... the Spark of Life Divine. That may be enough to tell you I am not a Christian in the conventional sense, but if the modern Christian cannot recognize his God within his neighbor's heart, then he is far enough off of the mark already. {I want no part of that, except to help share Light and Love in a - very dark place.}

Anne Frank, who was Jewish as I seem to recall, wrote the following in her Diary:
Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.
I also find this quote of hers inspiring:
Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
How can I even begin to emphasize what Anne Frank has shared with us? I would have to highlight almost every single word! Consider Anne's situation, what she witnessed, what she had to experience, what she had to suffer ... and yet look at the message(s) with which she wished to leave us. Look at this expression of what she really believed, deep down, about ALL human beings (including the Nazis).

Friends, if Christianity would come into her own, as a modern institution, a potentially great religion (in the eyes of God, not man), and an EXAMPLE for those world-round to aspire to, she will need to LEARN to WALK THE WALK ... and to BE what it is she idealizes (and idolizes). She will need to DEMONSTRATE what it means to truly love without condition, to truly forgive without hesitation, and to encourage everyone to ASPIRE to become what they - at times - can scarcely imagine they might become.

I have utmost faith, because I believe that Christianity is guided from `the other side' ... that one day all this shall come to pass. But it will not be in a quick, blinding flash, or at best, that may be the explosion of nuclear bombs, or the strike of a huge meteor, or comet. If any of these scenarios comes to pass, will the Heavens above be able to look upon the efforts of the Christians and say, "THESE have served to the best of their capacity, THESE have aspired, understood and embodied the Message to the best of their ability?"

Do not count me among these, unless you are ready to acknowledge me with all my many faults and human foibles. I am the most stubborn of the stubborn, and at times perhaps the hardest hearted of the hardened. But I have learned a thing or two about forgiveness, about human potential and - dare I say - about God. I already owe Thomas one explanation, on another thread, about Love that is even Greater than Agape ... and folks, that's a pretty tall order, even if I did set myself up for this man's criticism, retorts and harsh judgment.

What I accept, and would emphasize, is that we are evolving beings. Every one of us, our communities, our nations, and thus human society at large - both culturally and globally - is PROGRESSING. If you cannot see this, try shifting your focus for awhile away from the conflict that can easily be observed on each of these levels as well. The conflict is there, but it exists for a Purpose. There is no suffering without its due reward. The problem only occurs when we anthropomorphize, and pretend that God is just a man in the sky, ticking off each instance of personal vice and virtue with a check or an X.

No such being exists, and it does not require the intellect of a genius to understand what Christ meant by As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Stop demonizing and deifying the powers and workings of nature ... mighty, awesome, stupendous and even frightening as these embodied forces can sometimes be. After all, They follow the same Divine LAWS as we ourselves are invited and ultimately REQUIRED to observe. We know that God is a patient as well as a Forgiving Being, and thus we know that we are given ample opportunity to learn to live our lives according to these Laws. And we even know that our transgressions are dealt with differently when we are as yet still learning the subtleties of the workings of God's Kingdoms ... while for those who have learned more, and should know better, there ARE harsher standards (or rather, the same standards are considered, but the consequences of transgressing these Laws are applied more rigorously).

Sin is so little understood by the average Christian, imho, that even today, when people should know better, FEAR still often governs their actions ... and the one day of the week which should be the HIGHLIGHT of the observance of God's Majesty and Divine Law, becomes little more than lip service and the mouthing of honorifics. God has no need of these; God will gain nothing from such vocalized praise ... and that is not to say we should not PRAISE God in our hearts, but - to borrow one of my favorite segments of the Liturgy which I have retained in my 38 years:

It is indeed right and salutary

that we should AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES
give Him ~thanks~ and Praise.
I discovered that for me, at least at this point in my life, I do not feel at home in any Christian congregation that I know of, including the church which my own parents attend here in town, despite a large, active and service-oriented community. This is not because I do not believe in the OUTREACH which I see occurring, for this is the one part of it all which I brings a tear to my eye ... and gives me Hope. My reasons are that I find a problem - too many loose stones - in the very FOUNDATION upon which the institution is founded.

