If you want self-help, ask Oprah for a book recommendation. If you want to know how to make more money, I’m sure Dave Ramsey’s got some thoughts for you. If you want to know how to vote, Rush Limbaugh can guide your hand.
But if you want to know God more, see Christ more clearly, discern the presence and work of the Spirit, then there’s only one place to go…
…but I warn you, it’s foolishness.
The preaching of the gospel concerns the foolish notion that an obscure 33 year old Jewish peasant, who claimed to be God, died on a Roman cross 2,000 years ago under the accusation that he was inciting revolt against the government. It affirms the crazy notion that this peasant didn’t stay in the grave, but somehow rose from the dead, defeating death, the devil, and all the forces of chaos in the world.
Seriously, you have to be a fool to believe that stuff. That’s CRAZY talk! People get put in insane asylums for believing that kind of thing.
But that “foolery” is exactly what truly Christian preaching concerns itself with. It announces that the wisdom of the world is foolishness before the God of creation. It says the wisdom of this Jewish peasant, who never wrote a single word, trumps the wisdom of Oprah, the advice of Dave Ramsey, and the guidance of Rush. It says a guy accused of inciting a revolt against the government was actually the God of the universe.
If you want pragmatic religion you can find it in any Christian bookstore. But if you want the religion of a Jewish peasant who rose from the dead, listen to the foolish preaching of the cross. Through its lens the world looks upside down and maybe even a bit impractical, but then again, maybe that’s why Jesus said it was hard to believe and harder to live.
It’s foolish to love your enemies.
It’s foolish to give up this world to gain the next one.
It’s foolish to bless those who curse you.
It’s foolish to pray for those who persecute you.
It’s foolish not to enact revenge.
It’s foolish to be concerned with the betterment of others more than your own self-help.
It’s foolish to worship a God you can’t see.
It’s foolish to believe the meek will inherit the earth.
It’s foolish to give away everything you have and follow a crucified Jewish peasant.
It’s foolish to listen to preaching that honors these things as true wisdom.
And yet that’s the foolishness we’ve been called to hear, believe, and live in light of. Because, ultimately, that foolishness is the wisdom of the of the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.