from John Frye’s reflections arising out of his reading of The Aims of Jesus:
Christians primarily encounter events in history surrounding Jesus of Nazareth. We do not encounter tidy spiritual concepts sanitized of dust and blood. We walk into the dreadful passion and the stunning resurrection of Jesus. Events.Time, place, people, events. If you wipe the dust and blood off Christianity, you don’t have what Jesus offers. You have a pathetic clone fitted for middle class America.
Does it matter that we start with narrative and not with principle? You would be inclined to think “no” if you pay attention to a lot of evangelicalism. For most, historical event is simply the disposable husk that brings us the eternal kernels of truth. All that waste on God’s part to jump start the saving process! We are too sophisticated with things like: “...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter,and then to the Twelve.” Died (event). Buried (event). Raised (event). Appeared (event). “Feed me meat,” so many say, “I know this kid’s stuff.” People are too big for the story, the narrative. They want the concepts, the principles, the tidy to-do list of applications. They want a piece of Platonized jerky. Meat.
Christianity is all about Christ. We want to change it to “us-ianity” and thus make it all about us. Paul could not have said it more bluntly, “We proclaim Christ and him crucified.” We want to hear, “We proclaim you and you saved.” (read it all)