After expaining to her that I was teaching a course on the First Testament at Simpson this fall, we made a connection to some people in my church that she knows. She then shared with me where she and her husband go to church and as she walked away her parting words were...
"We really love to study the Bible. Fight the fight."
And there it was - another reminder to me of one of the ways we have unintentionally twisted the Gospel (I believe she was very well intentioned and sincere).
Somehow we have embraced a version of the Good News (literal translation of the word Gospel from the Second Testament) that it must be protected or defended. That the Gospel needs us to stand up for it and to hold our ground against those who would try and weaken or dilute it. We must fight the good fight to hold onto the true Gospel!
But this Good News that love wins and abundant life is available to all, right here, right now, was never meant to be put behind a wall or a fence. It was meant to be released, so it can release! This is a message that starts and ends with love - first and last and every other spot in between - and love never needs to be protected or defended, it just needs to be lived and given room to breathe.
I know there is an enemy of this Good News who is on the prowl looking to thwart and undermine it's power, but the way to "fight" that Adversary is to unleash the freedom and transformation of the Gospel of love. And I know that I may be reading something into what this lady actually meant, but I've heard a version of this so many times it struck a chord with me this morning.
Love never needs to be defended.
It needs to be lived.