Some comments & thoughts on ownership of &: RECLAIMING the GOOD NEWS – an epistle « [D]mergent

From its beginning, the Good News has been apolitical and non-national. When pushed to choose between faith and empire, the way of the Good News has been to respond with non-violent defiance and refusal. Our faith life is not measured by how materially abundant or wealthy is our life and not by how much political or cultural influence we have. Our faith life in no way embodies, is connected to, or dependent upon or subservient to patriotic fervor or national loyalty or good citizenship. Our faith life is measured by how we attend to and improve the lives of others – by feeding them, quenching their thirst, clothing them, visiting them in prison, healing them, and welcoming them. Keep in mind that this is a deliberately incomplete list. It works in much the same way as when Jesus tells Peter to forgive, not 7 times, but 77 times – the point being that by the time you forgive someone 77 times, it has become, not an act that has been repeated 77 times, it has become a habit, a path, a journey, a way of life. The point is that by the time you develop the habit of feeding, quenching, clothing, healing, welcoming, and visiting prisons, you have created a new life complete with new values and new goals and new vision. Once you get to this point, you have discovered and claimed not earned and embodied your grace-given membership in the family of God, a membership exemplified by faith, love, and service.

Found this post & blog when looking for related articles to our “Love your Enemy” post earlier today – the blog was linked to in a comment to one of the related articles.

What struck us is the reality of ownership of the “Good News”. As stated in the quote above, the Good News isn’t aligned with any one political group, persuasion or even one nation over the other.

This ownership thing really bothers me as there are many times ties to ones “Americanism” & patriotic life when one relates their feelings about how one is to relate & share the “Good News”.

Often a sense of ownership is also at the claim that the only way to the Father (God) is through Him (the son), especially when the receiver of that message feels a sense of arrogance being expressed along with the “ownership” of the only way to “heaven” or to the Father.

You see, the rest of the quote above tells the story better than I can. But I’ll give it a try!

When the life of the believer is lived in service, as an example of the love of Christ & so that the viewer or receiver of that “service” or servant attitude sees someone living the life of Christ, they are more likely to relate to the message of love, be more receptive to the resurrection message & maybe even act on it.

Even if they are perceived as an “enemy” by the deliverer of the “service”, the service if done to one of the least of these is then done on behalf of & TO Christ himself.

That is what “gets us” to heaven anyway! Isn’t it?

Living the life of Christ so others see it in you is the life that Christ wants us to lead!

Relating this to homelessness – please consider that the “service” or servant attitude shown to a homeless person in the name of showing the love of Christ to them & that they too are loved by Christ & God, we can make a substantial impact on the homeless, possibly motivating them to accomplish for themselves what others cannot do for them.

Check out the entire blog post below where we got our inspiration for the way to express how we feel about “ownership” of the “Good News”.

via RECLAIMING the GOOD NEWS – an epistle « [D]mergent.


About homelessnessinsavannah

Advocating for Homelessness Issues in Savannah, GA, so that we can educate, share experiences & generate a Christian understanding of the issues & people who experience, support & attempt to end homelessness in Savannah, GA or anywhere else we can share stories from or about...
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One Response to Some comments & thoughts on ownership of &: RECLAIMING the GOOD NEWS – an epistle « [D]mergent

  1. Doug Sloan says:

    “Jesus is Lord!”

    The phrase has become a safe ritualistic statement. We hear it on Easter Sunday as part of the celebratory pageantry. It is perceived as an exclamatory affirmation of a person’s acceptance of and membership in the Christian faith community. Perhaps most damning of all, it is considered “nice,” a strictly personal statement with no community purpose.

    It was not that way in the beginning. “Jesus is Lord” is a phrase of non-violent defiance that advocates a response of counter-culturalism to oppose the oppression and systemic injustice of empire and its civic religion.

    “Jesus is Lord” is actually code for “Only Jesus is Lord” and means that there no other Lord has dominion over our life: no pharaoh and no caesar, no emperor and no king, no dictator and no despot, no junta and no committee, no prime minister and no president, no empire and no nation – and no pope, no cardinal, no bishop, no priest, no minister or any authoritarian clergy, and no church and no denomination and no religious body or organization that claims authoritarian dominion and judgment over our mortal thoughts and acts or over who is allowed to be a member or clergy or deacon or elder or over our post-mortal existence. By claiming and living “Jesus is Lord,” we do more than reject all earthly claims to lordship over our lives, we refuse to acknowledge their existence or power.

    The initial success of the Good News was in how it demonstrated that anyone – even someone oppressed into complete oblivion by an empire – could live a resurrected and transformed life even in a world where death, cruelty, corruption, crime, war, systemic injustice, slavery, and extreme poverty were so rampant as to be the norm. Their success in living a resurrected and transformed life even in such a world is completely relevant to our time and for all time. The Good News is that a life of resurrection and transformation does not have to be preceded by death. The Good News is that the kingdom of God is not a future event or a distant place or a strictly post-mortal existence. An “anticipated” kingdom of God is meaningless and useless. The Good News is that the kingdom of God has arrived, it is here and it is now and it is available to anyone – without exception and without qualification and without sacrifice.

    To have a loving intimate relationship with God; to serve others by practicing generosity and hospitality; to seek justice as restoration, healing, reconciliation, rehabilitation, inclusion, and participation; and then to live non-violently without vengeance and with a cheerful fearlessness of death and worldly powers – that is the radical and the defiant message and the transformational spirit of the universal and timeless Good News.

    Whatever we do –
    Whatever we are –
    Wherever we are –
    – can never separate us from the love and grace and
    – the surrounding and inviting and welcoming and inclusive presence of God.

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