Writing the Middles

Writing the Middles -- Write Right“…that’s the beauty of blog writing—it’s an invitation to enter into the middle of a story without the pressure of either having to know the beginning or close it up neatly.

“A blog is often a collection of middle narratives, reflections that happen in between beginnings and endings.”

— Emily P. Freeman, “Before Helpless Turns to Hopeless

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Deus Ex Machina

Deus Ex Machina -- Write RightIn a number of Greek myths, a god or goddess appears in the final act at the last, possible second and rescues everything and everyone. Sometimes, anyway. Half the time, the gods show up and squabble with each other or turn a human into a tree. Capricious, the Greek gods, definitely not the sort of creatures one wants to associate with too often. They’re petty, jealous, and, more often than not, foolish.

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What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel? -- Write RightThe leaders of my missional community, the term used for small groups at The Austin Stone, challenged us to write an elevator pitch for the question, “What is the gospel?” I started on the task and realized that I could write multiple pitches. The gospel is, to quote Gregory the Great, so shallow that a child could wade in it and so deep that an elephant could swim in it.

It seems an accurate metaphor. The more I’ve thought about the gospel and how I would explain it, the richer it becomes. I think that’s a good thing. It keeps the gospel alive, fresh and vibrant. It also gives me different ways of explaining the gospel to people.

I wrote my “pitches” in my REAP journal. I’ve included them here in an attempt to share what the gospel is and what it means to me.

The gospel is the good news that God chose me (Ephesians 1:5-6), loves me (1 John 3:16), lived a life of perfect obedience for me (Hebrews 4:15-6), died for me on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3-5), and rose again forever (1 Peter 1:3-5).

The gospel is hope. It gives me hope of life to come and a full life in the here and now (Hebrews 4:13-20; John 10:10).

The gospel is freedom. It sets me free to walk in a different way. I don’t have to do what comes “naturally” because Jesus has awakened in and given me a new, alive nature (Galatians 5:1; Colossians 3:1-17).

The gospel is restoration—of me, my mind, heart, spirit, and body; my relationships and sphere of influence; and the world. God upholds all things and is making them new (Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

The gospel is God’s story of saving a people for himself (to the praise of his glory) and restoring a world broken by sin and rebellion (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

The gospel is grace. God does what he does not have to do to save a people who don’t know they’re in need of saving (Romans 5:6-11).

The gospel is illumination. It shows me who I really am (truth). Fortunately, the gospel doesn’t stop with this revelation. It also reveals (grace) the way out: faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-10).

The gospel is the story of what God has done because of who he is, not who man is. The gospel is rooted, continues, and ends in Christ (Psalm 8:3-8; Philippians 1:6).

The gospel is for God’s glory. It shows him as he truly is: just and merciful, wrathful and loving (Philippians 2:5-11).

The gospel is God coming near. God is not distant but intimately involved with his creation and with me (John 1:1-19).

The gospel is God being faithful when I am faithless (Hebrews 10:19-25).

For me, the gospel is God loving me even though I don’t deserve it. It’s God saying I’m not and never will be a bother to him. It’s him saying that he keeps his promises and won’t ever, ever abandon me. He chose me. I am his, and he is mine.

Image: taz + belly (Creative Commons)