My inclination is to work on the loose stones of the Temple as best I am able, focusing especially on the shaping up of my own, unhewn ashlar so that I can more rapidly become a Pillar as you will find referenced in Rev. 3:12 ... and this, not so that I may "no more go out," but that I may help provide exactly the strength, and support and encouragement which I believe other stones need at this time.

Something about being a rock, but not to roll ... or maybe I just appreciate the Spirituality of Led Zeppelin. Anyway, I tread more lightly than I have in the past when I post on the Christian forums, because I believe in the INTERFAITH aspect of Interfaith.org. It should be possible, and my experience tells me that it is, to discuss and dialogue, and share our various viewpoints ... hopefully without attachment, and hopefully with an ear to progress and an eye that is ready to see where we might improve.

Thus, already, you will find that I am not here simply to make waves, or to stir up the proverbial brood of vipers. I would far rather let sleeping dogs lie, and steer well clear of every coiled serpent. But this does not mean a person should remain silent when s/he observes an opportunity to offer a hint or suggestion ... and there are some subjects which are very dear to me - if only because they dovetail precisely with my own greatest Hopes, Goals and Aspirations.

Serving in whatever slight capacity to bring about the Kingdom which is at hand ... is part of the Service for which I believe I am here ... and for which we are ALL here at this time. What could be more important, and more in line with the Divine Purpose for our planet, than to lend a hand to the Christ for this aspect of God's Plan?

Perhaps there is room for discussion of some of the ways we can be of Service, whether these be in our community, in our church, in our family and so forth. Often this is where problem-solving begins, precisely by first identifying an issue which needs attention, then considering what our strengths and resources are for solving it. We have an opportunity to volunteer and be of service on the personal level, and by pooling together we also can observe the maxim: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts (or, Many hands make light work).

I sometimes wonder, wouldn't the Christ have also been one of the most practical of all human beings to have ever walked our planet? If you happen to agree, why might this be so?
 

taijasi

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Here's the kind of thing I'm talking about ...

This evening as I flipped channels, I caught Brian Williams on NBC doing his segment on Making a Difference. The story is from the City of Angels.

Making a Difference (story link should be on left if this isn't direct)
 

Seeker33

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What kind of Place is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth ?
The Kingdom of heaven on earth is made of ideal families living in harmony with each other.
:) Luke 17:21"nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

Kingdom of God is in our Sahasrara.


 

Marsh

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And thus, even if just ONE, LONE PERSON keeps his cool and maintains his seat, staying calm, while the other nine begin to panic and rock the boat ... that ONE MAN (more likely a woman, actually) can save the day.

Only if that person is Jesus. And that's why Jesus is going to return to establish the kingdom.

Haven't you noticed that every time some lone person has tried to do what you describe, they've been murdered?
 

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Only if that person is Jesus. And that's why Jesus is going to return to establish the kingdom.

Haven't you noticed that every time some lone person has tried to do what you describe, they've been murdered?
Including Jesus.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Hi Taijasi/Andrew,

"What Kind of Place is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth?"

--> I thought I'd offer an answer from two sources, one which is a theosophical source* and another which was a good friend who was also an excellent psychic.

According to the theory, we are not near the end of the world, but we are perhaps 60-70% of the way there. There are a number of people who have fallen so far behind in their spiritual development that they will not be able to catch up and achieve enlightenment by the end of our allotted time here on earth. In addition, these people are creating a lot of trouble in the world, and making our task of making progress towards enlightenment more difficult than it needs to be. According to the theory, these people will soon be removed from earth soon, and be sent elsewhere. This will allow the rest of us to continue to advance towards the very difficult goal of enlightenment, without these laggards and troublemakers continuing to ruin the rest of the limited opportunity we have to achieve enlightenment (especially because the laggards have fallen too far behind to be able to put their time on earth to good use any more anyway).

