Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Moving Target that is the Gospel

The new in term in evangelical circles is the "gospel". The lack of it being proclaimed is reason for finger pointing of conservative believers toward more progressive believers.
My understanding of the gospel is that we are forgiven by the death of Christ on the cross. Also, there is nothing we can do to merit salvation and the hardest thing to do is to accept the fact that we are forgiven. I love the the law gospel distinction that Luther found in Paul's writings and agree with them.
The gospel message is a moving target that is elusive unfortunately. In my old tradition they say the gospel is the center of their mission but somehow after the fact you are living the law again. Join that small group, vote the right way and submit to the elder board. Where is the freedom in Christ there?
You have more liberal circles that I enjoy listening to more since the conservatives lost me. They end up making God someone they can manipulate to their own ends. That way no change is needed or dying to ones self.
I guess the same is true in conservative circles as usually they are controlling personality types that make God a set of perfect rules to follow.  Since I am burnt out with this mindset I can trash it easier.
So if I internalize the gospel message as I understand it then I have to forgive those who burned me in the past. I think once we realize we are forgiven, we can forgive others. After that maybe even we can see the faults with our own thinking and respect the positions others hold.
Maybe the gospel is giving up our sectarianism and seeing us all as one.  The fact that Catholics and Baptists can disagree and not kill each other shows we are moving slowly as a race in the right direction. So none of us will have the satisfaction of seeing the progress we want in our lifetimes. I guess that is why history is an important study to give us the courage not to be short sighted and make progress despite our mental limitations.

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