From the movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance"
Rannulph Junnah: Now, the question on the table is how drunk is drunk enough? And the answer is that it's all a matter of brain cells
Hardy Greaves: Brain cells?
Rannulph Junnah: That's right Hardy. You see every drink of liquor you take kills a thousand brain cells. Now that doesn't much matter 'cos we got billions more. And first the sadness cells die so you smile real big. And then the quiet cells go so you just say everything real loud for no reason at all. That'ok, that's ok because the stupid cells go next, so everything you say is real smart. And finally, come the memory cells. These are tough to kill.
The Gospel was written with great excitement and passion as the authors used the accounts of Jesus to tell the story of a radical kingdom where everything was turned upside down. The "good news", the gospel, was not simply a work of literature but a salvation manifesto. The gospel was a sermon of how God worked through the Holy Spirit to turn the divine to human back to the Divine. The narrative of Jesus' life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection sparks a fire of imagination, salvation, restoration, and kingdom life. When you read it you can't sit still! You pace because of nervous trepidation as you ponder the journey you must now embark on. When you share it with others passion oozes from your very being. When it was preached to the crowds in Acts they were cut to the heart and called for immediate response. It is the very kind of writing that makes your eyes glaze over with amazement, your body tingle with excitement, your stomach host flutters of giddiness, and your heart pound with exhilarating purpose.
As editors we critique the literature. As rationalists we analyze it. As culturalists we compartmentalize it. As theologians we spiritualize it. And as Christians we simply either dumb it down or completely ignore it.
We have become so intoxicated with the world that we are consuming a drunken gospel. A gospel that has been depressed. A gospel that has lost its senses. It lacks touch, taste, and vision. Now let me be clear. The gospel has the same vibrance it always has from the beginning. However, we have doused it with spirits of complacency, boredom, and timidity. We have desensitized ourselves to the raging power of the gospel where we cannot feel its push. We wake up the next morning with our head throbbing from the saturation of explanation and we have forgotten how we got here in the first place.
The gospel is alive and passionate. A drunk gospel will only win drunk Christians. A mediocre gospel will only produce mediocre Christians. However, a passionate, alive, fiery gospel will win and produce passionate, alive, and fiery disciples. We need to resist the addictive, depressant, empty gospel of a tame religion. And we need to drink in the fresh water of the Jesus story that intoxicates us with its truth and deliverance.
Now, let's read the gospel anew, again!