I started a blog series yesterday on “Gospel.” These short posts are simply a way for me to gather my thoughts before talking about the theological and practical ramifications of the gospel in a talk for this weekend. Feel free to join in on the conversation, it began here.
Yesterday I spent some time talking about the original meaning of gospel and that it meant “good news.” So, yesterday’s content suggested that our gospel needs to be good; not just good to us (or people like us) but good for the world, which God loves.
So, let’s talk about news. The gospel is good news. News is an interesting concept in our culture. It is my observation that it is hard to come into contact with news anymore. We have “news outlets,” but they are usually shaped by a rather distinct vantage point, and it might be better classified as “media outlets” who will give people of their persuasion something to repeat to other like-minded friends or to “repost” a video clip to Facebook so that people who already agree with them can give them high praise for being so informed.
Stitching together a story, with commentary, and commercials about how one needs to change their cash to gold, could be called “news,” but one would not be too sensational to call it propaganda, a tail wagging the dog.
It reminds me of a recent conversation that I had with some Christians about some of the most pressing issues that face our world in which our faith could provide a solution. I was disappointed in our list; the things that we are passionate about seemed to not be of the slightest interest with the wider world. I was discouraged and felt as if we had nothing to offer the world unless they asked us a question that we gave them, so our answers could be queued up.
This is not the heritage of our faith, right? There seemed to be something compelling and provocative about the Christian witness over the centuries. The Romans (or other dominant systems) had a particular interest in seeing the Christian witness stifled because of how subversive, true, and news-worthy the Christian witness was in their contexts.
Let’s be honest, political systems are a bit too busy to track down and sensor groups that are only using “inside crowd” chatter and are focused on private spirituality. But, if a group is beginning to confront things that the dominant system takes for granted, they might use some brute force do something about it. Yes, Jesus and his followers were put on crosses (and other such devices) because of how they confronted the political structure of the day, not just because they were praying prayers. (more on that in another post)
So, ask your gospel a series of questions:
“Are you news to anyone outside of my inside circle?”
“Do I have to feed someone questions in order to have anything to share about my faith?”
“Do I feel like a door-to-door salesperson when I share you?”
“If someone was skeptical about the gospel, would they still want to believe that it could be true?”
“Are people’s positive responses really just a placation so the conversation will end?”