Why start at his first letter and not the gospel named after him. Mainly because I seriously doubt whether many would get the message of that book because of it’s deep esoteric roots. Even better than a one of the other synoptic gospels mostly because believe it not the history of Christ is not as important as the “inner work.” So many western christians are convinced to do the “How” job of the Holy Spirit in others lives and in perfect tomfoolery.. that’s why I don’t believe many are coming into that faith as much as they are merely accepting it’s moral code and making a mental assent to certain religious vagaries.
To read John’s first letter is ruminate on the sublime. That most of our translations don’t begin to even carry it’s spiritual significance is truly sad though. Of the most horrendous import I would say is the piss poor translation of chapter 1 verse 9, which makes no sense given verse 1 chapter 2. The basic gist is seriously the need for vulnerability and gut level honesty about ourselves, the world and the inkling of God we can have at first but must. It has very little to do with a concept of sin and more to do with feeling into the estrangement we have with our fellow humans and the loss of humanity both on a collective and individual level. If I would have been able to forego all the mental and emotional trappings of churchianity I’m sure the Spirit would have led me rather serenely through this litmus test of faith in the transformative nature of the Divine. I may have even been able to escape the tribal and super tribe affiliations that pressured me to have to force my “right beliefs” on to others.
John gets it right from the get go, it’s about love.. and wherever you find the character of love you find christ and they are the children of god, no matter what they call themselves. The confusing part to the church goer is the part that says “anyone who doesn’t accept that Christ came,” but that’s still not a requirement for mental assent as at least a few foolish apologists have tried to say. It’s actually an affirming that God has touched down into humanity in a transformative way. Where the “message” part comes in is how we describe terminology and what that “person” of Jesus looks like. You see the Jayzuz of many church goers bears little resemblance to the one that truly took on our humanity.
The term “love” has to be articulated and that’s exactly what the Spirit does through the believers who he uses to SHOW them what this looks exactly like, what St.Paul puts out in 1 Corinthians 14. When this is seen as a reflected of the perfect Christ through those becoming, hope and all sorts of qualities start to really take root. As Paul states elsewhere, the Spirit becomes our assurance of completion of this cleansing lifestyle he is effecting.