The Absurd Imagination

My friend Steve Swope posted this quote yesterday and I liked it so much I just had to share it today:
"If the church loses this sense of absurdity and starts believing it really is some kind of army with sufficient strength to swat down our enemies and exert our will, then our worship becomes idolatry and our life demonic. But when we realize that what we say in worship can be true only in the improbable reign of God, we regain our souls and sound the trumpet, this time for an army that marshals no troops but the frail saints, bears no arms but the sword of the Spirit, makes no advance except that of love and has no enemy but that which undermines God’s hope for human flourishing." -Thomas Long

There's this pattern in the Gospels where Jesus turns the presuppositions and assumptions of dominant culture upside down. He doesn't always completely deny the assumptions, in fact, in some ways he affirms them... only in a completely and absurdly subversive way. For example, the dominant expectation. For Jesus was that he'd lead a revolution against the powers that be and usher in a new kingdom... actually, their expectation wasn't wrong... they just couldn't have guessed what kind of revolution Jesus was actually going to lead, exactly who the revolution was against, and exactly what sort of kingdom he'd usher in. It wasn't that Jesus wasn't about the things they expected him to be about, he was just that in a radically different way than what they had imagined.

So as Christians, in the way of Jesus, we need to use our imagination. When we think that we are supposed to change the world, rise up against injustice, and advance the agenda of God's reign... perhaps we're not totally wrong... perhaps we just need to do it in a way that is radically and absurdly different from the patterns of the world. And perhaps on another level, we need to take ourselves less seriously. This kind of imagining should definitely keep us on our toes.