Blog readers often want to know “who are you…what is that blog name about…and why are you writing a blog anyway?” Here is more than you want to know…
The Gospel Side features the ruminations of a post-Young Life Episcopal priest whose desire is to help people walk with the triune God. I bloviate on various topics including: Young adults/Millennials, Youth ministry, Culture, and the Church in it’s Relevant, Multi-ethnic, and Ancient/Liturgical forms. I post rants, resources, and things that make me smile.
I am married to Kari. We have two children, Ellie and Luke. I like the Phoenix Suns and sailing. My paying gig is Canon for Youth and Young Adults for the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. The job title is a catch-all for about ten things, at least nine of which I really enjoy, including the Youth Ministry Apprentice training program (www.youthministryapprentice.com). I also lead the multi-ethnic church planting team at St. Jude’s in Phoenix (www.mystjudes.com).
“The Gospel side,” for my low-church friends, is the side of a traditional 2-pulpit church from which the Gospel is read, as opposed to “the Epistle side.” Assuming the sanctuary faces East (towards the rising sun and the Son at His returning), the “Gospel side” was the North, or left side. It was from this place the story of Jesus was proclaimed and the implications of that Good News expounded upon in the sermon. The people were then tasked with extending the glory of God by carrying His message to the world. Currently the Gospel is proclaimed from the center of the church, among the people. In his brief years on earth, Jesus brought the presence of God into the midst of the world, rather than off to the sides or hidden away in sanctuaries. So what I am trying to imply is that every “side,” ancient and modern, conservative and progressive, sacred and secular, are Jesus’ business.
Where am I coming from theologically? Let me say up front that I am an unrepentant ecumenical kyriarchist. Ecumenical: I think Christians should work together across boundaries and major on the majors so that we can reach a lost and hurting world with the Good News of new life in Christ. And kyriarchist, a term from feminist theology with highly negative connotations – sort of catch-all term for power inequities. It is a combination of the Greek words: “Kyrios” (Lord) and “archy” (rule). It is literally the “rule of the Lord.” The first creed among the followers of Jesus was, “Jesus is Lord.” It was a response to the cry “Caesar is Lord,” mandated to be shouted by the crowds as Roman rulers would pass through town. Followers of Jesus were forced to sign statements saying “Caesar is Lord” during persecutions. To say, “Jesus is Lord” was to defy all illegitimate human authority and power systems for another, higher obedience. I hereby reclaim the word kyriarchy and claim myself as one seeking to right wrongs by placing my life under the gracious leadership of the Lord, Jesus Christ and inviting others to join me in knowing the freedom of the reign of God in their lives. So ultimately, for me, faith in Jesus is about the process of being changed into the image of Jesus.
Matt Marino+ August 2012
*Yes, Matt is available, on occasion, to speak at camps, retreats and conferences on issues of the church, youth ministry, and, of course, Jesus. :-)