March 13, 2011
More Good News, More Jerks
NOTE: My friend Hefer, from Puebla mexico, had an experience that looked a lot like something I wrote about here. He sent me this account, which shows that truth is stranger than blogging (thank you, Hefer!).
I was on the ‘micro’ –a small bus in poor condition– headed for college when in a stop, some guys said to the driver: “Hey, ‘Chofi’! –A Mexican abbreviation of “chofer” -. Can we board to tell you a message?” The driver agreed, and they boarded. They were two young men and a girl. When I looked at them, I noticed that the girl was wearing a T-shirt with a Jesus fish that said: “Jesus is my peace.” Just a few minutes ago, I had sent Rob Haskell the Spanish translation of “The good news is that you’re a jerk”. Immediately, came to mind: “Oh, these guys are going to tell us the good news. Great! More of the same thing!” Then, one of the guys said: “I want to everybody listen to me. I have good news for all of you. Really good news!” At that moment, I thought: “Incredible! Finally, for the first time I’m going to hear the application in Spanish of something someone wrote in English. Awesome!”
One young man said to the other: “Do you know what the good news is?” “No, I don’t” –said the another one-. I was thinking: “The guy is going to tell us: ‘God is coming near! You get to be a part of something that is really great.’ Like Rob wrote in his article.” Then the young man said: “The good news is that ‘el Puebla’ won”. (‘Puebla’ is the name of the local soccer team that almost never wins). After that joke they said: “But, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.” So the girl asked him: “Does that mean that we’ll all going to hell?” “Yes!” –It was the resounding answer-. I can only think: “No way! Starting the good news with the bad news.”
While the guys were telling us in a Mexican ‘micro’ witnessing style “The good news about Jesus is that you’re a jerk. But wait! You don’t have to be.” an internal dialogue began in my mind:
- Wait a minute! You need to do something. They have to know this isn’t the only way to preach the gospel!
- But, what can I do? Give them the website of Senderis or even the link of Rob’s blog? What if they do not have internet access or do not know English?
- Jerk! You could explain what you just translated!
- Oh, yeah! In few minutes I have class and I’m supposed to explain to them something that would take almost an hour to explain it. What if they do not want to hear me? Or even, what if they can’t understand me?
- You’re right! You have the problem of explaining things theologically and philosophically to non-academic people. But, remember what Rob says in “Why theology doesn’t matter”: Every Christian can experience his/her faith without understanding everything about it.
- Although Rob says in “Biting the theologically hand that feeds you” that the cornerstone of the church is being a place where we learn about God, there’s still a problem: How can we teach something that is ‘difficult’ for some to understand?
- It is true. In your few years as a bible teacher, from experience, you realize that as much as you lighten your teaching only very few in the church can understand you. But that happens because you’re forgetting something: “Pay more attention to how Jesus taught.”
- Oh! That reminds me of the Rob’s last post: “Paul’s leadership by example”, for the part that says: “Follow Paul’s imitation of Jesus.”
- Here there is a clue to our question! Also in this post he says: “In the ancient world, imitation was a very important concept for education.” How did Jesus teach? Answer: “Spending time with his disciples. Living with them. Teaching firsthand the good news of the gospel and the kingdom of God!”
- Amen. That’s right. Looking back, people who have learned and understood my explanations of the bible, have been people with whom I have spent time .
- A great teacher like Jesus also has to be a good shepherd (John 10).
- Even more, a good sower that scatters the seed on good soil (Mark 4:1-20). This means that as teachers, we must also –as good farmers spend time with the soil, fertilizing and cleaning it, so that the seed can grow. That is, be a teacher like Jesus.
- Teaching by example. Teaching with our lives.
When my internal dialogue finished, the three evangelists were no longer in the ‘micro’ and I was arriving to the college. Well, something good came out of this experience.