Civil Society: Unity and Oikos (the House of God)

by Yong-Bok Kim

Kim Yong-Bock (family name Kim), Ph. D., is President of Hanil University and Theological Seminary in Chonbuk, Korea (Wanju-Kun Sangkwan-Myun, Shinri, 694-1; Chonbuk, Korea 565-830).  He received his Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University.  He has been a teaching fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary, an international consultant to the Commission on Ecumenical Missions and Relations, National Board of Missions, of the United Presbyterian Church (USA), and is founder and Director of the Christian Center for Asian Studies,  and  Director of the Doctor of Ministries Studies, a joint program with San Francisco Theological Seminary.

This article was written for Religion Online March 3, 1998.


SUMMARY

This essay provides a perspective for a new ecumenical movement as a movement of ONE in the OIKOS TOU THEOU. It requires discernment on the signs of times, and a renewed biblical reflection, taking the Biblical vision as the sources of our messianic imagination.


An Opening Word

 The ecumenical movement, which is the movement of the people of God in the inhabited earth, is in a rapid transition to a radically new world. We are experiencing great trends that change the present world into a radically different world. And yet we do not have a definitive analytical grasp of these trends and changes of the world today. Yet we have to keep trying to discern even the signs of times, as we live and move together in this world.

 It is proposed that the framework of civil society, whatever its precise definition may be, is to be considered a way to open a new horizon for ecumenical social thought and involvement from our Christian faith perspective. The ecumenical social thought in this century has also been in transition from the context of the liberal society, to the challenge of the socialist society and, then, to the Cold War context, and then to the post-Cold War situation. The ecumenical movement articulated as social middle axiom the idea of free society, the idea of responsible society, and the idea of just, participatory, and sustainable society, and then the idea of justice, peace and integrity of creation throughout its recent history. These ideas have values even today and yet they have to be interpreted in a radically new way in this new global situation.

 Breakdown of modern secular social philosophies and sciences and political ideologies as well as traditional social thoughts opens doors to a great confusion of social thought; and at the same time it opens a new era of creative and active social thinking in the ecumenical movements as well as social movements in the world. This demands fresh initiatives for social thinking in the ecumenical movement.

 Signs of Times: Trends and Changes in the Globe.

 “And he taught, and said to them, “Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers(Mar 11:17).”

 1. The world has become one global market. The life on earth, human and natural, are condemned to the global market. There is no realistic option for life outside of the market, whatever the market is and however it operates. When there was a option for socialism, this was not the situation. Practically the market has become an absolute reality, although some thinks it is not the case, at least, in theoretical terms. This global marketization has a profound implication for the whole life on earth.

 2. The geo-political change has brought about the interconnecting fusion of the local, national, global and cosmic(natural) horizons by the globalization of the market. The horizon of the market is not in one dimensional; but any subject, individual person or a community or corporate entity in the market must come with the multi-dimensionally fused horizons of the geo-politics of life. One must think locally, nationally and globally; and one must act in geo-politcally fused horizons in a simultaneous way. This means that a local action will have effects not only on the local level, but also on national, global and natural(cosmic) levels. This also means issues of life and relations among the people, groups and communities implies the fused horizons in all the levels.

 3. All problems and issues of life in the globalized market are inter-connected in all dimensions. The natural, economic, social, political, cultural and religious dimensions were analytically distinguished, differentiated and even fragmented; and they are compartmentalized not only on analytical level but also on the concrete practically level. Thus the life has been treated in a fragmented way in the past and till the present. Or the life has been reduced to one dimension, the material or spiritual, disregarding all other dimensions or subjugating them to one dimension, and organizing them hierarchically with a single dimension on the top, whether it is spiritual or material.

 4. The socio-political relations in the globalized market are not merely structural but dynamically relational; and, therefore, contradictions, and conflicts in the global market are dynamically relational. The struggles, negotiations and cooperation, even solidarity characterize the power relations across classes, castes, races, genders and all other contradictory camps among the people, groups, communities and ecosystems.

