By Tommy Airey
The Gospel is the proclamation and conviction that there is a Force of good that governs the universe, a Power of Love imminently saturating everything, yet bigger than that too: beyond space and time, deep into a future, animated with hope. It woos, beckons and compels people to join in on a mission that bends everything towards justice, that prefigures that hopeful future into the now.
The Gospel always offers us a choice: to trust the Force and go with the Flow or to flee it, fight it or to just foreclose on a middle ground in the vast wilderness of “spiritual options,” burying ourselves in apathy, indifference, cynicism and/or narcissism. We can let go though: of power and privilege, of security and survival. This takes a robust combination of faith and courage.
The Power of Love became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, executed on a Roman cross for his refusal to live out the conventional wisdom of those in control, those demanding the status quo no matter how unjust, oppressive and violent. Through parable and prophetic utterance, Jesus declared nothing in all of creation impure or unclean. This radical inclusivity was an explosion of Love that blew up hierarchies based on gender, race, ethnicity, wealth and sexuality.
Jesus called upon disciples to join up in a revolution that was both personal and political, a movement so far surviving one-hundred generations of covert attempts to dissolve it, neuter it and domesticate it. This Way is about healing our wounds, recovery from addiction, freedom from abuse, a crucifixion to our grasping egos and imperial mentalities. It is organized around love, trust, surrender, forgiveness, service and humility. It comes with challenge and a demand for discipline, calling us to own our shit and to commit to stopping the cycle of pain and violence. The projecting can stop. Jesus died so that all the horrific scapegoating can finally be finished.
The Gospel is a call to discipleship. We hurry and hobble after Jesus, learning to release our copings, inconsistencies, weaknesses, imperfections, our unexamined pain and unacknowledged privilege. The Force of Love that binds all things in the universe together recycles our darkness and defeats and raises them to new Life: mysteriously, majestically, consistently, creatively. Grace calls us to face our pain without shame and guilt. We are given permission to risk and to be wrong. It will take a lot of practice getting it right—best done in a covenantal community of accountability and vulnerability.
The Gospel is also a global struggle—a liberation from imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, an end to war and torture, naming and narrowing the income inequality gap, scraping and scratching towards climate justice. It calls us to join in the organized resistance against social, economic, political and ecological ideologies that destroy and dehumanize. The Gospel frees us from these Powers—but it also takes up the ominous task of freeing the Powers themselves.
The Gospel is about pinpointing pain, praise and protest in our prayers. It is about planting seeds and cultivating a world without lotto, liquor and loans. No more counterfeit copings, gropings, mopings and dopings.
The Gospel is a creative, beautiful, compassionate nonviolent movement, penetrating heart, home and how we tell history. It is action-oriented, configured around a lifestyle of practices like
meditating on sacred texts,
celebrating the Earth and her resources,
holding friends and enemies in Love,
putting up boundaries,
committing to die for what we Love.
It is about being present to every living being,
centered and emotionally available,
open-hearted and emotionally expressive,
tender and gentle with ourselves and others,
embracing humility and empathy,
listening without giving advice,
acknowledging the contributions of others,
breathing, releasing, trusting & letting go,
relaxing and letting Life flow through us with ease.
Gospel people take social analysis seriously, advocating for policies that stop the hoarding and that gives everyone access to
pre-school to university education.
We refuse to be silent about realities that strip dignity and deliver death warrants. We work to end the idolatry of
militaries and markets,
prisons and police,
finance and fossil fuel.
The Gospel is an invitation to a way of life that refuses to believe that we are relegated to “the way it is.” It cultivates communities creatively composting from the trash heap of Empire, assured that there is Something conspiring with us who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. This is good news.