Tag Archives: ordinary radical

Meditation: Being an Anomaly

In a recent email exchange, a friend made the comment that he viewed himself as sort of an anomaly, to which I responded “you are an anomaly!” (I didn’t put an exclamation point on it in the email, but I did in my mind.  It was such a perfect word.)

But since my response was meant to be an encouragement, I thought I’d best look up the word in the dictionary before hitting “send”.   Though my first reaction to the word was positive, when I worked in systems design an anomaly was never a good thing.  It was always the thing that happened that you weren’t expecting, and since you wanted computer programs to function as expected, you were definitely not happy when an “anomaly” popped up.  But people are not computer programs (thank God!), and I for one find those who don’t function as expected quite refreshing.  So, fortunately I have a dictionary on my Apple Powerbook that pops up with the flick of the mouse.

Anomaly: Something that deviates from what is standard, normal or expected.

When I read that definition, I almost also wrote in my reply: “I hope I’m an anomaly too!”  And then I got to thinking: Wow, wasn’t Jesus an anomaly?  He really absolutely never functioned as he was “supposed” to.  He always slipped out of the verbal snares others tried to lay for him, because he didn’t answer as expected (I won’t list examples since they can be found in almost every interchange he had in the Gospels).  And in fact, he upset the religious establishment because he didn’t act as expected either (hanging out with all those “sinners”!  What was he thinking????)   And hey, I think he called us who follow him to be like Him, and therefore to be anomalies in the world as well! Which makes me think, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all viewed ourselves as anomalies?  I think we just might turn the world upside down.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

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The Irresistible Revolution

“… the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.” – Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution.

Recently I finished reading Shane Claiborne’s book  Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical.  I found it incredibly refreshing.  I got the book when I was talking with a friend about social activism in the church, and how we as believers ought to be voices in our society against injustice – whether it’s homelessness, poverty, human trafficking or any of a variety of other social ills.  To which my friend replied, “Have you read Irresistible Revolution?” and promptly gave me a copy.

The basic thrust of this book is a call to the Church at large to return to our first love, Jesus, and our true purpose, which is to establish a “different kind of kingdom”, not church institutions that follow the pattern of this world, but communities that operate upside down from the ways of this world, where people really take Jesus at his word, and the first become last and the last become first.  The book is a call to a grassroots movement of love, community and radical servanthood.  It paints a dream of a different kind of Church, “a people who believe so much in another world that they cannot help but begin enacting it now.”

I recommend this book for anyone who is tired of church as usual, anyone who may be wondering where Jesus has gotten to in the midst of our modern American church life.

Caution: read this book at your own risk.