5. The electronic information and communication process and order plays a decisive role in the market, subjugating the subjective agency of life on all levels and dimensions. The hi-tech multimedia communication and processing of information is and will be dominant feature of the global market. It will form a value-added network of communication and information to enforce and accelerate the market dynamics among the life of the people. This is what is new in the post-industrial global market. Particularly human subjectivity is deeply effected as the participatory agency of life in all its dimensions.

 6. The symbiotic centers of such power nexus have substantially shifted from the nation state structures to the global corporate entities. The life, the people, and their communities are deeply effected by this shift. The “civil society” as a form of participatory democracy is a framework in which the life, the people and their communities directly participate and multilaterally and multi-dimensionally form solidarity linkages to make creative interventions in the global market process.

 The Victims Tell the Reality of the Global Market

 1. The life that is victimized as the garden and oasis of life is being turned into a jungle and desert of destroying life. The vitality of life and the power of death are in a bitter contest in the global marketization process.

 The fundamental contradiction between the society and the nature that is implied in the modern industrial culture and society is being intensified in the global market, that is dominated by fiercely competing corporate agencies. The natural life and the cultural(spiritual) life will be dominated by the vortex of the global market and their relations will be in dire confrontation in such a way that the natural life will be victimized by market-dominated economic and cultural artificiality and arbitrariness. Hitherto the Western industrial culture has dictated the relation between the life in the nature and life in the human society, be it capitalist or socialist society. Now the dynamics of the global market will dominate the relation between the natural life and the life in the human society. The culture of the globalized market is not life-preserving or life-enhancing, for the limitless competition would engender the logic of the survival of the fittest and the strongest. The market will allow the winners to dominate the losers. Thus, the life will ultimately be the loser, for the life will loose the spiritual foundation as well as the natural base due to the arbitrary contradiction between the natural and the spiritual, imposed by the global market. This is a negative dimension of the global marketization; and there seems to be lacking any strong trends to control or balance this trend in the current global situation.

 2. The economic victimization of the people, – the Minjung, the communities and consumers, -in the global market, will be absolute and limitless; and the mamonism of economic power of the giant corporate entities will dominate the life in the global market. The global financial corporate powers will be key players in the process. Financial victimization of the people will be noise-less, bloodless and yet extremely effective. The money power is and will be truly mammonic. The natural life and human persons and communities will be powerless economic losers in the globally competitive market. The hungry, the poor and even not-so-poor middle class people, together with relatively weak economic agencies, will be victimized in this globalized market.

 The national economic security net of self-reliance and protection, whatever there is, is rapidly eroded in the name of open market. Thus the weak economic agencies in every nation are exposed to the market plays of globally powerful economic agencies. The traditional communities have likewise become vulnerable due to the pressures of the global market forces. This economic victimization process has truly become global nexus of the economic power that destroys the life everywhere. Hunger, impoverishment, and wasteful consumerism are a few forms of life destruction and victimization. The irony and paradox if this process of victimization will take place in the midst of global economic growth and technological advancement.

 It is in this global context that the people takes initiatives for economic justice, for direct participation and intervention in the market process, and for economic actions for sustainable life.

 3. The public or common social security of the peoples’ life is being dismantled and subjugated to the jungle of the globalized market; and the people will be exposed to economic, social, political, cultural and spiritual violence that are fundamentally caused by the global market process. The life will not be secure in this global market; and it is vulnerable to the violent conflicts and confrontations in the midst of limitless competitions of the globalized market. This violent process is permeating every aspect of relations between and among international and political powers, social classes and cultural groups, national and ethic groups, and caste and religious communities. Peace for life on all levels lost its foundations and no way of peaceful resolution of conflicts and disputes among struggling parties is easily found.

 There has been a tendency that the peace question has been reduced merely to the question of the reduction or elimination of violent military confrontations among nation states and political groups; but now it is the question of securing for the common life of all living things on earth. The questions of peace and security over against violence are to be understood on economic, cultural and spiritual levels as well as on social and political levels.

