It reigned over and rained on this city just weeks before we landed this weekend at McCarran International airport. Las Vegas–affectionately dubbed “sin-city”–was shaken to its core when sin made its ugliest darkside known.
A thoroughly broken man lit up this city of lights with a semi-automatic weapon, a bump stock and a cache of ammunition that would have inflicted far more damage if first responders hadn’t foiled his manically meticulous plan.
I remember hearing about the attack while on an airplane traveling for business. I wondered out loud, “Has this world gone mad!?”
When you place the Vegas tragedy in the mix with literally dozens of other recent inconceivable natural and man-made disasters it is easy to accept that perhaps both creation and humanity have lost their collective minds.
When reality isn’t airbrushed, the raw truth is…we live in a crazy world.
And if we are honest, in one way or another, that madness is because each of us is at least a little crazy. Every person is out-of-balance, unhinged or obsessive about something(s).
We don’t have a choice about that. It is part of being made “human”.
But actually, crazy isn’t the real problem. The deeper issue is this: are we the right kind of crazy?
There is a choice about that. It is part of being made in “the image of God”.
Am I insane enough to believe this world as we know it now is what is supposed to be? Am I nutty enough to accept that a racially-divided, generationally-estranged, ethnically-antagonistic, gender-embattled culture is the best we can do? Am I wacky enough to embrace the folly that political, social and economic answers that barely scratch the surface of the deep pain and intense brokenness of this shattered society are enough to fix us and bring some type of utilitarian utopia?
That is what the contemporary culture wants me to believe. Type one crazy.
Alternately, am I just crazy enough to believe that the Creator of this cosmos has something so much better for us that can be authentically realized in the rub and reality of life as it is? Am I off-balance enough to accept that when living is patterned after the love, character and priorities of Jesus things can change on both individual and international levels? Am I willingly foolish enough to grab onto a hope that stubborn addictions can be overcome, intractable diseases can be healed, broken marriages can be restored, crushed hearts can be mended, racial divides can be bridged, gender gaps can be spanned, and entire socio-economic systems can be restored simply because the God of this cosmos cared enough to come and live in our reality to show us what He meant when He made it all?
That is what the eternal Kingdom wants me to embrace. Type two crazy.
The difference in the two crazies is dramatic: Do I drink the Kool-Aid of the unreal seen or embrace the epic paradigm of the unseen real?
- Am I committed to an out-of-kilter world that believes it is ok. Or do I affirm a reality-aligned truth that seems, well, just a bit nuts to this world that functions in its own smoke-and-mirrors fog?
- Am I willing to believe that “how it is” does not line up with “how it can be” and commit myself to a higher vision of “the way it should be” (shalom)?
Honestly, some of the stuff Jesus promoted when He walked this planet got Him labeled as crazy. Even His own family thought he had lost His eternal marbles and were ready to escort Him to the loony bin. (Mark 3:21)
And if we choose to believe He meant what He said, we will be assigned to that same asylum.
- You save your real life by losing it
- You conquer evil by turning the other cheek
- You become wise by becoming like a child
- You overcome an enemy solely by loving him
- You heal from the pain of the unfair only by forgiveness
- You gain by giving…you win by losing
- You get eternal life in the grit and grim of the here and now
That’s crazy!! Yep. And what’s more, that’s Kingdom.
As Randall Worley noted, “The kingdom of God is, by nature, the antithesis of the values of the world. The way up is down, you receive by giving, add by subtracting, multiply by dividing, you lead by serving, and you live by dying.” (Wandering and Wondering: The Process That Brings Purpose)
The great Apostle who counted every bit of success he achieved as crap in comparison with knowing Jesus, recognized the insanity of the living the eternal now. Listen to how Paul speaks about this God for whom he gladly suffered the loss of all things.
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-21)
When Paul talks about the “foolishness” of God, he uses the Greek word from which we get the English word “moron”. Think about that. Paul is saying “when God acts like a moron, He is still way smarter than our peak intellectual accomplishments.” But he doesn’t stop there.
Paul recommends we also become “morons”–just like God!
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)
Fools for Christ.
That’s crazy! Yep–and that’s Kingdom.
Kingdom people are nuts enough to believe in the radical re-formation Jesus preached in a sermon on a Galilean mountain (Matthew 6-8). They pray crazy prayers like “let you Kingdom come…on earth as it is in Heaven.” Then they render crazy praise like a couple of preachers locked in a first-century prison at midnight.
It is apparent, Jesus is the King of fools.
He is the head of a crazy group of folks willing to believe in unseen possibilities, unknown futures, unrealized potentials and unbelievable outcomes.
Kingdom-obsessed, they are ceiling-walkers who live life backwards and inside-out to the current culture.
These radical counter-revolutionaries dare to believe in the original intention and design of the One who made everything visible and invisible–even in the face of a world that appears to have gone mad.
So I do have to choose what kind of crazy to be.
I choose to be a court jester in this Kingdom of Fools which exists to turn this world upside-down now so it can be rightside-up forever.