I’m reading The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s so Good About the Good News? these days. Peter J. Gomes died recently; I had never heard of him–not that I know of, anyway–but his passing was mentioned by a couple of bloggers I have come to take seriously. I won’t bore you by pretending to know anything substantial about him, except to note what might be the most important fact about him in this context. He was a believing Christian.
I’m not far into it, but that’s what I do. Read a bit, begin to respond, read a bit more and so on until I’m finished. And then, when I’m not finished any more, come back and repeat the cycle. So anyway, Gomes is a believer, and I’m the guy who talks so much.
Gomes’s belief, while certainly more complex than I’m going to get into, is that the good news is radical. One is tempted to add superlatives, but they aren’t necessary. The upheaval of the world proclaimed by the gospel of Jesus is total, as Gomes presents it. In this Gomes sounds quite a lot like John Dominic Crossian. Who knows how either of them might feel about that. I like to think ‘probably ok’ since neither of them, in their writing, seems awfully concerned about stuff like that.
In any case the good news is a hard thing for for the conventional. Gomes quotes from Luke, Chapter Six:
How terrible for you who laugh now; you will mourn and weep!
How terrible when all men speak well of you, because their ancestors said the very same things to the false prophets.
Not much comfort there.