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Go crazy for God

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By Paul Borthwick I live in the American suburbs in a beautiful town. Many friends and neighbors hold college degrees, drive nice cars, and present themselves as dignified, respectable citizens. While I know that behind their doors there is relational abuse, alcoholism, de…
By Seth Barnes

By Paul Borthwick

I live in the American suburbs in a beautiful town. Many
friends and neighbors hold college degrees, drive nice cars, and present
themselves as dignified, respectable citizens. While I know that behind their
doors there is relational abuse, alcoholism,

borthwick despair, people walk with heads
high in my community.

How do I present the love of Christ in this context? I try
to fit in. I act dignified, talk intelligently about my faith, and warm others
to the gospel. If someone asks about our international missionary work, I talk
about respectable things – like leadership development, well drilling in poor
villages and health care for children.

People listen and clap politely, but none get too excited
about the Christ they see in me. The neither act nor react. What am I doing
wrong?

When I looked more closely at the examples of Jesus and the
apostle Paul as witnesses to God’s truth, I discovered my problem. I’m simply
not crazy enough.

Consider Jesus – he started his ministry, performed some
healings, drew some followers, and then came home. And there, his family tried
to restrain him because people were saying, “He is out of His mind” (Mark 3:21). The religious leaders called
him demonized and his own household refused to believe (Mark 3:22, 31-35; John 7:5).

Or look at Paul. He gets his big chance for ministerial
influence in the political arena before King Agrippa, but rather than softly
introducing the story of God’s love, he gets right to the point – declaring the
suffering Messiah whom God raised from the dead (Acts 26:23). The listeners
quickly observe that Paul, like his master, Jesus, was out of his mind. He had
truly become a fool for Christ’s sake.

When I first decided to follow Jesus, we lived in a counter
cultural era. We followers of Christ happily considered ourselves “Jesus
Freaks”. Being out of step with society was a good thing. We saw a little
weirdness as evidence that our true citizenship was in heaven.

I wonder if I need to return to being radically different
than the norm. Maybe my neighbors would rise up and take notice if I started
welcoming the outcasts of the world into my dignified neighborhood. Maybe I
should take my neighbors with me to the poorer world – so that they could see
the counter cultural nature of following Christ.

If I were a little wackier for Jesus, at least my neighbors
would be forced to have an opinion – rather than relegate me into the category
of a “nice, religious person.” If being crazy for God was good enough for Jesus
and the apostle Paul, it should be good enough for me.

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