I might be embarrassed by the times we’ve acted in hate, bias, and ignorance, instead of in love, compassion, and mercy—but I’m not ashamed of the Gospel.
I might grit my teeth when I think of all the times we’ve made war before even trying to make peace, and I can’t help but shake my head when I think of all we’ve invested in making empires and kingdoms (personal and political) instead of taking care of orphans and widows—but I’m not ashamed of the Gospel.
I might desire to slip quietly out the back when I see some of us being anti-intellectual, domineering, or hypocritical instead of loving God with our whole being—mind, strength, and soul; and I’ll admitting to taking a couple steps back when I see some of us selling our most prized possession like it was a used car, instead of a gift to be given in profound love—but I’m not ashamed of the Gospel.
I might want to call us to corporate repentance for things like “God hates fags (or mormons, or…)” signs, or for ruining our prophetic voice by blindly accepting political agendas—but I promise you, I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel.
Unfortunately, we’ve put so much baggage onto the Gospel that it becomes unrecognizable. And yet, the Gospel weathers the storms of our abuses and always emerges as sharp and transformative as ever. We must continually call ourselves back to clear, whole-Gospel living—lives transformed by Christ, overflowing with faith, hope, and love, practiced by the individual living in community. In doing so we avoid shaming ourselves and we proclaim the Gospel in bold and compelling terms.
These have been my thoughts as I spent this first month here in Europe—a hotbed of antagonistic atheism and feelings of antipathy towards the Church. Sadly, we’ve done a great deal to contribute to this phenomenon, so we cannot write it off with mere contempt. Neither can we shrink back in shame.
This week in class, we listened to a song (in French of course) that topped the charts in Europe for several months last summer, titled “And so we dance.” The basic premise is that we see all the problems in our lives, personal and global, and to escape them we go out dancing. While dancing, they come back to mind, so we plug our ears and we sing. And we dance some more. Very catchy.
But really, that’s the best ya got? Plug your ears, dance and sing?? Now who is doling out opiates for the masses? I’ll see you singing-and-dancing and raise you some serious eschatological hope.
Laughable, and yet desperately sad. The very next day, I did a 10 minute speech on the hospital—the Gospel in full action. The contrast wasn’t lost on anyone (despite my poor French accent).
I’m not ashamed of the Gospel. Why? Because it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe! Because all the world has to offer is, “Eat, drink, and try to be merry.” Because we have a treasure of faith, hope, and love…and so we dance.