Archive for Relationships

What is the Gospel?

Posted in Musings with tags , , on August 22, 2011 by johnfom

I’ve been thinking lately on the question of ‘what is the Gospel?’ I’m thinking about it because my theology is still developing (won’t it always be?) and because I’m moving back to Australia soon, hoping to take up a position which will require that I can articulate the Gospel to youth, which means to a soft post-modern audience.

For something which is so central to Christian theology, particularly Evangelical, it is incredible that there are so many different statements of what the Gospel is.

Over at iMonk they are starting a ‘Gospel Week’ and the first post of the week is inviting discussion on the subject of definitions.

With all the definitions floating around it got me wondering, could it be that ‘the Gospel’ cannot be defined outside of a specific context? Could it be that the Gospel is so pervasive that it appears meaningless without a context and that the Gospel always needs to be ‘the Gospel to XXXX’ where XXXX is a person, culture, group, etc. I believe this would, not just allow for, but require that the Gospel speak through a multitude of expressions, including, for example, white and non-white, western and non-western, historical and novel… even verbal and non-verbal.

With this in mind, where I’m at with the Gospel at the moment is this: ‘I came that you might have life, and have it to the full.’

Salvation is from whatever it is that stops ‘full life’. The source of the salvation is the ‘I’ who came, i.e. Jesus (it is a partial quote of John 10:10). But, ‘full life’ is going to be defined, in part, by the individual/culture/group. Without the context, without the ‘you’ of the statement with which to relate the ‘I’, the Gospel is unintelligible and the meaning of ‘full life’ cannot be known.

Salvation is the gift of ‘full life’, given in the relationship between the ‘I’ (Jesus) and the ‘you’ (the world, the individual, the nation, the church, the family…) and becomes the ideal for the relationship (full life) between ‘I’ (self) and ‘you’ (others) from then on.

This is just me thinking aloud.  I know I’m going to have to simplify the language and clear it up somewhat, but let me know if you think I’m on the right track.


Being wrong II

Posted in Musings with tags , , on July 26, 2011 by johnfom

Last night I posted a short aphorism about being wrong. Here I want to expand on that a little bit. This is arising out of a conversation I’m in over at naked pastor:

When someone is wrong we tend to put them into boxes based on which of the categories we think they are. Sure, we can leave them in limbo for a period while we try to figure out which one of the categories they are, but eventually we’ll think of them as one of those categories.

Are they lying? No, there doesn’t seem to be an intention to deceive there. Are they deceived? Well, possibly, but they don’t seem to have swallowed any lies, they just see a different meaning or outcome. Not being the other two they must therefore have missed out on some information that I have (dense), so I’d better tell them everything I know so they can see things my way. If that doesn’t work then its back to the first two categories depending on how much we like the person (if we like them they must be deceived, if we don’t then they are deceptive). Of course religious folk have another category to put the ‘leftovers’ in. If they are wrong, and we can’t honestly put them in the first 3 categories, they must just be sinful (depraved). There we go, all neatly categorised into what sort of wrong they are, and we can relate to them as their category befits

I’m not saying that the categories should be done away with. There are those for who the shoe undoubtedly fits. I’m saying the categories are inexhaustive and we should try to create for ourselves the possibility of relating to someone who, being wrong, is not deceived, dishonest, dense or depraved because, IMO and experience, they often aren’t any of these.

Being wrong

Posted in Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on July 26, 2011 by johnfom

Life could be better if we could find a way to let our fellow beings be wrong without necessarily thinking of them as deceived, dishonest, dense or depraved.

On love…

Posted in From others..., Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on July 16, 2011 by johnfom

I define love as not just an emotion but an action that helps others achieve some possibility.

…if you had to objectively measure the love in someone’s heart, what would that look like? I think it would look like increasing choices and possibilities for others. – Kevin Kelly (Founder of Wired magazine)

via Geek Theologian | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

In the pursuit of Happiness

Posted in Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on July 22, 2009 by johnfom

Contentment is when life meets our expectations

Happiness comes from what is left of life after we have taken away our expectations.

Meritocracy -v- Grace

Posted in Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on July 18, 2009 by johnfom

Meritocracy Dad: If you pass your exams, we’ll take you on a holiday.

Grace Dad: When you finish your exams, we’ll go on a holiday.

Inspired by a reading in ‘Savage Shepherds’ by Adam Harbinson

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