Faith Fueled By Wild Abandon

I read a poem from the 13th-century poet Rumi the other day, and I can't stop thinking about a particular stanza.  It was both disturbing and intriguing, so I thought I would share it: 
If you don't have 
enough madness in you 
go and rehabilitate yourself... 

There's something about that poem that lights a fire inside of me for some reason, and the more I thought about it, the more my excitement about it grew. 

I know I am a nerd if that's what you were thinking. 

So what did Rumi mean by this stanza? 

It has to do with having the kind of spirit within us that drives us toward adventure, the newness of life, change, and transformation and also spurs us on to live life with wild abandon. 

And for me, it means that this kind of spirit also informs my life of faith. 

Many Christians believe that to be a Christian, you have to be "set apart" from the rest of the world, but this almost always takes the form of a holier-than-thou approach to life and faith. 

This means that many Christians tend to focus on "culture war" issues or get hung up on determining whether or not someone is living a "holy" life.  In my experience, this leads to a joyless, overly cautious, and compartmentalized expression of faith. 

Jesus taught his followers to be fully engaged in the world around them.  He wasn't afraid to bend the rules of convention or ideas of holiness to be with people who needed to know God loved them. 

And he exhorted his disciples to live the same way.  

Jesus wanted his followers to approach their faith with exuberance, wild abandon, and the kind of "madness" it takes to be led by the Spirit.  He wanted them to embrace all of life and to demonstrate what it looks like when God turns your life and your world upside down. 

It's no wonder Jesus' followers were often accused of being crazy. It takes a bit of "madness" to follow Jesus.  

And I'm not talking about following the Jesus created by the dominant forms of Christianity in our culture today.  That Jesus doesn't look, sound, or act like the Jesus we find in the Gospel accounts. 

The Jesus I'm talking about is the Jesus who ate with "sinners," defied religious rules that didn't make sense, and seemed bent on healing the world through love, acceptance, radical faith, and sacrifice. 

The Jesus I'm talking about constantly taught his disciples to push the limits of convention, to allow themselves to be led by the wildness of the Spirit of God, and to do so with the kind of joy that can only come through complete surrender to God's purposes. 

So if you lack a bit of "madness" in your faith, let this serve as an encouragement to find some.  Let yourself be led by the Spirit to embrace the adventure of following Christ. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all now and forever. Amen. 


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