Brother Maynard on The Good News
This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Brother Maynard’s local city newspaper is the Winnipeg Free Press.
Brother Maynard first has a disclaimer that he wants to share prior to his entry. Disclaimer: I’m honoured to participate in this series with so many distinguished bloggers and otherwise intelligent people. With that in mind, I wrote my contribution without reading any of the posts in the series that precede it. I wanted to get it out of the way before reading what so many astute thinkers would write so I wouldn’t feel the pressure to come up with anything so profound. This way as I follow the series, I’ll only have to say, “Gee, I wish I’d written that…” With that disclaimer, here is Bro M. on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
It’s always a difficult thing to distill a complex question down to a simple answer, and a question like “What is the ‘Good News’?” is as difficult as any when it’s placed into a spiritual context. I believe, however, that there’s a very simple answer, but the explanation of these simple facts is where a lot of things have gone awry in the past, and have given certain religions — namely, Christianity — a bad reputation. And to be fair, it’s a reputation that’s been well-earned.
The “Good News” is simply this: there is a God, and he cares about you. That’s it, in a nutshell. Of course, there are follow-on implications of these simple facts, and that’s where the matter gets complicated. But how do we unpack these implications without making the explanation sound condescending, judgmental, or frankly, like someone switched the labels with the “Bad News” cannister.
Why is this so? Perhaps because the “Good News” always seems to feature Hell as a — or the — major tenet to be grasped. The “Good News” is that you don’t have to go to Hell. To be sure, this is good news to those who thought they might be so destined, but really, how many of us actually think this? Most of us expect that we’re good enough to garner entrance to Heaven, even if we know we overestimate our goodness. After all, we may have our faults, but we’re not that bad. The traditional “Good News” counterpoint to this reasoning? We’re all bad enough to go to Hell.
This version of the Good News played well for several generations past as our country imagined itself as a “Christian” nation. As this perception slips away, the Good News actually changes. No, the essential facts of orthodox Christianity haven’t changed, but there’s a genuine “re-imagining” of these tenets that changes the way they are to be viewed and presented.
If we revisit the Good News as it’s been presented for the past few generations, we have four basic steps (or “laws,” depending which tract you read): (1) God is love, and loves you; (2) you sinned and deserve to die; (3) Jesus Christ died instead of you; and (4) if you accept Jesus, his death becomes a substitution for yours. The detailed explanation of all but the first law seems inevitably to sound like a “Good News/Bad News” setup. Which do you want first?
Fortunately, the lead point hasn’t got a Bad News corollary. God cares about you. That’s it, that’s the Good News in its simplest form. Sure, there are follow-on points that flesh out the background that magnifies just how good this news is by explaining the extent of the downside of its absence. But the Good News is that God cares, and this fact alone can somehow lead to a relationship with him that ushers you into his presence in the afterlife. And that’s a version of the Good News that bears closer investigation.
|Brother Maynard is an emerging/missional church blogger who is often surprised at how many people continue to read what he writes. When he isn’t writing under a pseudonym, the man behind the mask is a freelance writer and consultant in the realms of business, technology and the Internet. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Winnipeg, Canada, where the major local paper, the Winnipeg Free Press has inexplicably not actually asked him to render his opinion on the matter at hand.|