“If I am out of my mind it is for the sake of God, if I am of my right mind it is for you.”
There is nothing that stops you dead in your tracks like the accusation of being out of your mind. Nothing prohibits good causes with greater success. A quick journey into history would validate this fact. Nothing was ever accomplished without formidable opposition from reputable men. Paul was used to being the odd man out. It had become somewhat of a badge of honor. He spoke of being a Fool for Christ, the Scum of the Earth, and the Refuse of the world like it was his job. Appearing crazy seemed to be a sign of salvation in his theology. He spoke of it often and without apology.
If God hasn’t driven you nuts, it’s no good saying you’re his disciple. If his invitations haven’t taken you to the brink of a breakdown, you’re not really listening. There just have to be times when you’re bewitched by the mere mention of a statement like “eat my flesh and drink my blood”. There is no way to dress those kinds of statements up into fancy Easter attire. I remember a time when I broke into a hot sweat laying in my bed one night thinking of how bizarre the gospel is and how batty I must be to lay hold of it like I have. How do you explain the patterns of this inane life? How do you make sense of the mystery of it all? How do you vouch for a God who, at times, seems so contradictory? I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t have to.
Sometimes the best antidote for all these questions is to assume the label “crazy”. It’s interesting to me that Paul’s reason/excuse for being out of his mind was God. Furthermore, he polished off the sentence by acknowledging the fact that any clear thinking or logical living would probably be the result of people pleasing. This isn’t a wild card to allow for a life lived without attentive discernment, thoughtful preparation or common sense, it’s just a verse tucked in the text to argue for something other than human composure and logical closure. It’s so easy to interpret God’s will through the grid of human philosophy or conventional wisdom.
I fear that in recent years I’ve become easier to explain. I’m more socially conscious and politically correct. I fear coming across as extreme or narrow-minded. I’m more tolerant and flexible, amiable and gregarious. What began as a healthy movement toward love has turned into a movement of “live and let live”. I don’t want to appear dogmatic or fanatical. I don’t want to offend anyone, God forbid. I don’t want to be ostracized and label legalistic. So, like many, I back peddle into a corner and twiddle my thumbs in pathetic paralysis.
Here’s the point, at some level, I have to clothe myself with Christ and contrary to popular opinion, he wasn’t the most level-headed guy to walk the planet. He was accused of being out of his mind in Mark 3 and anyone who follows him closely won’t escape the same criticism at times. He said that all men will hate us because of him and that if we think we can slip through life unscathed we’re living a pipe dream because “no servant is greater than his master”. We can’t outwit Jesus in figuring out how to make this message palatable to the masses. There’s bound to be occasion when despite our best efforts, we won’t be able to keep people from sizing us up and coming to the conclusion that we’ve lost our minds. It wouldn’t be the first time in church history.