Did you ever hear something when you were a kid and just believed it, I know I have. When I was younger I was afraid to eat watermelons because someone told me if I ate the seeds a watermelon would grow inside of me. I didn't want to be pregnant with a watermelon, so the safest bet was to just not eat them. I didn’t know how to question what someone told me. And sadly a lot of us do that with the Bible.
For example look at when it says we were made in the image of God in the Bible. When I was younger I was told that meant God made us to look like Him, so that would mean God has a nose and a mouth and 2 arms. But there’s this question I’ve learned recently to ask myself,
“what would this have meant when it was written?”
Well when the Bible was written most countries had kings, and these kings usually liked to claim they were born special, even going as far as to say they were the descendants of their gods. SInce they could rule and say what was right and wrong they would even claim to be “the image of god” here on earth. Most of us know that they also would build huge statues of themselves. These statues were called Tselem.
Tselem is usually translated to as idol, but it's also the word used when God says he makes us in his image. So God is using a phrase that is usually used for the way kings considered themselves to describe everyone in creation. This gets even crazier when right after this God gives these newly made people something called “radah” usually we translate this word in the Bible to dominion, but radah is the authority to a king has to rule over his kingdom. This idea is revolutionary, the people with power and authority aren’t just those with political office or huge finances it’s every one of us!
So if every person is made to rule, what does that look like? Well the answer may surprise you… are you ready for this?
Gardening, for the first people ever made, ruling the world looked like gardening.
Now I know what you’re thinking “so they ruled the world by making food for eachother?” before you write me off as crazy think about it, gardening let them grow food which let them grow families which became tribes which became communities and finally became cities. See ruling is the day to day activities of work and creativity!
A bunch of us here in Detroit have this dream and it may sound kind of crazy, but we want to plant dozens of huge gardens all over the city, and let anyone take whatever they want, as much as they want! There’s tons of reasons that we all want to do this, but for me one of the biggest ones I’ve seen lately is that we’re called to empower our community to see they have authority. We want them to see God wants them to grow their communities and take ownership of them, and in doing that build his kingdom. Honestly what better way to teach Detroit that they all were made to rule than the way God showed the first people!