Persuant to my previous post, I've been thinking a little about the Gospel and how it is often presented - as a book report. I've realized I am not that interested in more book reports on the Bible. I don't think anyone is going to say anything new. I encourage everyone to go read the Bible and read books about the Bible, but don't confuse that with the Gospel.
The Good News is an exhausted runner returning from the front lines of the war, with the most amazing news of an unexpected victory snatched from the jaws of death itself. This runner is you. How have you been rescued? How have you been snatched from the jaws of death? What do you have to testify about? That is what is new. That is what is interesting to me.
The Bible is one of the ways I am brought together with other Christians, but I am finding that it is the people I am fascinated with, the people I love, the people I want to find out about, the people I want to interact with, more than the Bible. I want to be alive now. I only really care about atonement insofar as it has touched your life. Talking about atonement theologically is a fun and interesting passtime. Debates can be very engaging and interesting, and they're one way we sharpen our minds - but we sharpen them for a purpose which is not more arguing.
We sharpen our minds so that we can live our lives more fully. We sharpen our minds so that we can seek God more deeply.
That feeling I've had in the past, of being twisted up inside, when I've gotten dragged into another argument about theological differences - I think that feeling was coming up because I was doing the wrong thing. I was betraying what at my core I believe to be true - we are all in this together, and we are getting out of this together or not at all. There is no situation where I win and you lose - that is not the kind of game we are playing.
I know that I'm in that enthusiastic stage where I'm full of an idea, an insight, but I can't express it very well. Dammit.
But the Gospel is not a book report. The Gospel is your life, the Gospel is my life, or it is nothing.