Sara and I are rereading Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli each morning as our focus before she leaves for work. This morning we read one of my favorite passages in this one of my favorite books:
Predictability and faith cannot coexist. What characterized Jesus and His disciples was unpredictability. Jesus was always surprising the disciples by eating at the wrong houses (those of sinners), hanging around the wrong people (tax collectors, adulterers, prostitutes, lepers), and healing people on the wrong day (the Sabbath). There was no Day Timer™, no strategic plan, no mission statement; there was only the eager anticipation of the present moment. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to be the same as they were. His truth should be should be the same truth that they had spent centuries taming. But truth is unpredictable. When Jesus is present, everyone is uncomfortable yet mysteriously glad at the same time. People do not like surprises—even church people—and they don’t want to be uncomfortable. They want a nice, tame Jesus.
You know what? Tameness is not an option.
Take surprise out of faith and all that is left is dry and dead religion. Take away mystery from the gospel and all that is left is a frozen and petrified dogma. Lose your awe of God and you are left with an impotent deity. Abandon astonishment and you are left with meaningless piety. When religion is characterized by sameness, when faith is franchised, when the genuineness of our experience with God is evaluated by its similarities to others’ faith, then the uniqueness of God’s people is dead and the church is lost.
I love his sentiments even though I’d differ with his use of the term ‘church’. The church that Jesus knows prefers the danger of walking with the Living God to the routines of safe institutions any time. This church thrives in the wonder of the Living God, present among his people to accomplish his purpose even if that means he defies all of our preferences and expectations. May God have his way even if that thwarts our best-laid plans or ruffles up our comfort zone.