Usually, I’m ashamed to tell people that I still live with my mom. There’s something infantilizing about living in the house you grew up in, where your baby pictures still hang in dusty frames on the wall. I could excuse myself with lots of reasons why I’m still on 59th ave., but let’s be honest, if I were making more money or if I stopped going to so many fights (Golovkin v. Lemieux is going to be great), I probably would have made the move already. I like living by myself. I miss it.
Anyhow, despite living with Mama Liu (sharing a wall with her, in fact), I don’t see her all that much. In a given week, I might sit down with her for one or two meals. During this meal, mom gets the chance to exercise her favorite activity with me: telling me stuff I already know. Boy, does my mom love telling me stuff that I already know. It’s gotta be one of her favorite things in the world. It’s right up there with seafood and complaining about my dad. Some may call it parenting, I’m going to call it 罗嗦.
Mama Liu has a couple of common reminders for me too. Save your money. Go earn some more money. Don’t come home so late. Stop wasting your time . Do well in school (seminary, now). Don’t break ladies’ hearts. Don’t let ladies break your heart. Use an umbrella. Wear a coat. Stop cutting your own hair. Eat more fruit. Also, vitamins.
In 2 Peter (or Segundo Pedro, as I call it), the apostle/badass Pedro does the same. He is explicit about his nagging “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have” (2 Peter 1:12). Segundo Pedro is all about reminding the church in Asia Minor of the fundamental tenets of the faith. Jesus Christ died for the salvation of sinners, in accordance with prophecy, as confirmed by eyewitnesses. And, He’s coming back. Apparently, in Peter’s day, there were lots of people saying other things, teaching other doctrines, and taking advantage of vulnerable church-goers. Peter is reminding everyone of the truth, so that when non-truths present themselves, people can defend themselves.
To this end, Peter beats a dead horse. He essentially tells his audience that he will remind them of these same things until he dies. The more I study this letter, the more I see that he is not concerned with the presentation of this gospel, but the reinforcement of a truth that should already be known. Peter, like my mommy, is trying to drill home simple truths. False teachers may conjure some “cleverly devised myths” and have sexy new spins that appeal to the people of the time, but the truth cannot be shaken by a trifling fad. Peter remains diligent to his message. It’s not new, and it shouldn’t have to be.
Every week, I try to drive the same message home. Jesus comes alongside us, pays for our debts. Jesus is a god worth following. I’m tempted to come up with fun new ways to say it, or give in the positivity of the prosperity gospel, or entice my friends with a sexy socially conscious gospel, or assuage the binary nature of the kingdom with a calming pluralism. Peter reminds me to keep it honest, keep it simple. Much like a good story, a good truth deserves to be told. Even when it isn’t the first time.