Crazy and Missional

The word “crazy” surfaced a couple of times in conversation at the Missional Order Conference. This is actually a biblical word; used eight times in the New Living Translation. On one occasion Paul is accused of being insane and crazy in Acts 26:24 and in another incident he seems to be defending himself against accusations toward his apostleship with the following statement, “If it seems that we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God…And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.” (NLT)

I find Paul’s words extremely encouraging as a follower of Jesus desiring to align my life along missional lines. Personally when sensing the Spirit’s leading or calling to journey down a particular path that is new and unfamiliar, there are often thoughts like….. “this is crazy!” “I must be crazy to be thinking like this!” or “this is just plan weird!” — along with multiple other thoughts that flood my mind. And reinforcing such thinking are synonyms like “demented,” “mad,” absurd,” insane,” and “deranged.” Than there is Webster’s definition of crazy as; 1) unsound of mind; mentally unbalanced or deranged 2) having flaws or cracks, shaky or rickety, unsound.

As conversations emerge concerning the formation of missional orders and what that might look like regarding, practices, substance and styles, it might be helpful to remember that “crazy” is a good word. Good in that Paul identified himself with this word. Good in the sense that anyone described as crazy will not be found within the status quo. And good in that it will certainly be one of the descriptives applied to this particular ecclesial path; both within the conversation and without — at least in the beginning.

For sure there are flaws and cracks in our thinking, and much of what we are considering is somewhat shaky and rickety (unformed) …. at least it feels and looks that way. As such, maybe we can think of ourselves as those identified as being with and among other crazies and participating in something that at the very least is a little bit crazy — just crazy enough to work.

For those of you who attended the Missional Order Conference at Seabeck a question to ask ourselves is; could the words crazy and vunerable be synonyms or connected in some way? A possible conversation for another time.

Rick Meigs sent me this excerpt from Jim Cymbala’s book, Break Through Prayer following a conversation about crazy.

When D.L. Moody began his evangelistic work in Chicago, he wasn’t applauded, but instead nickmaned ‘Crazy Moody’ because of his zeal and unorthodox methods. (He had the bizarre notion that God loved poor, dirty street urchins and wanted them saved. Church leaders rejected this ‘radical’ departure from the status quo and secretly sneered at his lack of seminary training.) Nevertheless, D.L. Moody trusted the marching orders the Lord gave him.

“Crazy” seems to be a good descriptive word for those missional folk desiring to bring glory to God.




4 Responses

  1. Rob, good thoughts.

    I’ll acknowledge “crazy” as both a precursor to “vulnerable” (as we process internally the outrageous things we believe God is wanting done) and as felt (by self) and observed (by others) reality resulting from encountering “vulnerable” in a life of obedience.

    But, this cannot surprise coming from one who choses to call herself AbiSomeone (as in Abi-Normal)… 😉

  2. I like your use of the word ‘crazy’. Some years ago my wife had a vision of a ‘house of cards’ – just like the ones children used to make from playing cards. The whole structure was vulnerable, especially when cards are withdrawn one by one! In our vision we sensed that it was a description of future church, at least in our sphere. But it all seemed too flimsy. But when the wind blew on it in the vision the structure simply slid along rather than collapsing. The thought came that the strength was in the joints. And so we had an outwardly very fragile appearance but with the challenge to foster strong relationships even if with outwardly fragile and crazy structures.
    Perhaps a missional order could appear structurally crazy and vulnerable but with strong relationships?

  3. Peggy,

    My prayer is that those of us within the “missional paradigm” will become more accustomed to words like ‘crazy’ and ‘vulnerable, as well as many others that are more difficult to embrace.

  4. Rowley,

    Thanks for your comment. I resonate with idea of vulnerable structure, something we North American’s are not used to. But in most of the third world, these structures are everyday life.

    May strong relationships be the holding together of whatever structure we find ourselves in.

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