 4. The life contains the politically living subject as its core. It cannot be reduced as a passive object. The global market with “neo-liberal” developments have weakened liberal democratic subjecthood for individual persons, powerless groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, local communities. The people as participating agents in the political process are exposed to the syndrome of apathy, hopelessness, and de-capacitation, and the global market weakens the national democratic states.

 Even the nation states, as modern political units, democratic or not, have been substantially weakened, if not being dismantled. The political victimization is not merely suppression of the political subjecthood of the people, but the participatory process has been weakened by the play of the power on the global level, weakening any national and community protections of political subjecthood.

5. The global market process is very much dictated by the cultural process of communication and information through hi-tech multimedia. The victimization of life is being advanced culturally on levels of spirituality, consciousness, perceptions, and senses. The hi-tech multimedia, dictated by the corporate powers and agencies of the global market, subjugate cultural subjecthood, cultural values, style of life, perceptions of beauty, and religious mystery in life, as well as ethnic, national identities of persons and community to the market wasteland of cultural life. The arena of consciousness, perceptions and senses of life is indeed the battle ground between forces of life and forces of victimization of life. This is indeed a “cultural war” The exploitation of post-modernistic sensibilities, especially emerging among the young generations, by the market, is a good illustration.

 The global market powers will battle against religious communities and spiritual powers of the people, by sapping their spiritual strength. The global market will spiritual wilderness and wasteland, where the soul and spirit of the people will be broken, and the people will loose the spiritual sources for life. This is indeed a dire spiritual victimization. Religious revivals and emergence of new religions must be seen in this context of spiritual victimization of the people.

 Life Resists and Struggles against the Victimization, seen theologically.

 1. The life is not passive objects; it lives vitally and resists against forces of life-destroying. The life in the cosmic nature is alive(Loverock). The Spirit and spiritual subjectivity is the core around which the life and living is organized. The humans organize their gardens of life in the household, in the community and in the eco-system.

 The Spirit of God is the source and sustaining power of life; the Resurrection of Christ over the power of death is the God’s guarantee for the life, in destructible, eternal and full. The eschatological vision of the Garden of Life is the promise and hope for the life on earth. This is the OIKOS of GOD that gives, sustains and fulfills life. What this means if that the life in the ecosystem is not merely naturalistic or biological reality; but it is spiritually and culturally based reality.

 2. The people’s basic livelihood is organized in the family household, in the local communities, with national and global interconnections. Traditional economic wisdom of the peoples and communities and various religious insights on the economic life; Islamic, Jewish, Confucian, Buddhist and Christian traditions have rich economic wisdom for the life of the people and community, that are resources for the people to organize their economic living against the global market forces that victimize life.

 This is the OIKONOMIA TOU THEOU, the political economy of God, that is spelled out in the biblical stories of the Exodus, the Covenant(Sabbath), the Jubilee, the Creation and the New Heaven and New Earth. For example, the economic manifesto of Jesus in the 6th chapter of Matthew spells out the political economy of God for the life.

 3. The security of life is based upon the peace in all relations. The people seek to live overcoming contradictions and violent conflicts among the nature, human groups and powers. The life and the people generate wisdom for peace and security in the very vortex of conflicts and victimization that destroy life. The resources for life, human and socio-economic and political security are being mobilized among the people who are actively seeking to make peace and security for life and people. For example, the Confucian teaching of POKUK ANMIN is a very relevant for the peace and security for life and community.

 The biblical vision of Shalom is very appropriate in this connection. The Christ as the Lamb of peace as well as the vision of Shalom in Isaiah 11 and Ezekiel 37 and Revelations 21 and 22 gives a powerful dynamics of peace in the ecumenical movement.

