Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Jon Tyson on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

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. Jon’s local newspaper is The New York Times. Here is Jon Tyson on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

The good news could not be more simple, “Behold, Jesus is making everything new.” How this is applied in my context could not be more complex.

I live in New York City, which is more than a city. It’s a conglomeration of hundreds of cities. This means the good news means different things to different kinds of people.

To the successful privileged elite, the good news means you are not valued for your performance, education, skills, achievements and position. There is nothing you can do to impress God. His righteousness is a gift. You are no better off in the sight of God than the lazy, uneducated bum who could care less about affluence, education or status. You don’t have to prove yourself, and you are not loved for what you have done.

To the poor and marginalized, you are not excluded from the favor of God because you lack education, affluence, and power. You not forgotten, you are loved where you are. In fact your lowly position may even be an advantage to you as you hunger for the grace that God offers. You are not unloved for what you have not done.

To the immigrant, the good news is that you are welcomed into the family of God. We are all strangers and aliens, but the dividing wall of hostility has been torn down and we can be a new community together. You cannot earn your way in, and your differences do not push you out. We can be one in Christ and you can find your new home in him.

To the secular humanist, the good news is that your atheism does not eliminate the reality of God. The claims of the creator and the call of the savior are still for you, even in your unbelief. The secular well is empty, and when your thirst persists, Jesus will let you drink freely from of the water of life.

To the struggling artist, the good news is that your creativity matters, and God wants to redeem it rather than reduce it. God views humanity as the ultimate canvas, and the work of transformation as a stunning installation into the human story.

To the disillusioned religious person, the good news is that the gospel is not a formula but a person. Jesus also challenged the disappointing intuitions you challenge, and the angst and resistance in your heart is a very good sign of life. Jesus was the master of deconstruction, and wants to tear away the deadness and replace it with life.

To the hedonist, the good news is that your search for pleasure is not wrong, but misguided. You may not be taking your hedonism seriously enough. In his presence is fullness of joy. God wants to fulfill your pleasure, not frustrate it. The good news is that Christ has come so that your joy may be FULL.

And lastly, to the hipster, the good news is that God loves you anyway, tight black jeans, trust fund and all.

The good news is for the whole city in thousands of different ways. For God’s story of creation, fall, redemption and renewal makes its way to every pocket and people group that compose this city.

This good news is holistic, meaning it’s for now, not just for later. This means that everything is being made new: personal lives, communities in conflict, institutions and systems, and even the earth itself.

And the good news is for urbanites themselves, as the New Jerusalem is a city, coming out of heaven, adorned as a bride prepared for her husband.

The good news for New York is that God wants to make us a literal city on a hill, in anticipation and longing for the eternal city whose builder and foundations are God.

Jon Tyson is the pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City, a community of neighborhood churches committed to joining God in the renewal of all things. He serves with The Origins Movement, a network of urban churches seeking to reclaim, redeem, and renew the world’s global cities. He is also the founder of City Collective a non-profit in New York seeking to cultivate the good true and beautiful across the city. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, he lives in Washington Heights with his wife and children and can often be found riding his Vespa round the city, and reveling in the gifts of jazz and espresso.


14 Responses to Jon Tyson on The Good News

  1. Kerry Whalen says:

    Hey Jon – (& G’day from Oz!)
    I just loved this post!! So great to hear, when so many are talking about how the Gospel turns the heirarchies of this world upside-down (& it does!) that it is nonetheless Good News for ALL.

    I remember reading in a sociology text at uni, how social hegemony is a burden on the dominant, as well as the oppressed, since they have to maintain their position (not downplaying the power & inequalities of privilege… but in the world’s system it comes with a certain loss of.. humanity/connectedness/call it what you like – perhaps.. love?). Man-made heirarchies are not just bad news for the poor – but for everyone. The Good News may negate the man-made “position” of the privileged – but it also sets them free! How Great is our God!!

    Blessings!
    Kerry

  2. evan says:

    John, this was absolutely fantastic. I think one thing we can all take away from this is that whether or not we live in an incredibly large city, we all dwell in complex social realities that require us to understand the histories of those we hope to bless with the good news. Your post was a fantastic example of the cultural exegesis we all need to do!

  3. JR Woodward says:

    Jon,

    You are a man that knows how to share the good news by building bridges to where people are. I know of this guy by the name of Paul who said he became all things to all people so that by all possible means people would come to Christ. Your entry displays the wisdom that Paul lived in. Thanks for your contribution.

  4. Tony Stiff says:

    Jon
    Thanks for sharing, I really appreciated how you shared about the nature of NYC “a conglomeration of hundreds of cities” and that the good news was good news to all of them. And I’ve been passing around your city parish model to friends in urban ministry all over with great responses. Love to hear lengthen out that model in perhaps a book form or something.

    Jon’s city parish model can be found here;
    http://trinitygracechurch.com/parish/

    Reply to comment #1
    Kerry loved how you condensed Tyson’s piece when you said, “Man-made heirarchies are not just bad news for the poor – but for everyone.”

  5. Sonja says:

    Jon,
    I love New york and in your message of the good news i found perspective. You knew how to wove every culture group together used for purpose. ” For Gods story of creation, fall, redemption and renewal makes its way to every pocket and people group that compose this city.” I liked the way how you used the image to ‘compose’It reminded me of Nehemiah 4 rebuilding the city wall of Jeruzalem and how everybody participated in that project.

  6. Ian says:

    I really enjoyed the stunning simplicity of your observations, obviously observations from your own experience.

    I hope God gives me the discernment he has given you, so then I can see how the Gospel can be ‘good news’ for everyone.

    I wonder what a church that unites all these groups can truly look like, I think I want to celebrate the development of that church :)

    Bless you, and remember Pentecost – that this is God’s church, not ours.

    Happy Pentecost, everyone.

  7. Dustin says:

    Jon, I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at the Ecclesia conference in the DC area several months back. You shared how you have devoted yourself to two hours of prayer for NYC each work day. I’ve been continually challenged and encouraged by your example.

    I appreciate how you’ve communicated the gospel here – it never diminishes the person, but seeks to connect all to Jesus as they are. Jesus, even when He was ripping hard on the Pharisees, never diminished the person. You’ve really demonstrated here how to point towards Christ in the big apple and beyond.

  8. Jon Tyson says:

    Kerry, Great comments! I agree, the only hope for the poor and the rich is the kingdom of God. Anything other than a life fueled by grace in the power of the Spirit is an unsustainable burden. Glad you got some good gear from Uni.

    Grace and Peace.

  9. Jon Tyson says:

    Tony,

    Not quite ready to “lengthen” the city parish stuff just yet. Still in the middle of coming to terms with it in our communities here in the city :) We are however having a church planters roundtable in NYC, later this year, where we will be sharing best practices from several churches implementing city parish ideas. You would be warmly welcome to the discussion. You can email me at jon@trinitygracechurch.com for more info.

    Cheers.

  10. Jon Tyson says:

    Ian,

    I could not agree more.

    What is the church without the Spirit? Christ is the head of the church, and the Spirit is its power. May pentecost be our normal and continued experience.

    Blessings mate.

    Jon.

  11. Pingback: Jon Tyson on The Gospel « Creation Project

  12. Jason says:

    Great article on the hope and transformation that the Gospel brings. Thanks for sharing. Loved the the comment to the stuggling artist about God not wanting to reduce but redeem art. I hope that we as artists desire that transformation and don’t fall for the lie that God wants to reduce our art.

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