Okay, so why is it that you can search the internet and find so many examples of Christianity that are just plain weird? I've spent a little time over the last week looking up message illustrations to illustrate the power of unity within the church. More often than not I find examples of just how odd Christians can be. By odd I don't mean radical or counter cultural either, I mean down right odd.
Christianity is designed to be counter cultural and radically different from the norm. We are to be radically different for our love, radically different for our patience, radically different for our joy, radically different for our gentleness and kindness. We are not necessarily to be radically different for our taste in music, our inability to do things with excellence. Many times churches and church people miss the mark because we have made our own preferences the mark. All of this takes place while a world in desperate need of a savior watches us and just shakes their head.
So what are we to do about this disconnect? How are we supposed to ensure that we are radical and not simply weird? The simple answer seems to be to follow more closely the teachings of Jesus Christ himself. Jesus was radical, not weird. Jesus was equally able to be in a crowd of sinners and a crowd of self-proclaimed, self-righteous religious leaders. Jesus was able to bridge the gap between humanity and divinity. In fact, Jesus was, and is, the gap between heaven and humanity. The difference is that Jesus was radically different from anyone in the room and yet Jesus was radiantly regular in his approach to humanity. He was fully human as well as fully God. Jesus did not make people shake their head in embarrassment because of who He was. Jesus made people nod their head in conviction because a man who was so much like them called them to so much more.
You see.... the thing about being a Christian in this world today that makes us different is our radical belief in the resurrection, our radical belief in the power of the Holy Spirit to save, and our radical belief that Jesus Christ loves us enough to set us free. We are free to run into a world full of sinners and choose not to run them off with our weirdness. We are free to offer them Christ in a real and believable way. We are free to help them understand that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and there is a savior who longs for them to know how much God loves them. This is the wonderful nature of being a Christian.... that they will know we are Christ-followers by the measure of love we have for each other.
So next time you are faced with a choice of being a wonderful example of what a Christian is all about or being weird... choose wonderful. Choose to love the people around you in a real and powerful way. Resist with everything you can muster the temptation to be cheesy, trite, or clever with your faith. Choose instead to be real. Choose to represent the Christianity that Christ taught; the Christianity that shines radically above all the other options in life. Only then will the world around you begin to nod its head in conviction. Only then will the people in your life come face to face with the reality that they are a sinner in need of a savior. And they will come to this conclusion, this moment of conviction, because you chose the wonderful message of Jesus Christ over the weirdness of being clever with your faith.
Someday I pray that all Christians will represent Christ in an authentic, real, honest, and powerful representation. When asked whether Christians are wonderful or weird the answer then might actually be wonderful. See you in church.