GospelMemes: First Thoughts

On July 30, 2012, in Gospel trajectories, by Peter Kress

I believe that the gospel is real. By this, I mean that in a: fundamental sense that the universe is pervasively meaningful:  love, beauty and life are more than emergent ephemera of biochemical processes. Moreover I mean that gospel reality is pervasive and impactful at every moment and place and scale. And, in some sense, all humanity (each human) realizes itself in interaction with the gospel. This is the gospel I am seeking. At some level, I think, so is everyone else.

I am a seeker of Jesus. The mystery of Jesus, expressed in the powerful memes of incarnation, suffering and resurrection evokes gospel. I believe that this reality, this mystery is the crux of humanity and of humanness. Not can be, but is. The gospel is reality … like gravity.

For much of my life, I have done my seeking within the constraints of conservative Christian communities. But my children’s generation often does not see gospel in many of the mores, dogma, exceptionalisms, and exclusions of these communities. I can see why. They live in times where science, technology and society expose inadequate explanations, unquestioned fundamentalisms, and in particular, entrenched abuses of power and influence.

But, if the gospel is real, and its impacts are “gravity-like” pervasive across all human experience, then surely we can make common cause to seek new explanations, confession and service. Like all wisdom, these new explanations will be a considered mix of new and old. So we should seek this insight both in the past and in the future. And we should seek it in common with all of humanity.

I want to invite you to participate with me in a process of assessment, query and discovery with the goal to find ways to explain, confess, express and seek gospel that make sense and inspire hope in this 21st century. Practically I hope that this process will represent an update to a brief personal theology/confession that I have reworked every five years or so. The 2008 version can be found at gospelmemes.pkress.net.  In the past this document has only had to stand up to my own scrutiny. Given that my own life experience is continuing to change, I expect my own critique to be harsher than ever. But, I also hope that by conducting this query/discovery cycle in public I will be able to better understand how the concerns and explanations that I grapple with resonate with the rest of you, and how your perspectives can more deeply inform my own contemplation. Ultimately, I am hoping to find a language for gospel seeking that will resonate across generations, cultures and faiths.

I will be attempting to pursue this discussion as a series of short interactions. In upcoming posts I will reflect on …

  1. Co-opting memes:  Wisdom
  2. Crisis of belief
  3. Cogency:  Science and faith
  4. Incarnation and universe
  5. Universalism and games
  6. Resurrection and humanity
  7. The problem of power
  8. Dynamics of corruption
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2 Responses to GospelMemes: First Thoughts

  1. Tim Beckham says:

    Peter, this is a very powerful concept and an ambitious venture. I look forward to following and being informed by your posts. You have taken on an extremely challenging task, but it is one which cannot be shirked, if there is to be any progress in bringing the gospel in an effective way into the 21st century.

    I urge you to be careful, however, in your use of simile. The parallels of gospel with gravity, for instance, are limited. Gravity, after all, is intrinsically sensible and precisely measurable. Faith is totally subjective and the truth of gospel is anything but objectively verifiable. It is easy to believe in gravity; just try to fly. It is never easy to believe the gospel, even if you do manage, somehow, to define it.

    Anyway, bring it on! I admire your courage and your mind. Whatever comes of this, it will no doubt keep us thinking.

  2. [...] Leave a CommentAll kidding aside, over at GospelFutures, my buddy Peter Kreft is starting a discussion on what he calls GospelMemes. Working off of his own spiritual journey, Kreft wants to invite others, to participate with me in [...]

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