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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Jesus Bomb

Why did Jesus' family think he was out of his mind?
a. No normal person would act the way he did.
b. They thought he was under excessive stress.
c. They thought he had “delusions of grandeur.”
d. They really didn't understand who he was.
e. They were swayed by others.

(Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1396 question 2).

When the family heard about this [how the crowds were attracted by Jesus], they went to take charge of him, for they said “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21).

I once was called an idealist by someone who had little regard for my ideas. This appellation cut me to the quick. Not so anymore. Now I'm proud to identify myself an idealist. Broadly speaking, Jesus was an idealist in the sense suggested by the words of Robert Kennedy about himself: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

The common error most of us make, of course, derives from the assumption that all people are our should be normal. Yet normalcy is a concept that never holds up well upon close examination. As Pastor David reminded us in a recent sermon:

Sometimes we are tempted to believe the illusion that somewhere out there are people who are normal. In the movie, “As Good As It Gets”, Helen Hunt is filled with conflicting feelings about Jack Nicholson. He is kind and generous to her and her sick son, but he is also obsessive compulsive and incredibly offensive. If rudeness were measured in square miles – he’d be Texas (Ortberg). In desperation, Helen finally cries to her mother – I just want a normal boyfriend. Her mother responds – everyone wants one of those. There’s no such thing. We all come AS IS. (

So the first point to make is that if abnormality makes us out of our minds, then we all are. The options that follow (a) require that the family assume a posture of The Judge—which Shirzad Chamine (in Positive Intelligence) has called the primary Saboteur that undermines the positive, creative side of human thought (the Sage as he identifies it). All such hurtful judgments are made basically out of dread, anxiety, and fear. Rather than take Jesus at his word and go with it, the deeply ingrained human reflex is to judge on the basis of anxiety and fear and the deep suspicion that, unlike ourselves, we espy entirely reprehensible abnormality in others.

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