Advice vs News

OK, so it’s been too long since we wrote a blog entry.  Much has happened, but much has not been communicated through here either.  I could make excuses and justifications, but it would be like my kids telling me why they didn’t get their rooms cleaned up – believable reasons, good reasons, even legit reasons, but the fact is the room still resembles a chemistry lab experiment gone bad.

Buddist TempleRecently I’ve been reading Timothy Keller’s book King’s Cross and have several sections underlined. Very good stuff as the author walks through Mark’s account of Jesus’ life.  In chapter 2, Keller talks about what a gospel was in the times of the Romans, giving examples of it being “news of some event that changed things in a meaningful way…something that’s been done for you that  changes your status forever (p. 15).”

He then says,”Right there you see the difference between Christianity and all other religions…The essence of other religions is advice; Christianity is essentially news.”

When I read that, I immediately thought of the people we’ve been with this year.  A few months ago, I was in a part of India
that has much persecution for believers.  One of my best friends and I were able to spend two weeks with different groups of men and women who have committed their lives to seeing the gospel known among their people.  As we shared with them the natural  way that stories communicate, one man said to me that hehad been trained in many methods of ministry, but stories were simple enough that he could see people telling others once they hear it themselves.  I believe there’s at least one simple reason why.

Advice is something that you feel you have to have a degree of proficiency achieved before you are able to give it to others; why would anybody listen to you otherwise.  News is something that is shared because it has an immediate impression on us.  What do we text, tweet, and FaceBook?  News.  Why?  We want to leave an impression.

Semere RetellingThe gospel – the whole Bible! – is news, but many people in the world either don’t know it, or have reduced it to advice. By telling other people the stories of this news, they are seeing it leave an impression on those around them.  A friend in West Africa recently took some of the training we did together and shared it with twenty-five other believers living in an almost all Muslim region.  They have since started many groups in remote villages who gather to listen to stories underneath trees and by wells.  It is news that is leaving an impression and spreading.

Looking forward to doing a better job at communicating more news to you in the coming months.

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