Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is Jesus still Scandalous?

When our pastor preaches about the resurrection of Jesus he describes it as scandalous. It was outrageous! A man died and then came back to life, upsetting generations of religious rhetoric. And that was only the cherry on top of years of ministry, which were so upsetting to those in power that they killed him. During his life he was friends with the marginal and transformed the lives of people who society had categorized as beyond saving. The people in power wanted him on their side, but he chose a cohort of ragamuffins instead.

Yes, this could also be the description of Shonda Rhimes new show, Scandal...well without the rising from the dead. And the star being killed...well so far.

The essence of my faith is described by my pastor as scandalous. I love it! I want my faith to be described as scandalous. I want my faith to make people uncomfortable. I want it to constantly challenge the religious norms. I want to question what people take as fact. I want to experience situations where Christians are uncomfortable. I want to do what no what expects me to do.

I like that my Jesus did the same things.

However, when I look around the Church, ask my difficult questions, and get answers that are out of touch with the reality around me, I wonder if my Jesus is still scandalous enough for today's world. Or is it the Church that isn't scandalous enough for Jesus?

This is my quest during Lent. Either I will find that Jesus is in fact irrelevant, boring, and not "crazy" enough for the world we live in today or I will find in the scriptures the Jesus who was outrageous enough to win this sassy, sensitive, and scandalous girl's heart. If it is the latter, then I will feel confident in fully pursuing the scandalous path I have only just begun to traverse in the Church and world. Pray for me.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE (another overused word) this topic. When I honestly look at my relationship with Jesus and the Bible, I am blown away at all of the CRAZY, scandalous things God has asked of his followers...Abraham and Isaac, Hosea and his wife, Job and his family, Lazarus, Gideon, Joshua, Elijah, Moses, and of His Son! Familiarity allows us to gloss over many of these stories without challenging ourselves: would we be able to obey?
    I find the death and resurrection of Jesus particularly disturbing. And have spent a lot of time contemplating the validity of the story and later reality and implications of his suffering. If God loved me so much that He sent His Son to suffer and die as the only way that I might avoid eternal suffering, what should be my response? Beyond Sunday morning, lent, Christmas, etc. His love should penetrate every part of me, every interaction, my relationships, my worldview. Everything! God did not think His Son's life too high a price to pay for my life (The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer).
    And yet I fail. I deny Peter.
    But the beauty is my failure didn't surprise God. He died for me while I still rejected Him. He died to give me the opportunity for redemption.
    I'm still growing and giving myself grace when I don't live up to my legalistic, perfect standards. His grace and forgiveness is sufficient...Imperfect Progress. Keep pursuing...