A Gospel Worth Dying For?
I can count on one hand the things I would die for right now. My nephews. The closest thing I have to a legacy, I would gladly lay down my life for them. My family in general. But that goes without saying. Other than that, there are a few good friends, maybe a cause or two, and that’s about it. Sad, but true.
I don’t read a lot of Scripture right now. Mostly, I read about Scripture, or I listen to other people talk about it. The Bible and I haven’t always been good friends. It’s a big book and it hurts like hell when it hits you. So, lately, I have preferred to go through a few trusted intermediaries. Like being reintroduced to someone you once knew. Seeing through a fresh set of eyes and distance has piqued my curiosity with a safety net of more than a few feet providing time to dodge flying projectiles of guilt.
But life has a way of creating deep need and when we admit it, the hope that some where, somehow, there is meaning, hope and truth brings back around a book that seems to have stood the test of time. Well, that and a healthy dose of skepticism when the old teachings, bad ethics and wrong information by pulpit pounders finally reveal themselves. That’s what faith does. It pulls the drapes on the man behind the curtain and while dogma has never handled exposure well, Scripture is full of stories about people that were willing to die for their beliefs.
So it got me thinking, what about this gospel is so amazing?
We forget, the term ‘gospel’ is a word for good news. We interchange it with the word dogma, confusing what it means to bring someone ‘gospel.’ For years I have heard the same stories, the same passages read. To tell the truth, half the reason I don’t read Scripture right now is because I have heard it so much, I feel slightly inoculated to the power of it, and it breaks my heart.
To snap out of a dream, they say pinch yourself, or if you need to feel something, bite your lip, anything to ground you. The principle goes in life as well. You don’t know what reality is, until you feel some sort of exquisite pain. There seems to reason for hope, for real truth, for something to make it all make sense. Justice needs a place, a story needs a hero and when the chips are down, we need to belief faith can move mountains… and then we need to see them move.
So what kind of gospel is this? Every other book explains some other hero dying, losing something, moving on a pipe dream, sitting in a jail cell singing foolish songs, raging against machines of nations, throwing all caution to wind. For me, there are very few things that will move me, much less a mountain. It has to be something big, something tremendous, something that is the answer to every question, the gold at the end of every rainbow, can bring down the curtain hiding the man, change me, the world and everyone I know.
Snake oil sellers never make it too big, books with tired and pointless stories don’t change worlds and people don’t risk their lives to tell stories they don’t think are true. There has to be a power in this gospel, in this good news that really is good. It must be more than whether to give your dollars to the poor or spend it on gucci shoes.
The real question? How can this gospel come and change the small, white bread world of a woman born and raised in church, given a specific place in a culture that does not relish questions, frustrations, but rather faith that really amounts to acceptance in the norm. Church is a twice a week activity, the body, divided, shooting it’s wounded for the sake of the whole. Cynical, jaded, infinitely hopeless and desperate, the effects of middle class Valium have worn off, and all that’s left is a junkie searching for the next high, knowing no shopping spree, new hair color, amount of degrees hanging on a wall or marriages and divorces will cure.
Because when it comes down to it, the only thing worth really dying for, is the thing that if you lost, life wouldn’t be worth living anyways. And if that is what this gospel is, if that is how big this truth is, if that’s how good it is, how beautiful, amazing and hopeful, then it would be the answer to every question and it would change your life… or at least mine. Now that’s something I would want to be apart of. That would truly be, good news.