Archive for August, 2011

August 18, 2011

Being a weird, and normal Christian — but not a silly one.

This morning I stopped by the 7-11 to buy a soda for a potluck we were having at work.

As I entered I noticed a man with what looked like a Bible in his hand –  mind you, its six in the morning, and I am grumpy when I’m wide awake so being half asleep just makes it worse for me, and for you. So I entered and as he exited the building he said; “I snuck in here like a thief in the night.”  While the attendant at the counter just sorta stared at him. “I’m gonna reign with Christ for a thousand years.” As he pushed the door open, and then concluded while raising his Bible; “And the devil can kiss my ass.”

Now, if I were not already an amillenialist, this would have been sufficient proof for me. Premils tend to be silly, they read newspapers not for news sake, but for prophecy sake. You see the Bible is the headlines, and the New York Post is just reporting what the Bible already says, my grandmother (bless her heart) always used to say; ‘todo esto esta escrito’ and while I do agree with her, I wish I could simply say; ‘pero, el reino de Cristo es ahoy’. My grandmother is very edifying when it comes to the gospel, very insistent on orthodox Christian doctrine, but when it comes to eschatology she just falls in line with typical evangelicals. (I didn’t translate because, well, if you don’t know spanish shame on you – this is America, and Google Translate is very nifty in this case)

But in all seriousness, look at Shark Weak, Kanon Tipton, The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse, and the late (might as well say late) Harold Camping…why can’t we just be normal Christians? Why do we have a tendency to make the sides the main things. And in doing so making the main thing a side dish. Isn’t it enough that our gospel is strange, offensive and foolish? Why do we have to interpret an airport as a phallus? Or be culture warriors instead of evangelists while open air preaching? Or look stupid, instead of heralding the foolish message we believe?

Isn’t our message sufficient for being weird? I mean, heavens, we believe God died on a cross and that it was a good thing!? Why do we have to supplement the foolishness of the gospel with silliness and in doing so trivialize it? Its foolishness to those who are perishing not because we make it silly but because God caught us by surprise, you’re making it silly by trying to debate them on six-day creationism instead of heralding the death of God incarnate on a bloody cross for us.

I’m by no means an expert, but I am tired of the eccentricities (even my own). Of course we’re all guilty of it in some ways, for example a cage stage Calvinist is silly, but maybe not as silly as a conspiracy theorist, dispensational premillenialist. Fundies are really silly, but not as bad as open air fundies. Charismatics are strange, but Pentecostals are worse. I guess, I’m just wondering if we take away the gospel from whatever particularity we have, or whatever pet doctrine we observe…what do we have? A Gospel-less hobby-horse. Fundamentalists remove the gospel and turn into legalists, dispensational premillenialists divorce it from eschatology, rabid Calvary Chapelites from soteriology, cage stage Calvinists while touting that the gospel is the five points of Calvinism refuse to go further. Pentecostals displace the gospel and make God the Holy Spirit the showman. And when we do this, we look silly…I’ve heard a cage stage Calvinist tell me he argued about Calvinism with a Mormon!? WHO CARES!?

Maybe the reason we’re so silly is because we’re not weird. Maybe, a lot of these issues are symptoms of a real problem, maybe these people with all of their hootin’ and hollerin’ about pet doctrine x, or pet doctrine y refuse to integrate, immerse themselves, and live in light of what really is weird; the doing and dying of one, Jesus Christ. And maybe it’s when we realize that the reason we’re weird is that we confess a dead, risen, and ascended messiah. And its by that confession that we see how normal we are compared to other Christians.