are you evangelical?

When it was day Jesus departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose." (Lk 4.42-43)

During a conversation with a friend the other day, he asked me, "So, are you evangelical?"

Meaning, am I trying to convince people, am I trying to get others to do what I'm doing, live the way I live. I said yes, I definitely thought that living this way (we happened to be talking about Jesus' gift economy and dependence on God for our needs) is a great thing, a great good for anyone, that everyone is invited to live that way, and that it speaks more clearly of Jesus and his message to the world. His gospel, his "good news of the kingdom of God."

Then, yesterday in church, we were discussing the gospel as "good news." Being reminded that it is supposed to be good news, so why do we Christians so often seem somber or bored about it? That was followed by people talking about the many good things that are part of their lives, graces from God that they are thankful for.

But I noticed that they were little, everyday things. Not much different from the little joys that are a part of any human life. Which are important, sure; I wouldn't want to do without them, and I am also thankful for them. But not much to get excited about. Are those good enough news to leave home and travel around announcing what God is doing in the world? Are those good enough for people to take notice that something unusual and incredible (even miraculous) is happening?

I think the first part of being evangelical is the relentless desire to see the amazing promises of Jesus fulfilled. The kingdom of God present among us. And the abandonment of our lives, risking all to see this, so that we too have great news to share with others.

An important thing to keep in mind as Heather and I prepare to go out on the road in July...