one of my favorite gospel stories is the woman who busts into simon the pharisee’s house in luke 7 and falls at Jesus’ feet, wiping his feet with her tears. in that moment, he was hanging out with the put-together, religious elite talking about theology. they were supposedly the sane ones, and she was the crazy one who disrupts their important meeting with her public display of emotion and gratitude.
the leaders looked at Jesus–“aren’t you going to do something about this? i mean, really, come on, we have important things we are talking about (like the religious law) and you’re letting her interrupt us?” Jesus, in his wild and wonderful way, points out the mind-bender–she gets it. do you see this, my friends, this is what i’m talking about. this is humility. this is heart. this is the big idea. this is what love looks like.
she looked crazy, but she was actually sane.
this happens a lot in the life of the refuge. i sometimes use the word “crazy” to describe our community & i get rebuked sometimes for it because it can be misconstrued. i think the rebukers (who do it in a good way, just so you know!) are right because that word can be misleading & i don’t mean it in a negative way. i use it because the refuge is wild, chaotic, raw, and unedited in all kinds of ways. at the same time, for various reasons many of us here have been somehow labeled as crazy in the broadest sense of the word, either because of life struggles or difficult experiences, mental or physical illnesses, or by bucking typical church or worldly systems.
from the outside many see the refuge as “those people”–the hurting ones, the desperate ones, the weird ones, the odd ones. the ones who need healing in order to get with the real program.
on the outside it can look like that sometimes. but on the inside, seriously, it’s more sane than almost anything i’ve ever seen. the word sanity implies soundness and health. i see, up close and personal, people who understand the kingdom of God in ways that supersede language and convention. they see what many others can’t. they love where many others won’t. they risk relationship where many others don’t.
rachel held evans, one of the world’s most fab bloggers, wrote a beautiful post called blessed are the uncool that got some rocking comments about the state of the church. it was based on this post about a special needs boy who was escorted out of a church because he was perceived as being disruptive. in different ways, it sounded a lot to me like the story of the woman at simon the pharisee’s house. in this example, this kid represents the outcast, the fringer, the one-without-the-proper-filter-in-the-moment that the church wants to shut down, scuttle to the side so that we can “get down to business about worshipping God properly.” when really, that moment has so much that we can learn from.
it’s not crazy at all for him to stay and be free in that moment. to bring his real self to the community.
to me, that feels sane.
what feels crazy to me is the church’s reaction in that moment.
in this real life story, the religious leaders thought it distracted from the more important thing–the worship & preaching in the service and that it would make attenders “uncomfortable.” in luke 7, the religious leaders were appalled for different reasons but the issue was the same–let’s get to what we think is important–talking about theology & picking apart the scriptures.
but Jesus upheld her disruption, her crazy act, as the better thing because it was about freedom. about humility. about beauty. about healing. about submitting one to another in love.
it reminds me how often Jesus did all kinds of things that made absolutely no sense to the religious system–touching lepers, restoring dignity to sinners, becoming friends with tax-collectors. all of it seemed crazy.
in a lot of relationships i intersect with–both in and outside of the refuge–many are applying deep truths about love & healing from intense stuff & practicing really hard relationship skills that are awkward & scary & messy. some people would say we’re crazy.
but in the kingdom of God it’s completely sane.
it makes me think of what apostle paul says in 1 corinthians 1:
“the scriptures say, “i will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” so where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish…God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. and he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” (vs. 19-20, 27-28)
later, in 1 corinthians 8:1, paul also has another little gem–“while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.”
and against-the-pull-toward-comfort, kingdom-inspired love looks crazy.
but it’s actually sane.