Donald B. Kraybill author of The Upside-Down Kingdom
Life of Jesus
May 10th, 2017
This is a book review of author Donald B. Kraybill’s book The Upside-Down Kingdom. In this review I will give a summary of the book I will also be giving my interpretation of the books major divisions which are; the kingdom of God, Detours around Jesus and Temptations with an explanation of the symbolism that is throughout the text. I will also be explaining what is meant by the title of this book all while defending my thoughts with provided critique.
In The Upside-Down Kingdom, Kraybill talks about the Kingdom of God and how this term is used in reference to how we should lead our lives. The Kingdom of God is the ultimate ‘good’ example. The Kingdom of God shows us how to change our lives for the better and how to be better people. I would not say that the Kingdom of God is a place but that it is what God represents, as a symbolism in our lives. Grant the people, who are able to make the choice to let God into their lives, will then access into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is actually considered something in the present opposed to a futuristic place, or a form of afterlife. That if we choose to accept God into our lives we will experience that in our present state.(Kraybill, 2003).
Jesus’ teachings of the parables represent the Kingdom of God. These teachings in the time, made people question the differences in their beliefs and still do. The parables were the opposite to what people at this time believed were right and quite literally turned things upside down.For example; “The least are the greatest. The immoral receive forgiveness and blessing. Adults become like children. The religious miss the heavenly banquet. The pious receive curses.” (Kraybill, 2003, p. 21). Everything people once knew as ‘normal’ was now questioned with the teachings of Jesus and the parables (Kraybill, 2003).
Kraybill also discusses the relevance of Jesus in our current culture and while his parables are relevant today, the messages still give us an uneasy feeling. Our culture may take ‘detours’ and go around his teachings rather than just accept his words. Kraybill talks about detouring Jesus’ existence because he gets lost in history or because the culture of his time may not be applicable to our current culture. Kraybill says that his teachings can be relevant if we take into consideration the differences in the times. Understanding the cultural context of Jesus is key to relating his teachings to our current culture (Kraybill, 2003).
Another detour around Jesus that is discussed in the book is the issue of time. The author suggests that Jesus is not talking about time in the human sense but in something much bigger. This concept has always intrigued me because I always look at life span of things and how their minutes compared to our minutes are quite different. When teaching the parables, Jesus uses not only spiritual but a...