“If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God.”
(2 Cor 5:13)
Do you make several “foolish” decisions a day? Do people often look at you strangely, shake their head with scorn and just walk away? Do you regularly get accused of being silly, foolish or extremely impractical by those close to you? Do people think you’re a bit off your rocker?
If you answered “No” to the above questions, you may not be following Christ as closely as you should. One thing that rings clearly throughout the Bible is that God’s people are called to live in a way radically different from what the world deems normal. For example:
Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade for your soul?” (Mark 8:34-37 The Message)
Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.” Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? (1 Corinthians 1:25ff)
When it comes down to it, we should look a bit nutty to those who don’t understand what God is up to in the world. The Kingdom he inaugurated cuts against all conventional wisdom. The revolution Jesus started is like no other.
How can we NOT look a little goofy and off kilter when…
- We believe it is better to “embrace suffering” rather than running from it.
- We believe “self-help is no help at all” in a culture enamored by Dr. Phil.
- We are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
- We are called to lead others by being last — not first in line.
- We “turn the other cheek” instead of seeking revenge.
- We believe true power is coming under others in self-sacrificial service rather than bossing people from above.
- We are called to deny ourselves rather than indulge our desires.
- We believe that “power is made perfect in weakness.”
- We worship a man executed as an enemy of the state.
- We hear voices and talk to an invisible God.
- We believe in Christ “to die is gain.”
And so on and so forth.
If we really believe the Apostle Paul was correct in asserting that “Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God” (1 Cor 1:25), then why do give the nightly news so much creedence? Why do we so quickly buy the media’s bias on matters of importance? Why do we so easily fall into the humanly-created political options of Left and Right? Why do we so uncritically trust Time and Newsweek magazine cover stories? Why do we look so similar to the average unbeliever when we’re not in the pew on Sundays?
And, most frustratingly, why do the only Christian people gaining the reputation for being crazy wing nuts have to be the obnoxious, self-righteous, conservative fundamentalists or the off-their-rocker prosperity teachers and false healers? Let’s reclaim our calling to be “out of our mind for God” (2 Cor 5:13). Let’s put the peculiarity back into the people of God. Let’s embrace our call to holy oddness. Let’s make strange the new normal and God’s foolishness the new wisdom of today.
Here’s a great book by one of God’s weirdos demonstrating what it might look like for us to embrace a lifestyle of an “ordinary radical” as we play our part in Jesus’ “Irresistible Revolution.” The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne