Making the Gospel Good News
I often meet people who are estranged from the Church. More times than not, it is over the fact that in their experience of church, they have not found understanding and support during difficult times in their lives or during times when they have questioned the understanding of God they received in their childhood. Instead, they have been dealt an avalanche of guilt and “thou shalts” from church members that leaves them believing and fearing that Christianity and would require them to squelch the spark of hope that keeps them going, struggling through the difficult tasks of adulthood and parenthood. They have not received the affirmation that they are loved and that God really cares about them in a way that speaks deeply within their hearts and souls.
Albert Nolan, O.P. has addressed this issue in a few sentences. He says, ” If we simply repeat the formulas of the past, our words may have the character of doctrine and dogma but they will not have the character of good news. We may be preaching perfectly orthodox doctrine but it is not the gospel for us today. We must take the idea of good news seriously. If our message does not take the form of good news, it is simply not the Christian gospel.”
That is our challenge – making the Gospel good news for today too. When we do, we’ll find a lot of good people ready and hoping to receive it.