Look about you and see how a small number of people create most of the trouble in the world. Consider how much a nicer place this world will be when these troublemakers have been sent away. Imagine a world of no more wars (and no more computer viruses!) It will seem to us as if heaven has been achieved on earth. According to my theory, this is the meaning of the phrase "heaven on earth."

(*The book, The Inner Life)
 

taijasi

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Nick,

I am aware of one `Judgment Day' that will occur in the 5th Round ... but of course, that's a long way away. We could discuss it on another thread, as suggested. There is another one, however, if I recall correctly. Since so many occurrences mirror the greater cycle(s) but on a lesser scale, it makes sense that this would be during the 5th cultural epoch (as Steiner would call it) of this Round.

If so, we're probably even overdue! And yes, I think it will be quite wonderful for this kind of thing to occur. It gives everyone the opportunity they need to move forward. This is exactly how our school system works, wherein the children who are having the most difficulty, and who cannot possibly catch up with the rest of the class ... are held back a grade. This allows the others to move on without distractions, and it gives the ones who need a different kind of learning environment a chance to find those conditions ... in a different world cycle, or system of worlds.

One of the things I do for a living right now, btw, is tutor children at SES (Supplemental Educational Services) schools so that they won't have to drop out or repeat a grade. Perhaps in a way, on a much larger scale, this is what the Christ has sought to do for and with us, via such Advanced disciples as Jesus of Nazareth ... et al. :)

But no, Marsh, Jesus will not establish that Kingdom FOR us, despite our best - or worst - efforts. Feel like holding your breath and waiting around to see? Go for it. //sighhhhh :(
 

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Including Jesus.

Precisely. The difference, of course, being that Jesus was given the power to rise from the dead. And that's why nobody else can establish the true Kingdom of Heaven: everyone who tries will be murdered by those who have a vested interest in keeping the world as it is.

Only ignorance, fear and hate form this division. These are our true enemies, and they pretty much exist only within the human heart. This is how we have become our own worst enemy. When we fall prey to these dividing factors, the 10% have it very difficult trying to fulfil their obligation to the other 90%.

The fact that the world is ruled by ignorance, fear and hate is not an accident; it's been engineered that way, because those are the factors that keep people in line. And history has proven that EVERYONE who has stood up for deliverance from these factors has either been ridiculed, discredited, or murdered before they could motivate the sufficient numbers to cause the kind of changes necessary to usher in a kingdom of heaven on Earth.

-"It's just like that, and that's the way it is." (RunDMC)
 

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What kind of Place is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth ?

The Kingdom of heaven on earth is made of ideal families living in harmony with each other.

This is the plan God gave in Gen 1:28 to our first ancestors in the garden "Create the first ideal family"

Unfortunately God's lineage was tainted during their fall. God lost His sinless lineage ever since .....

God's providence of salvation has been to bring forth the ideal family he lost in the garden starting from a sinless Messiah as the second Adam.

This is how I understand Jesus' mission.

Kingdom of Heaven is Costa Rica.

Amergin
 

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No, I don't think that man was created to sit. I also don't believe that man was created to be glorified. I think that man was created to work. And I think that the simple works of man are what is beautiful in God's eyes: that his creation would be satisfied with the simple things in life.

I'm not in disagreement, Marsh. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. May I ask where your treasure is? Is it somewhere beyond what is present in your life now, or are you completely satisfied with all that is? Could things be better? If so, don't you think it reasonable to work towards a better existence?

If your treasure is money, you will work for that goal. What if ones treasure is a world w/o violence .... One where all living things co-exist together respectfully, would our works for that goal STILL be beautiful in Gods eyes, or would pursuing such a goal be glorifying man? What if THAT is what God desires for us (To work for the Kingdom on earth)? There are some who work diligently towards that goal, but is the glory found in man who desire the Kingdom, or in the spirit behind the goal itself?

