What is the basic, distinctive message of Christianity in a nutshell? What is the ‘good news’ Christians talk about?
The problem is death – the problem is obvious.
The solution is eternal, abundant life. If that were possible, it would indeed be good news – the term ‘good’ is an understatement.
The Christian good news is that it is possible – through the Christ, eternal, abundant life can be attained – there is a way, and this way has come about because God loves humanity and wants to open up a path for anyone to follow to eternal, abundant life.
That way – as narrow and difficult for the ego as it might be – is through the Christ’s teachings, example, and existence as an ascended spiritual Master with whom we can have a direct link.
Now, if this were true, it would be good news, and this is the distinctive message of Christianity in a nutshell. The question for anyone is whether it is plausible.
Christianity in a nutshell can be reduced to 3 L’s. Those are
- Learn. Life is a spiritual adventure, and much of the purpose of life is us becoming better. Many of the challenges we face can be seen as challenges which are stimuli for us to grow spiritually, and so Christianity is all about us learning (in a spiritual sense).
- Love. Jesus says the summation of the Law is to love God and love one’s neighbour as oneself. Jesus gives a new commandment, which is to love one another as he loves us. And you get the definition of God from St. John as simply “God is love.” So connecting to and integrating love into our daily lives and actions is the purpose of much of Christianity.
- Let go. This can be thought of in two primary ways. The first is to let go of negative emotional energy – to forgive in an experiential sense is to ‘let go’ of the emotional debt you feel is owed to you, to release the negative emotions. Jesus teaches to forgive not 7 times but 7 and 70 times. This letting go applies not just to feelings of anger and resentment, but pretty much all negative feelings, and much of Christian spiritual practice is aimed at how to do this. The second sense is in terms of ego – to let go of focusing on ourselves and instead focus on God, which means focusing more on the good and others. It means letting God guide us in our day-to-day life, and again, much of practical Christianity aims at creating these sorts of habits.