 “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done it, says the Lord.(ISAIAH 11:6-14)”

 4. The life and people refuses to be condemned to the passive objects in the market. Resistance of life and people against oppression has been the mark and sign of times. Direct intervention and participation of the people and citizens in the CIVIL SOCIETY is the hall mark of this movement. A new direct and participatory political agency of life and people in local, national and global interconnectedness is being raised and formed everywhere in the world. This is signs for the very foundation of hope for life and people.

 The life, nations, and people are co-workers, participants and members of the household of God. They are covenant partners of God. They are subjects who live and work with God in the management of the political economy of God. The life of national people(MINJOK) has a special significance in the household of God, Minjok is the basic unit of the people of God in the biblical stories. This is most clear in the Gospel according to Matthew.

 5. The feast and celebration gives the people the spirit, vitality and power of life. The religio-cultural traditions of the peoples all around the world are sources of life, giving identity, values, styles of life, perceptions and senses. This is the beginning of the cultural resistance and struggle for survival in the global cultural war. Feast and celebration of and for life in Asian religious communities provide fountains of strength and vitality of cultural fulfillment of life, although much of life-stifling and life-suppressing factors should be eliminated from the traditional religious institutions.

 The act of the people of God as religious community reaches its supreme moment in worship, glorifying God and in celebration of life, enjoying it. The glorious and celebrating liturgical life of the people of God in the OIKOS TOU THEOU(in the house of God) provides the fountain source of cultural vitality for the life and the people, who are victimized in the global cultural market place.

 ONE IN OIKOS TOU THEOU(the House of God)

 ONE and its being and nature, and how to be ONE has been the ecumenical agenda in the world, that is divided, full of contradictions and conflicts, destroying life and people. In the present global marketization, as we have indicated in the above, ONE should be understood in a new way, in a dynamic way and in an open-ended way. Our Biblical and theological references and concepts must be understood in a new way as well.

 1. The framework of being ONE.

We have already indicated that the life and the people are in the OIKOS TOU THEOU(the Household of God), which may be termed as the POLITICAL ECONOMY OF GOD. Biblical references of the Household of God is dual, one referring to the spiritual; and the other referring to the comprehensive political economy of God for the whole people of God. We should recognize the close connection and unity between the two; and in fact, the household of God includes the life and the whole people of God in all dimensions.

 The HOUSEHOLD OF GOD is the concrete form of covenant of God with his creation(the life and the people). God’s covenant with the created world of life is the heart where ONE become reality. May I begin with the following biblical references:

 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3: 25-29)

 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ.(Ephesians 2:11-13)

 Here we discern two sets of relationships: 1. Being ONE in Christ involves ONE across national, racial and ethnic contradictions, socio-economic(class, or caste etc.) contradictions, gender contradictions, political contradictions)powerful Vs the powerless), contradictions between the wise and the foolish and so on. The formula is ONE of NEITHER – NOR. 2. Being ONE in Christ involves ONE BODY, ONE LIVING SUBJECT, that integrates life, refusing to be fragmented in any terms. This is a new meaning of covenant network of the people of God in the political economy of God over against the political economy of the imperial powers.

 Let us take an illustration. When this covenant of peace and life is applied to the Korean situation as an example, the message of Ezekiel become very much alive.

 . The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take a stick and write on it, `For Judah, and the children of Israel associated with him’; then take another stick and write upon it, `For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with him’; and join them together into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. And when your people say to you, `Will you not show us what you mean by these?’ say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph (which is in the hand of Ephraim) and the tribes of Israel associated with him; and I will join with it the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, that they may be one in my hand. When the sticks on which you write are in your hand before their eyes, then say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides, and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. “My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. They shall dwell in the land where your fathers dwelt that I gave to my servant Jacob; they and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there for ever; and David my servant shall be their prince for ever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore.(Ezkiel 37: 15-28)

 The prophetic vision and imagination of the covenant of ONE is also unmistakable for the people of God, seen in the eyes of Jeremiah.

