The gospel begins at the Bible's beginning. If we fail to begin there, we will miss the gospel.This beginning has to do with our identity as human beings. First, God creates the heavens and the earth. And only after he creates humankind, does he pronounce his creation "very good." (Genesis)
Humans are said to be created in the very image of God. The Greek word used to translate the Hebrew (in the Septuagint- LXX- the very first Bible translation, and used by the apostles) is eikon. An eikon reminds us of icons in Orthodox churches, or computer icons. They are like windows, that can lead the viewer into the reality which they represent.
Humans are not just individuals, to fend for ourselves as to our identity. Instead, we are Eikons of God, made to embrace God, ourselves, each other and the world. In response to God's embracing grace of us, in Christ, by the Spirit. And thus, we can "glorify God by enjoying him forever." And live in community for the good of each other and the earth. God's gifts to us of "freedom and relationships with others" are inherent to us being eikons. We freely relate to God, ourselves, each other and the world, as God relates to us and his creation.
Mister Fred Rogers, himself an ordained Presbyterian minister, impacted a generation of young people in helping them see that they are not dirt or scum. But very special. And as such are to live as those in their neighborhood- seeing others also, as very special.
The rampant individualism of our culture has left people out in the cold as to who or what they are. In isolation from the Story of God, they can only fend for themselves. But as C.S. Lewis wrote:
Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.Then Scot McKnight adds: "The gospel begins right here."
How do you see yourself? How do you see others? Why are these considerations the beginning of understanding the gospel of God's embracing grace? And what would this embracing grace look like in your world? What changes may this involve?
(These postings are more or less interactive with Scot's chapters. And therefore do not necessarily represent precisely Scot's thoughts. Though my goal is mainly to represent his thoughts. We can do more interaction with them on comments.)