Language is always up for reinterpretation; language matters. Two axioms to start this discussion. The specific question here is whether religious liberals, such as UUs but including other groups as well, can authentically talk about the Kingdom of God, especially the desire to see the Kingdom of God here on earth.
What sort of metaphor is this? Kingdoms are ruled by kings–they are not democracies. Is there a disconnect here, especially on the part of American believers, who darn sure do NOT take kindly to monarchy as a political system? Is the Kingdom of God that latter-day Social Gospelers and their kin are trying to build to be a democracy, a monarchy, or some other arrangement? And if it is not to be a monarchy, can it still be called “the Kingdom of God” without too much dissonance? Is Kingdom of God a misnomer? Should we be talking instead of the Republic of God, etc?
Beloved Community, a term popular among religious liberals, seems to have edged out Kingdom of God to some degree. Is this because it expresses a more modern concept, consonant with the lives and aspirations of contemporary believers? Is Beloved Community an adequate replacement for Kingdom of God? What is gained, what is lost?
Howabout Lord? That is a feudal term, inserted into Christian English parlance when people were indeed subject to actual Lords. Is such a metaphor appropriate for how religious liberals actually imagine God? If you would not take kindly to a Lord in your political and social life, can you really pray to and wish to please a Lord in religion?
Even for religious conservatives, these terms seem poorly thought out in the modern world. Most red-blooded conservative American Christians would not tolerate a Lord or a Kingdom in the United States; is there a disconnect then for them to spend so much time talking about a metaphorical form of organization that they repudiate? The main function of Lords historically was to take your taxes, order you around, and keep other Lords from invading and appropriating your taxes for themselves. Just doesn’t seem to jive with political conservatism or liberalism very well, so it seems worth asking whether these are appropriate terms for religious conservatism or liberalism. It is very easy to imagine the Founding Fathers being rather discomforted by language about Kingdoms, even ones of God.