Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have met very few dignified youth pastors.  I certainly wasn't one.  It's a job only a fool would do...
Me, totally undignified- 1990
 Going to church is easy.  All that is really required of you is that you show up- and if possible bring a little cash.  Claiming to be a Christian is easy.  All you have to do is learn the language- Christianese- and then be nice.  Everyone knows Christians are nice, and nice people fit in everywhere.  But following Jesus- really trying to live life the way He taught us to live and really trying to love one another the way He said we should- that is a bit tougher.  Jesus never taught us to be nice- He taught us to love.  That's radical.   Not only are his teachings sometimes difficult to live by, when we actually succeed in following them we are often a target of scorn and ridicule.  Your friends may think you to be a little "off" if you spend your time and your resources helping the poor and the hungry.  Responding to someone who steals your shirt by offering them your coat as well may bring a visit from men in little white coats.  We live in a world that is so far out of step with Jesus that anyone who tries to live out his teachings will be seen as foolish.  Many of us grow up thinking that foolishness is a bad thing, something to be avoided.  In fact, scripture encourages it!  1 Corinthians 4:10 reminds us that those who follow Him are fools for Christ's sake.  We will always look foolish in the eyes of our world when we follow the Christ.

But it's not just the world we can be out of step with when we seek to follow Jesus.  Sometimes we become out of step with the church.  I grew up thinking that any noise other than preaching, praying, reciting, organ music or singing respectfully from a hymnal while in church was an offense to God.  I memorized Psalm 100- "Make a joyful noise to the LORD"- but I never made one.  My experiences among Quakers taught me that even in silence I could participate in worship, not simply be a spectator.  But I was well into my 20's before I discovered that worship could be passionate!  It was not offensive to God if I moved a little or felt real joy in worship.  I could clap my hands, pray out loud and sing with gusto and joy in church- all of the things I loved about church camp and youth group.  It was an amazing revelation.  How could I have gone to church all of those years and never had anyone tell me that King David had once danced before the LORD with such joy that he danced right out of his clothes?  I am not suggesting naked worship, nor am I saying that there is any one correct way to come before God in praise.  I am simply stating that for me, my understanding of the foolishness of following Christ and my ability to pour out my heart to God in worship expanded greatly once I understood that it was perfectly fine to be undignified.

Today's song, from the David Crowder* Band, takes it all one step farther.  If we live our lives full of the passion and love of Jesus, then we will seem a little loopy to those around us.  We will seem "mad."  We will act in foolish ways.  And when filled with the Holy Spirit, we just might become down-right Undignified.  We just have to remember, as the last line of the song says, "It's all for you my LORD!"  So here is your assignment for today.  Play the video found below.  Sing along.  Dance!  See what kind of reaction you get from those around you.  If they look at you like you are a little crazy, congratulations!  You have taken another step towards following Jesus.  But please- don't dance out of your clothes.  Even being a fool for Christ has limits...

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