Last week at this time I was focused on the pastor that was predicting Saturday would be Judgment Day, the beginning of the end of the world. In the week leading up to May 22, the news media was increasing their coverage. Knowing that all Christians would be lumped in with this, I was interested to learn as much as I could. So when Colorado Springs’ News First 5 teased before a commercial break that they were going to address it, I stayed through the break to watch with interest what they would say. In the report they played a portion of an interview from July with a woman named Marie Exley of Colorado Springs, who spent her own money to buy advertising space on billboards and bus benches to spread this message. In the interview she said something that caught my attention:
It’s basically by faith…that I’m going out there and…putting myself out there. I’m gonna allow people to think I’m crazy.
While I don’t agree with her message, I admire her willingness to put herself out there. Too often we become reserved in our proclamation of the Gospel. Too many treat their faith as a life-enhancer rather than a life-changer. Often we soften or withhold the message to protect our image in the community.
The Apostle Paul calls us to be “fools for Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) as we live the counter-cultural message of Jesus. Unfortunately that image has been co-opted by clown ministries (I’m not a fan – I don’t like clowns) and drained of its power. Paul was calling the Corinthian church to put itself out there; to daringly live in a way that others would deem foolish; to spend their money, time, and energy living the Jesus way even when that flew in the face of conventional wisdom.
The church needs to reclaim our foolishness, not for a Judgment Day date, but for the sacrificial love of Jesus for us all. The church needs to teach radical peace in a time of conflict, exemplify unity in a day of divisiveness, live Kingdom lives in the midst of national pride, and boldly proclaim love and grace in a climate of intolerance.
I know she is wrong, but I admire Ms. Exley’s faith. Maybe if the church were more willing to “put ourselves out there” for the Gospel message, there would be less need for her to buy bus bench advertising space.