Friday, September 05, 2014
This evangelical urgency, which Pope Francis gets in his bones, is the leitmotif of the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). He knows that if Catholicism leads with its doctrines, it will devolve into an intellectual debating society, and that if it leads with its moral teaching, it will appear fussy and puritanical. It should lead today as it led two thousand years ago, with the stunning news that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and the joy of that proclamation should be as evident now as it was then.I read that and I think "The Catholic Church should become just like Evangelicalism." I would maker the point that if you lead with a simply stated formulaic gospel the church will become shallow and its members self-centered seekers of salvation ignoring all other aspects of the Christian faith.
My point is a simple one, no church Catholic or otherwise should choose some aspect to "lead with." The gospel is not a message of salvation, a doctrinal statement or a moral code. Nor is it any other neat little thing we can tie up into a package and hand to the world as "product." The gospel is a complicated amalgam of all those things and much, much more. It is not a message, it is a force, a force that will change lives and the world - a force that has already done precisely those things.
Thrying to encapsulate it, or even trying to decide which aspect of it to emphasize is court disaster. It is an all or nothing thing. It is not safe, but it is good.