IMAGINE THIS: A world full of people who are content with what they've been given, because they know who God is, and give thanks to him for whatever they've been given (i.e. the parable of the talents). To me, this is the beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven. What you describe would also be wonderful, if it was possible, but in realistic terms I really don't think it is possible because there are just too many ambitious people inside the churches of this world, who are serving not for God's sake, but for their own.
If we were meant to be content and satisfied with all that is, then pain and suffering would not exist, Marsh. The parable of the talents shows us that we are not to be slothful with what we have, but to make increase, no? Ambition is not a sin; it is needed and helpful when well placed.

My wife and I started a charity in Vietnam to help the village where she's from. It's simple, and it's quite effective. No church we've ever been part of has ever wanted anything to do with our charity, because it's not CHURCH-SANCTIONED. That is to say, if they don't get their name set up as the headliner, they're not interested in playing. That is the reality that we're dealing with, guy; you're heart's in the right place, but you're looking at things as if the world is an ideal place where everything that should happen will happen, and that just ain't the way it is.
NOTHING will happen if we remain slothful, never pursuing our treasures. Obviously the world is not ideal; if it were we would not be pursuing anything at alll. Anything worth doing is worth working for. You can wait for something better if you like. I will continue to work in hope that my efforts will actually make a difference (If only a small one). "I may only be one person, but I am one. I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can."

Remember: Jesus traveled with the gospel, but he seldom looked for an audience; the crowds generally came to him. My wife and immediate family-in-law converted to Christianity not because of anything I ever said to them, but because they saw the way that I treat others, compared it with the way that other people act, and saw that Christ is real. That's the irony of the whole thing: churches have acted as if one needs to endeavour to teach people about Christ, as if Jesus is a tough pill to swallow.
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Is it not reasonable to pursue that which is in our hearts to pursue? We all have our treasures, Marsh. Mine is the fulfillment of the kingdom on earth. I may never see the fulfillment of in my lifetime, but at least I'll know that if I reflect even a fraction of the light of Christ in my life, and bring others to do the same, my life was NOT lived in vain, but in the Spirit of our Creator.

GK
 

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"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Listen carefully: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works..."

Is Jesus talking about "the church" as a whole, or each individual Christian? I believe he was talking to each individual Christian.

And what brings glory to the Father? Going off and doing grand things so as to build up the power of denominational churches? Or is it something smaller?
 

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Listen carefully: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works..."

Is Jesus talking about "the church" as a whole, or each individual Christian? I believe he was talking to each individual Christian.

And what brings glory to the Father? Going off and doing grand things so as to build up the power of denominational churches? Or is it something smaller?

I think He was alluding to both us as individuals and as a collective whole. "A city set on a hill cannot be hid". We (Humanity) represents the city on a hill. Our collective deeds shape the reality we all experience in this life. Even so, He was also speaking to the individual, and the small difference each of us can make when we live through the light and Love of our Creator.

Whether or not we each are able to do great things is irrelevant (Imo). God gave to some five talents, and to others less, but we are each charged with making increase no matter what our capabilities may be.

As far as organized denominational churches .... Surely there are some who appropriately make increase, and become a blessing to those less fortunate. I have nothing against organizations when they are making a difference in our world. We may desire to do great things ourselves, but we must begin with what we already have .... No matter how small our own blessings may be, they are big enough to share with our neighbors.

GK
 

Marsh

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Whether or not we each are able to do great things is irrelevant (Imo). God gave to some five talents, and to others less, but we are each charged with making increase no matter what our capabilities may be.

Notice that in this parable, nobody makes an exponential increase of the talents given to them. Also, nobody pools their talents together with other people in order to create a massive amount of talents, with which to build a kingdom. This parable is very much a personal message to individual Christians.

My mother in law, who was not born into a Christian family and who didn't become a Christian until she was almost 50, let me in on something very profound. She said that it didn't matter how great the "Christian west" was, its greatness could never have influenced her to become a Christian. Instead, what drew her to Christ was the actions and the character of a few individual Christians, who were doing nothing more than living out their lives in a kind and gentle way.

The candles on a lampstand are lit one at a time, are they not?
 
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