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“It’s as crazy as it seems.”

Written by Daniel Tidwell : January 15, 2008

These words form the center of a song I wrote that has been rumbling around in my head for the past year. They recurred to me in force during a recent visit with my parents over the New Years holiday.

This was my first visit to my parents’ home since I got married, my first visit since moving across the country, my first visit since entering graduate school. A lot is changing in our lives.

It was good to go back, but it was hard too. I was hit full force with the reality of how difficult it is to bring those you love along with you in the journey of following the way of Jesus.

I had one of “those conversations” with my father. My father is a conservative, evangelical minister. If asked he would say that he holds every word of the Bible to be infallible. He also maintains a very strict political stance that supports war on a fairly broad range of grounds. That said, we had a discussion about Biblical interpretation, the centrality of Jesus, and what that means for ethics.

I never thought I would be in the position of “out fundamentaling” my father, but in talking with him, I came to articulate something that I believe is at the heart of a transformation that has taken place in my life in recent years.

I hold that Jesus Christ is God incarnate. The Triune God self-revealed among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of this, the testimony to this direct revelation is the primary lens through which I read scriptures. The gospels convey a story of God with us. This story is the dominant narrative that I am determined to have govern my life.

It doesn’t make sense to look up the barrel of a gun at someone who would do me harm and find some way to attempt to show them love and compassion. It doesn’t make sense to know that I could gain tremendous wealth in this economy and yet try to live in a downward mobility that leads to sustainability and generosity.

These ideas are just as crazy as they seem.

Indeed, the wisdom of God is foolishness to us. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not comfortable. It’s not easy. It hurts like hell. But it is the only way that I can see when I read the words of Jesus calling to me, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Jesus is my foundation. As hard as it may be, I pray that I may be transformed as I stumble into the way that Jesus calls each of us to follow.

I don’t think I could have said this in quite this way without being challenged by my father. I am grateful for our dialog. More, I am hopeful that it will call us both further along Jesus’ path of repentance.

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Comments

3 Responses to ““It’s as crazy as it seems.””

  1. Mark Van Steenwyk on January 15th, 2008 5:01 pm

    I’ve had similar conversations with my dad. He’s a conservative Pentecostal. I think he recently got to the point that he thinks that my odd shift in thinking is mostly a good thing. I’m sure he thinks I’m too liberal and too intellectual, but at least he knows my life is motivated by a desire to embrace Jesus Christ and everything he teaches.

    Jesus doesn’t make a lot of sense, does he? Most of the teachings of Jesus aren’t accessible; he said as much himself. We have to let our imaginations be washed in his strange parables and challenging teachings. And then things will begin to make sense. As long as we try to make the teachings of Jesus a set of wise truths that we can add to our arsenal of existing wisdom, we will complete the cycle of marginalizing Jesus. We have to let him come into our Temples and turn over the tables.

  2. Casey Ochs on January 15th, 2008 9:06 pm

    Evangelicals and Fundamentalists often are accused of interpreting the Bible too literally. Actually, I think the opposite is true. When Jesus said “love your enemies” I don’t believe he meant kill them. Taking Jesus at His word is life transforming and scary, but we have no were else to go; He has the words to eternal life.

  3. mountainguy on January 15th, 2008 9:32 pm

    I don’t know if there’s anyone who interprets Bible literal in Her whole totallity. The ones who think that earth is 6000 years old ussually do not have any trouble in supporting unjust (but thay think they are just) wars. And almost all the rest of us do think that earth is a lot more than 6000 years old.

    Ironic?

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