I started reading Boyd's book yesterday and I finished it today. I think that's perhaps the quickest I have ever managed to finish a book of such substance. Each chapter had its own strengths and weaknesses but overall, I think Boyd's work is a very important one for the church in America. As I said in my last post, he clearly and articulately exposes the inerrant dichotomy between what he calls, "the kingdom-of-the-world" and the kingdom of God. More specifically, he identifies distinctions between American nationalistic identity and Christian ecclesiological identity.
Throughout the book the concept of nonviolence as an inherent distinction of Christian identity is offered, almost as a given, in contrast to the "tit-for-tat" retributionalism of "the kingdom-of-the-world." Where the natural, or at least cultural, response to violence is more violence, where the conventional reaction to attacks on the ideals of the State is to power over the threat, control the issue at hand, and demonize and dehumanize the enemy, the Christian response is unconventionally nonviolent. Following the example of Christ, the church must respond graciously, compassionately, and relentlessly lovingly. Boyd fleshes out the concept more fully in the final chapter.
The distinction between the kingdom of God and the empire among us has been lost, even to the point where such language is offensive to some who confess Christ. Boyd's explanation of the particularity of the Christian identity is both compelling and convincing.
I think Boyd nails it when he writes,
"this is what we are called to be: a community characterized by radical, revolutionary, Calvary-quality love; a community that manifests the love of the triune God (John 17:21-26); a community that strives for justice not by conquering but by being willing to suffer; a community that God uses to transform the world by providing it with an alternative to its own self-centered, violent way of existing. How socially an politically revolutionary it would be if his disciples lived up to their calling!"
This is a great book. Definitely worth a read.