We are fools for Christ’s sake . . . 1 Corinthians 6:10
I grew up in a stoic, conservative church. We rarely clapped to the music and there wasn’t a lot of hand-raising. There was certainly no dancing or shouting. There was one lady who sat behind us every Sunday, speaking in tongues, but she was the exception that proved the rule. Some of us may have considered her behavior weird, but she was a regular, and so, we just ignored the clamor. We certainly weren’t about to emulate her though. We weren’t comfortable with outward expressions of emotion and so, we worshipped like statues.
I now attend a church that is much more expressive than that to which I’m accustomed. During the worship, I try to keep my mind on God, but honestly, sometimes I find myself watching others. At times, I admire how some people worship expressively. Other times, I just find it distracting and – I’m ashamed to admit this – I get a little judgmental. Never though, do I join in, raising my hands, clapping, or even swaying a little. That makes me uncomfortable, and I don’t want to be weird.
Paul, I think, would be more than a little critical of my worship. It’s not that stoicism itself is necessarily wrong. It’s my attitude that needs adjusting. The problem is my concern with what others might think of me. In my worship, I’m supposed to care about what God thinks of me. I’m supposed to forget myself, abandoning my way to pursue his. Instead, I sit and worry about my status and reputation.
In today’s passage, Paul told the Corinthians that, according to the world’s standards, he was a fool for Christ. In obedience to God, he chose a life of hunger, persecution, and homelessness. Paul didn’t care what anyone thought. He was fine being a fool for Christ, because knew the joy, peace, and transformation that could be found only in the new life.
I need that. I need to be OK with being a fool for Christ. I know what it’s like to follow myself and I know what it’s like to be known for the disastrous consequences of my drug addiction. When I think about it, I know that I’d much rather be known for my new life in Christ – even if that means being weird in the eyes of the world. I don’t have to go out of my way to choose weirdness. I just need to be more concerned with becoming who I’m supposed to be than with what others think of me.