A number of people have already pointed out the blog series on ‘The Good News’ being run by JR Woodward with daily contributions from almost 50 bloggers to carry us through the Easter season, until May 31st. And according to the schedule, I’m up tomorrow… which, really, is just scant hours away now. But I’m not worried.
I was worried… and a little intimidated, maybe! There are so many great blogging voices on the list that I was certain that the more I read of the series, the harder it would be to offer my own take on an explanation of the Good News as I would inevitably try to incorporate the highlights of what everyone else had said. I don’t envy JR himself, who of course has the final slot in the series. With that in mind, I composed what I wanted to say a few days ago and sent it off to JR — and only then did I begin to read the entries so far. And it promises to be a great series. JR describes the premise this way:
In this blog series each of the contributors will be summarizing their understanding of the Good News in 300 to 500 words. Each author is writing their entry as if they were invited by their city newspaper to write an article on the Good News, thus you will find the name of the author’s city newspaper in each entry. This series will challenge us to grow in our ability to share the good news with a variety of people from different perspectives.
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are at the center of the Good News. I trust that this series of posts will help you to focus on the mutually enriching and mutually challenging nature of the Good News during this Easter Season – from Easter to Pentecost. As we focus together on the Good News, may we be encouraged to be living letters to the world, until Jesus fully re-shapes our planet and our Father’s will is fully done on earth as it is in heaven. Let the wind blow and the Spirit of Pentecost come freshly upon us.
I think JR is right in his placement of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus at the center of the Good News… but as I approached the question, I asked myself what was the most basic concept to the Good News, the one out of which everything else flowed. I think I figured it out, though I anticipate getting a bit of pushback in the discussion for what I’ve left out. And as I thought about the question, I heard the words of Larry Norman echoing in the back of my head as he told the fictional account of one Christian trying to “witness” to someone through a fog of linguistic problems.
“Hey, man, have you been saved?”
“Huh? Uh, oh yeah, one summer, up at camp… we were out in a boat, and it was a really nice night… I stood up in the boat, and I can’t swim–”
“No, no, no, no, no… I mean, have you been born again?”
“Uh, I don’t think so…”
“No, you know, have you been washed in the blood?”
“I hope not…”
[Raising voice, frustrated] “I’m trying to tell you the Good News!”
“Alright. What’s that?”
[Shouting] “You’re going to hell!”
[Pause.] “What’s the bad news?”
It’s funny, but it’s also sad… the possibility that we’ve lost the ability to communicate our most important truths in language that people outside our circles can understand. Given the assigned context for this particular assignment, I thought about how our attempts in the past may have gone awry through our presentation… and then I sat down to write 500 words.