Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Jesus' believed that God's way for human beings to live, to live with each other and the planet that is in our care was emerging and in-breaking. He taught that while the kingdom of domination was all around us and in us, that God was moving to change that. Jesus invited disciples to join him in announcing and living within God's Reign of Mutuality.
Everyone was invited: Jews, Greeks, Romans, gentiles, Samaritans, the poor, the rich, the blind, lost, the confused, those who were too certain of themselves, women, men, children and so on.
Everyone is still invited. Everyone.
In God's Reign of Mutuality Jesus invited people to practice Baptismal Awareness: to integrate into their conscious lives the paradoxes and contradictions of human life. This means that human beings can learn to reduce the teeter-totter of dominance and submission and learn to hold one another as equals and to remember that we are beloved of God. Paul speaks to this in his beautiful imagery of the church as the body of Christ.
In domination culture the ideal human is a powerful one. In mutuality culture, the ideal human is one who embraces life-as-it-is and who seeks to hold others as equals with differing gifts. Mutuality culture can be understood as an open circle with the cross in the middle. The cross represents God's willingness to join us in the midst of our humanity and to suffer with us rather than to dominate us. Jesus whole life reminds us of God's self-giving love.
When we work together in community then, leadership is an act of stepping into the circle offering a perspective, question, or gift and then stepping back into the circle.
This leadership is an act of love in a time when our domination culture and spirituality is negatively impacting our selves, neighbors, neighborhoods and the earth.
Of course, nobody except Jesus lives baptismal awareness fully. People in the Catacomb churches won't either. Jesus expected us to get into conflict with one another sometimes. (See Matthew 18.) Nor is participating in God's Reign of Mutuality an invitation or an expectation of perfection. To think so would be only one more way to reject life-as-it-is.
God is the one who makes God's Reign of Mutuality come. But when God calls us to participate well, then, let's do our best and rest in God's forgiveness when we fail.