 The Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”(Jeremiah 31: 31-34)

 The decisive pronouncement has been made by Paul for the ecumenical church: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place(OIKOS) of God in the Spirit.(Ephsians 2:13ff)

 Here we suggest that the notion of Covenant Solidarity for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation has been an excellent starting point of departure to reflect upon ONE in the context of civil society.

 2. The life, the people and their communities are raised up as the subjects that participating in the OIKONIMIA TOU THEOU. While the principalities and powers of the world, originally ordained to serve God and God’s creation, deny the subjectivity of the life, the people and their communities, Christ raises them up to be the subjects of sharing, sustaining and fulfilling the life in the political economy of God. This is the Messianic servanthood to serve all the creation, including the people of God, raising them up “as subjects who participate in the BASILESIA KAI OIKONOMIA TOU THEOU. The Christological confession and its concomitant ecclesiology(Church order) reflects the political economy of God, which is the reverse of the Roman imperial order.

 Phillipians 2:5-11–Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 Jesus the Servant Messiah is the cornerstone to build the OIKOS TOU THEOU in which all the creation will be participating subjects, of the Jesus the Servant Messiah will raise them up as stewards and mangers of life in the OIKOS TOU THEOU.

 The reign of DOULOS in OIKOS TOU THEOU is the conclusive theme in the Bible.

 If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.(Mark 9:35)

 Mark 10: 42-45– And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Isa 53:1-11– Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.

 The is the political economy(OIKOS) of God in which Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Servanthood to serve all, that is, to raise them as subjects of life in the global market.

 . 3. The horizon of OIKOS TOU THEOU is all inclusive, embracing all nations.

 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God( Eph 2:19).

 National peoples(Minjok) have their true identity and fulfillment of life in the OIKOS TOU THEOU. Racial, ethnic and national identities have ultimate status in the household of God. In the imperial domination or in the globalized market, the Minjok(s) will be a basic mode of life that is resistant to the forces of life destruction.

 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. (Psa.22: 27-8.)

 The following are some of the biblical references where the Minjok is refereed to a positive and ultimate reality in the Reign of God:

 Psa 67:1-6–May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for thou dost judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

 Gal 3:8– And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

 Rev. 15: 4– Who shall not fear and glorify thy name, O Lord? For thou alone art holy. All nations shall come and worship thee, for thy judgments have been revealed.”

 Rev 22:1-2– Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

 Matt.28:19-20–Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

 4. Spiritual Identification and Solidarity with the Victims as the Real Foundation of the OIKONOMIA TOU THEOU.

 In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Christ is seen as the priest and the lamb for the sacrificial resolution of peace between God and the people of God. This is the costly OIKONOMIA of God. “…We have a great priest over the house of God (Heb 10:21)” This theme is supremely taken in 1Pe 2:5 … “like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

 This is the ultimate defense of life, which has been wrought through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah of life and shalom. In the vision of the new heaven and new earth as well as in the creation vision in the Bible, the Spirit of God is the source and foundation of life; and yet the Spirit is the very Spirit of Christ on the cross(kenosis). Here is the ultimate identification of Christ with the victimized life.

From this understanding of Christological foundation for life, one can be suspicious of the sustainable life which is seen only in naturalistic terms. It should be seen spiritual terms. The life in the nature cannot be sustained, unless it is grounded in the Spirit. This is a notion of the unity and solidarity between the religio-cultural and natural. The life in the cosmos is saved and sustained through the messianic sacrificial spirit.

 A Concluding Word

 We have explored a perspective for a new ecumenical movement as a movement of ONE in the OIKOS TOU THEOU. This was done through our efforts of discernment on the signs of times, and a renewed biblical reflection, taking the Biblical vision as the sources of our messianic imagination. It is indeed fragmentary; but it is hope that this will catalyze further ecumenical imaginations among us.

 Much communication and dialogue in our ecumenical network on all levels of globle, national societies and localities is much desired at this point. The ecumenical network may be dicisive for the victimized peoples in the globe, if we work intesively and closely for some sustained period in the several years to come.

 


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