Pheidippides was a Wimp: Translating the 'Headline News' of the Gospel
- Wednesday, April 25, 2007
She said it so quickly that she must have been primed for this conversation. I wondered why it had taken her 4.7 miles to bring it up.
“Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone, everywhere,” she concluded.
“Okay.” I nodded out of habit, even though all they could see was the back of my head. “And what’s the good news?”
“That’s a silly question, Ron. It’s in the next verse,” Jess said. “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. Jesus died for your sins. That’s the good news. Everybody knows that.”
“Everybody does,” I agreed. “But what if everybody’s wrong?”
I sensed a change in our running formation and glanced back over my shoulder.
I was running by myself.
I stopped and turned around. Fifty feet back, Phil was bent over with his hands on both knees, huffing, and Jess was just sort of standing there, glaring at me.
“It’s cool,” I assured them. “I haven’t turned atheist. I haven’t even turned universalist. And I can explain. But first, come on, you two; we have another half mile. Let’s pick it up again before we cool down.”
There’s a secret to making a decent egg-white omelet. To start with, forget the milk. No, not even skim milk, or organic skim milk. Milk in any form has no business — ever — in an omelet pan.
The temperature is vital, too. So is aeration. You have to whip the eggs like there’s no tomorrow, but not so much that you wind up with a pastry topping.
Jess and Phil have long since learned to leave me alone in the kitchen. So, before I fired up the stove, I walked into my study, pulled down a couple of different Bible versions, and gave one to each of them, saying, “Have a run through these while I get breakfast ready. You’re looking for two verses: one saying that the gospel — the good news — is that Christ died for your sins, and another one saying you’re supposed to buttonhole people and say, ‘Okay, there are these four spiritual laws . . .’”
I heard the two of them muttering as I sautéed some onions, mushrooms, and cilantro. There was a “here” from Jess and an “uh-huh” or two from Phil as I poured the beaten egg whites into a couple of omelet pans. By the time I set their plates before them, they both had a pencils-down, test-over look on their faces.
“Okay,” Jess said, tapping a page of the New Testament. “It says here that — ”
“Hang on a sec,” I told her. “I need to get my omelet off the stove.”
I came back with my plate, set it down, sat myself down, and said, “Let’s pray.” As I offered thanks for the food, my two friends had a look of relief on their faces. I could almost read their thoughts: Well, he’s still praying, so he can’t be that far gone.
“Let’s eat this while it’s still hot,” I said. “Then we can tackle the deep theological questions, okay?”
We discussed the morning’s run while we finished our breakfast, but I hadn’t even set my fork all the way down before Jess said, “1 Corinthians 15:3.
“All right.” I nodded. “What does it say?”
“‘I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins.’”
“And the end of that second sentence?”
“Huh?” Jess glanced down. “Oh, ‘...just as the Scriptures said.’”
“Which may be the most important part of the verse,” I said. I turned to Phil. “What did you find?”
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