If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

-Augustine

 

The gospel really is quite upsetting for the vast majority of us.  I caught one of those warm and fuzzy commercials a few weeks back as I was watching my Detroit Red Wings win another Stanley Cup (yes, they do play hockey until June).  The spot features hockey player tough guy Stu Grimson.  Grimson is shown still donning his jersey after coming off the ice, in his skates, and drenched in sweat as he dials up his daughter—it’s kind of cute really.  The big-bad-burly Grimson gets caught by his teammates singing her the Itsy Bitsy Spider song and the moral of the story is one that I’m guessing is suppose to motivate us to reach for the virtues of better living.  It’s put out by The Foundation For A Better Life—whoever they are?  

I suppose there is a place for feel good television commercials—I’m not about to throw stones at whoever is behind a message designed to inspire us to be more thoughtful, with all of the mindless and degrading stuff that finds its way to the airwaves I’d certainly pick on some other commercial if that were what I was attempting to do. 

The Foundation For A Better Life may not be an enemy of the message of Jesus, but I am afraid there are many messages that we take as gospel truth that are not, and some times I get the feeling that we fall into thinking that just because we ascribe to good morals or promote wholesome movies that must mean we are Christians.  You can send James Dobson and his Focus on the Family all of your income and then some, but that makes you no more Christian than the Aflac duck. 

 I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.    (Galatians 1:6-9, The Message Bible)

Any other message is foreign no matter how good it makes us feel—the devil never packages his message in a black jump suit and pitch fork, he’s more likely to use an apple.

The gospel is Jesus replacing our utter darkness with his glorious light. 

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