For many Christians, faith is a safe and comfortable little thing they keep in their pockets in case they need it. They go to church regularly. They may even work at the local soup kitchen during the holidays or teach a Sunday School class. It is relatively easy to call yourself a Christian; and because we respect the rights of individuals to define their own path, who are we to say that that is not enough?
But then we read the Gospels, and we see Jesus sticking his fingers in people’s ears (Mark 7:31-37), rubbing mud in people’s eyes (John 9:1-7) and having conversations with fig trees (Mark 11:12-14). He does not fit in any of our boxes, does not conform to our safe version of faith. He is downright weird sometimes.
If your version of Jesus is flat and sanitized that you have never considered how absolutely ridiculous these things are, then I hate to tell you this, but your faith is dormant and dying. Your Jesus is not the astonishingly, absurdly bizarre person the Gospels depict for us.
It is true.
Jesus was an outrageous, frustrating person. He did shockingly weird things which should catch our attention and knock us back. Jesus is unsettling. He is disruptive and troubling. Most of all, he is dangerous to our way of life, our easy religion.
I am endlessly fascinated by Jesus, not just because of his divinity (which is another subject altogether) but also because of his pure, unrelenting humanity. His compassion, his devotion to others, his intense faith – these things worked their way out of his soul and into the experience of those who knew him.
If there is one desire I have as a Christian, it is that I want to be astonished by Jesus, living on the edge of the inconceivable. I’d rather know him in all his ridiculousness than be happily ignorant and religious.
I don’t want a modernist, rational, santized Jesus who is stripped of his absurdity.
What drives our faith should not be what is easily understood but what is not. It is the mystery, the unsolvable and irresolvable that makes faith an adventure.
You can listen to a recent sermon on this topic by clicking the button below.