A couple of weeks ago I finished my sermon series called The Good Life: Redeeming Suburbia through Counter-cultural Living. I loved the series. In it, I compared the messages of suburbia about living the good life (taken largely from David Goetz's excellent book, Death by Suburb) with the message of Jesus about living the good life (taken from the Gospel of John).
In the conclusion, I reviewed all of the messages we have encountered to this point, and then showed how they worked together to form an overarching metanarrative or framing story about the good life. I said that because we believe a different story, we should be living different lives. In short, Believers Fellowship (or your church) should be an advertisement for a better way to live.
In some ways, it was a bit sad to finish this series. Because I only teach about 13 times per year, and many of those times have assigned topics, it took me 9 months to get through this 10-week series. That gave me 9 months in the Gospel of John, and 9 months of interacting with the works of Father Raymond Brown and Dr. Craig S. Keener (both have written excellent commentaries on John).
I am still fascinated with The Gospel of John and the apostle who created it. Since we spend so much time wrestling with Paul's words written mostly in epistle form--parsing words, dissecting sentence structure, tracing argument--it's refreshing to look at the Gospel of John and see how another Christian thinker has packaged the Gospel in a story. Instead of talking about our unity with Christ and how our baptism into his death unites us to his resurrection, John tells a story about a dead guy named Lazarus. Jesus said, "Lazarus come forth," and Lazarus got up and walked.
We need Paul. But sometimes we need a good story.
You can listen to the final message in The Good Life, any of my other sermons, or the ones by Gary Albert here.