Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Nathan Colquhoun 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. Nathan’s local newspaper is the Sarnia Observer. Here is Nathan Colquhoun on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

An hour’s car ride south of where I live is a city where over 11,000 homes have been foreclosed, the unemployment rate is at a record 22% and some houses are going for as low as $500. Welcome to Detroit: a city that if you are unlucky enough to get caught in a forced detour, you catch yourself instinctively locking your car doors as those statistics take on flesh and blood as you drive on through. In the midst of the rubble of homes and lives, groups of artists have intentionally started to move into its worst area’s neighbourhoods. Their motivations vary. Some see it as a blank canvas where they can start fresh. Some are doing it because they can instantly be debt free and some are doing it because they believe in renewing things that are seen as non-renewable. This is good news for Detroit.

Imagine communities of committed families and individuals moving into neighbourhoods that no one wants to move into and bringing life where there is only death. Imagine people leaving comfortable, safe and clean environments for life-threatening, disease ridden garbage dumps. Imagine communities of respected last names, educated students and skilled workers intentionally giving up the lifestyle that they have earned for a lifestyle they don’t deserve.

Two thousand years ago, a similar relocation took place. A man, who claimed to be God, started wandering around the Middle East healing the sick, loving the poor and reclining with people that were obviously below his class. He kept talking about good news to people who had only heard and experienced bad news. If he was who he claimed to be, that means he left a position of honour and power in heaven to be with humanity here on earth. He gave up his rights and what he deserved and chose a different path, selflessly caring for the people he came to be with and it ended up killing him. This man’s name was Jesus and this was good news for the world.

It would’ve been just another fairy tale if it had ended there. But Jesus is a better storyteller than that. Ultimately, he invites his listeners to enter into the story themselves and continue in its telling. So here we are in 2009 and the story is still being written. But, Jesus wasn’t just speaking about good news and helping people understand what it was. Jesus was the good news. He brought with him the reality of the kingdom of God where the oppressed were made free and the blind were made to see. The few lines of instruction that we were left with say that we are to continue to be this good news to the world. Storytellers in our own right, we are thus invited to seek out people, places and things accustomed only to bad news, and bring the good news instead.

Nathan Colquhoun lives in Sarnia, Ontario with his wife Rachel where he co-leads a church called theStory, runs a media company called Storyboard Solutions and is part of Epiphaneia Network who run conferences in Toronto. He graduated from York University with his BA in religious studies. He blogs at Nathan Colquhoun: Based on A True Story and participates in making films, his most recent being One Size Fits All?


3 Responses to Nathan Colquhoun on The Good News

  1. jrwoodward says:

    Nathan,

    Thanks for the stories. The good news for Detriot, the good news of Jesus and the good news story we are all invited to participate in. I can see why your community and media company contain the word story. You are a great story teller.

  2. evan says:

    I agree with JR. I value the same restorative acts as you and those moving into Detroit. It is even one of the great hopes of our community in VA to be a restorative presence in our city. I only say this to say that we talk about this sort of life all the time and it is the very path we’ve chosen. Even still, the way you told this story brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it’s because I have friends and family in Detroit, but your story brought it into even clearer focus. Relocation. What a beautiful metaphor. Thank you!

  3. Pingback: The Good News in Your Neighbourhood | Based on a True Story

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