This is the first page of Becky Garrison‘s book, Jesus Died for This: A Satirist’s Search for the Risen Christ. I loved what I read of this on the plane today. Good stuff.
Although I possess this inborn hunger to connect with the Jesus whom I encounter in the Gospels, I often wonder if he’s truly present when Christians gather together in his name. Are we really trying to put his teachings into practice or playing the Sunday morning God game? Watching the Christian cliques gather — the holy hipsters, the Promise Keeper/Suitable Helper couples who put Ken and Barbie to shame, the prayerful powerbrokers who keep the minister and the church coffers on a tight leash — reminds me that I’m not the “right” kind of Christian.
How could I ever be one of God’s girls when my deceased dad was a renegade Episcopal priest and college professor? The Rev. Dr. Karl Claudius Garrison Jr. might have hailed from the Bible Belt, but he sought salvation from a bottle of Southern Comfort.
Then again, take a good look at Jesus’ crew. They were the unclean, the unchosen, the unloved — the very people discarded by the religious establishment. What a bunch of missional misfits. No way would they be allowed to play on most Christian teams.
Here’s what I don’t get: Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection turned his followers’ lives upside down. So if those disciples were willing to give up everything they had, including their lives, to follow Jesus, then why are many Christians, myself included, such misguided messes? In the words of Mike Yaconelli, the founder of The Wittenburg Door and my first editor, “What happened to the category-smashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional gospel that spread through the first century like wildfire and was considered (by those in power) dangerous? What the J is going on?
I keep coming into conflict with the notion that my Gospel…indeed, my ministry and my church…is too safe.
But what would it like to make it more “dangerous?”