What’s the Gospel in Seven Words?

I’m enjoying the Christian Century’s ongoing “What’s the Gospel in Seven Words?” feature.

Some of the responses are whimsical, such as Martin Marty’s “God, through Jesus Christ, welcomes you anyhow” or Mary Karr’s “We are The Church of Infinite Chances.”

Others attempt more theological precision, such as Walter Brueggemann’s “Israel’s God’s bodied love continues world-making,” or Max Stackhouse’s “God enters history; renewed covenants promise salvation.”

I’m pleased to see that, overall, these attempts to distill the gospel into seven words mostly keep in mind that the gospel is good news — that this should be a positive message. “God was born. We can be reborn,” Carol Howard Merritt writes. “Divinely persistent, God really loves us,” writes Donald W. Shriver Jr. I like those.

For what it’s worth, here’s my first attempt at the Gospel in Seven Words:

Emmanuel. Olly olly oxen free. Death loses.

Anyone else want to give it a try in comments?

 

  • Donalbain

    Sometimes a few people suck, yes. But mostly people are decent, and kind and loving. There is nothing wrong with recognising the fact that we are not perfect, but to make “we suck” a central part of your worldview is just too sad for me.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Donalbain, you might be decent, kind, and loving – but I am not. I am often – very often – more selfish, rude, angry, arrogant, and vindictive than I want to be.
     
    I need, as Jenny Islander was saying, some way to reconcile the massive gap between who I am and who I wish I was.

  • We Must Dissent

    “God will destroy you, so worship him!”

    At least that’s how it was in the churches I was raised in.

  • arghous

    After three million years, all mankind savable!

    If you meet the Buddha, kill him!

    And now for something completely different: a non-troll entry:
    Take
    away the filthy garments from him.   – Zechariah 3:4 (If it isn’t Jesus-specific, does that make it not part of the Gospel?)

  • Chaomancer

    All are worthy of love. Including you.

  • nirrti

    God lives in everyone. Treat them accordingly.

  • friendly reader

    How about we don’t use “suck” and use the Biblical “sin”? Everybody sins. Everyone’s a sinner, but that doesn’t matter to God’s love.

    Or how about, “We are loved even though we’re imperfect”? “We’re loved even though we’re flawed”?

  • Albanaeon

    “What’s so hard about this?  Love EVERYONE!”

  • ako

    Donalbain, you might be decent, kind, and loving – but I am not.

    This is a weird statement for me to read.  If someone else said something like this about you, I’d feel compelled to argue and defend you.  And if you said this in a context that wasn’t about religion, I’d try to encourage you to recognize your good qualities and generally be concerned about your self image.  Because I’ve seen you treat people in kind and loving ways, quite often, and you seem, to me, to be a fundamentally decent person, and what you say here sounds a lot like stuff friends of mine with mental health issues and low self-esteem say about themselves when they’re in a bad way. 

    I know it’s different, because this is in a religious context, and ties in with concepts such as original sin and people being in need of redemption.  I just don’t entirely understand how it’s different, or what an appropriate response would be.  (Er, should I be worried?  Is there a distinction between recognizing your flaws and getting down on yourself that I’m not picking up on because it’s being discussed in different terms than what I’m used to?)

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Is there a distinction between recognizing your flaws and getting down on yourself that I’m not picking up on because it’s being discussed in different terms than what I’m used to?

    Yeah, there is. I’m much more flawed than I would ideally be – but I’m not obsessing over that. I usually wouldn’t think about it, or even mention it, except that it happened to be the topic of conversation here.

    I love lots of stuff about me – and frankly, in some ways I ROCK – but there’s still a lot of nastier bits to my character that will hopefully lessen one of these days…

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Or, to summarise:

    - sometimes people suck
    - sometimes people are totally awesome
    - we all have bits of us that completely suck, and bits that are completely awesome
    - I’m rather glad that Jesus loves me even though I suck
    - I’m also glad that Jesus designed me to be awesome, and is keen on making me more awesome and less sucky
    - that’s all his problem, really, because he decided it was
    - hence, I do not overly worry about the parts of me that suck, but instead spend my time enjoying the awesome bits – occasionally pausing to regret recent suckiness and discuss with Jesus how it can be dealt with – and look forward to eventually being more who I’m supposed to be

    …does that sort of make sense as a viewpoint?

  • hapax

    “We’re all in God’s country. Behave appropriately.”

    P.S.  hapaxdaughter’s suggestion:  “For God’s sake, don’t be a dick.”

  • Baf

    Imagine all the people, living in harmony.

  • FangsFirst

    Donalbain, you might be decent, kind, and loving – but I am not. I am often – very often – more selfish, rude, angry, arrogant, and vindictive than I want to be.

    Your *self*-description fits with my experience of Donalbain after I foolishly repeated a story from someone I love and trust, mistakenly trusting the accuracy of it and getting caught up in defending *her* honour.

    The suggestion of the opposite as descriptor set off an extreme level of emotional distress actually. Still trying to come down. Don’t deal very well with that. Don’t think anyone ever acted that vindictively, accusatory and generally nasty toward me before…

    So…I think that was a given. I’m probably not thinking straight though.

  • Anonymous

    Receive God’s love, then pass it on.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who’s honest with themselves knows that each of us has a great deal of suckitude inside of us.  It would be perfectly okay if this weren’t true, but the point is that we don’t need to be worthy of God’s love, which is good because we can’t be, and most of us know it.  God loves us even in our suckitude.

  • sarah

    Personally, I like Over the Rhine’s version: you were 80% angel, 10% demon, the rest was hard to explain.

  • ako

    That’s much more comprehensible.  I think everyone has good and bad qualities, and moments of acting on their better or worse impulses.  Bringing Jesus into is something I can only understand on an abstract level (because that’s not how I see things at all), but I totally get looking at oneself and going “I am not always kind and loving and good, and I want to be better” and trying, in a reasonable and healthy way, to work towards improvement.

  • http://spiderine.livejournal.com/ Arania

    Jesus died for your sins. Payback time.

  • Brad

    Only idiots believe this shit is real.

  • Guest

    Love: better than money, stronger than death.

  • http://www.anirenicon.com/ Allen O’Brien

    Now tell us what the gospel ISN’T in seven words or less… :) http://anirenicon.com/2012/09/01/what-the-gospel-is-not-in-seven-words-or-less/


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