Most people have done things they look back upon and view as a bit wacky. “What was I thinking?” Sometimes they were done for love. Sometimes they were done to relieve boredom. Sometimes they were done for the thrill and attention. And sometimes they were done because of personal convictions. Then there are the things done that are downright insane with potential life-threatening consequences.
It Makes Sense to Me
Interestingly, every one of these and others that have done or are doing things considered weird or “off the deep end,” believe they have “good” reasons for their actions. That which is seen as reasonable, justifiable, and positive is always determined according to an individual’s values and worldview. Amou, the non-bather, has explained the reasoning behind his position. He got quite sick after taking a bath when he was young. Because he values feeling well, it logically followed in his mind to never wash himself again.
The same idea can be applied to how a society or an entire generation thinks. Common thought processes and unique patterns of logic develop in groups that make sense to the members but many times not to “outsiders.” We often look back in history and negatively judge people for their stupid actions or beliefs. But many individuals we think of as nutty or deranged were actually quite intelligent, maybe even more so than ourselves. It’s the way they viewed the world, understood reality, and determined values that shaped their dubious and sometimes atrocious behavior. Beliefs are the machines that produce our actions and lifestyles.
Glad I’m Not the Crazy One
But before we divide the present population between the right-minded and the crazies, maybe we should ask ourselves some questions.
“Crazy” is, after all, a relative term, depending on where you stand. Many years ago, my wife and I believed God spoke to us about quitting our salaried jobs and joining a mission organization. Friends and family raised eyebrows in concern. Words like “illogical,” “damaging,” “stupid,” and “unthinking” were used to communicate their concerns. And while we could on one level understand why they said these things, we also had our eyes fixed on a different interpretation of reality. We had caught a glimpse of living toward eternity. Since we believed we are eternal beings, we were trying to see beyond what made sense or felt good for merely the moment. Our thought process went like this: if we say we believe and trust God, then we should seek to live out our belief and trust in every part of our lives, even if we appear to be a bit loony, unhinged, or out-of-touch.
It’s so easy to label certain activities in others as “crazy” because we don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, the process that got them there.
The First Christian “Lunatic”
I have been comforted by looking at the Apostle Paul’s life. Few people who have studied him deny his brilliance. Yet in his day he was accused (possibly multiple times) of being out of his mind (Acts 26:24). Responding to a heavenly vision, he went from violently oppressing Jesus followers to proclaiming Jesus to be the true king of all nations for all time. Highly educated, Paul traveled the known world telling anyone who would listen that the Creator of all things and Lord of reality had become a man. This man was eventually executed as a common criminal, but then resurrected into a new form of incorruptible life and as the rightful ruler over all the earth. This was insanely offensive to the Jews who expected a conquering warrior as their messiah. It was laughably wacky to the Greeks who had their unique methods of logic and philosophical reasoning. And it was disturbingly psycho to the Romans who had developed their own quasi-religious system for keeping the peace and protecting Caesar as the only king.
Yet Paul was so confident that he was seeing God’s plan for the world at work through Jesus, no accusations of being a liar, lunatic, or disturber of the peace could stop him. His heaven-come-to-earth worldview informed everything that he believed, said, and did. He refused to cave to the mounting cultural pressure to conform. In the end, he himself was beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and executed because his “craziness” was too much for the fragile culture he lived in. Yet the “lunacy” of his proclamations found responsive hearts, and networks of faithful believers developed and spread around the globe and through the generations after him. The heavenly kingdom of God ruled by Jesus took root in thousands and millions of flesh-and-blood temples. The governments and systems that mocked Paul’s outrageously “kooky” message eventually, in one form or another, bowed their knees or passed away. Ultimately, who was out of touch with the big picture of reality? Who were the crazy ones?
Do I Need a Perspective Change?
Most of us feel we’re the ones who are sane. The way we live our lives and the attitudes we hold toward the issues of our day make sense to us. But how will our present worldviews stand the test of time – particularly, the test of eternity? What does “crazy” look like when viewed from heaven? Jesus followers must take on a higher perspective when we evaluate our drive to accumulate material stuff, push to empower ourselves at the expense of others, take on trendy causes, or make pursuing personal happiness our top priority. There are so many human mindsets and attitudes that feel normal and justifiable now but will ultimately be shown as lunacy in light of the eternal kingdom of Jesus.
We are presently choosing the kind of “crazy” to which we will submit our lives and eternal futures. Jumping out of airplanes without a parachute and declining to bathe for decades are nothing compared to the craziness of failing to live this present life with eternity in mind. We may be accused of all kinds of painful and humiliating things like Paul and Jesus were. But we must choose to hold on to the bigger picture. Our loyalty to the TRUE King will be rewarded in the end. We will see that fidelity to Jesus was always the sanest and most solid thing we could hold to in this lifetime.
May His kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
*You can find these and many more crazy activities on the internet.
(Edited and reposted from January 18, 2021)