Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Well, that says it! The biggest question, for me, is: "Whose fool am I going to be?" If I'm too concerned about being a fool and having everybody know I'm a fool -- if I'm too downright chickenshit scared by that, as I am -- then how can I help pass around The Gospel? (It's not like I could just keep it for myself, you know!)
And here's the next question: "What on Earth is this Gospel anyway?"
I'm not going to put out a bunch of verbiage about "Jesus Christ" because, after all, I don't know what that means! There was once this man named Jesus going around talking for God; and he scared everybody who couldn't let go of whatever they were used to thinking, believing, doing. The official religious authorities mainly saw him as a threat to their institutions and their positions; so they turned him over to the national enemies, whom they relied on to maintain their local power. God let him be killed and then brought him back a few days later; I don't think I'm required to believe this but that's the only way I can find any sense in everything else I know.
But that's not "The Gospel"; because Jesus was going around spreading "The Gospel" from the moment he learned John the Baptist had been killed -- and Jesus wasn't even 'dead' yet. The basic gist: "The Kingdom of God is being established here; and that changes everything. Change whatever you need to; fit yourself into this fact!"
You might write a whole book [NT Wright already has] about what this "Kingdom" meant to the people who heard Jesus at the time. Basically: ~"God is about to do what you people have been asking and expecting and demanding 'Why hasn't He done it yet?' for all these many years. God is taking direct charge here; and let's see how you like it! The time is ripe; brace yourselves!"
God's way of taking charge... God showed His power in various ways; so everybody wondered what this meant. [No one but Jesus seemed willing to ask, expecting to be Answered.] Some people decided Jesus must be an evil magician; other people decided he was about to establish a Jewish Empire, like the Roman Empire only with God's people in charge. 'Nicer because we're nicer' as any contemporary American might imagine about our own national policies... God didn't do that; and this is a very large piece of The Gospel:
God made His power known, but didn't force it on anyone. That power is still available... It's still, always will be, 'with us' -- intending only our good. But we can't use it; it's God's power only so far as we can let it have its way with us. It's been very very hard to trust it, to stop figuring out what we need to do to keep everything under control.
Can we please let this happen?
"The Kingdom of God is being established here; and that changes everything. Change whatever you need to; fit yourself into this fact!" Amen!
Fox's advice was to stand still in the Light and submit to it.
Submitting isn't a popular notion in this day and age.