“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn
Jesus was dangerous.
He rocked the status quo.
He ticked the religious leaders off.
He touched lepers, ate with sinners, and became friends with tax collectors.
He valued women.
He called out the misuse of power and religion.
He healed people when he wasn’t supposed to.
He did what others wouldn’t.
He went where others refused.
He told the truth.
He was subversive.
He had fun while a whole bunch of other people were being overly serious.
These are just a few of the reasons that whenever I think of Jesus, I always smile a wry smile. He was so counter-cultural. And still is.
Unfortunately so much of the church has adopted a much more domesticated, less-dangerous take on Jesus. We’ve tried to make people feel comfortable instead of uncomfortable. We’ve adopted the cultural norms for patriarchy instead of smashing them down. We’ve separated ourselves from the riff-raff and created homogeneous groups that make us feel safer. We’ve taught our women to quench the fire in their bellies and remain in the background.
We’ve built programs around money and people instead of dignity-restoring. We’ve become tame. But tame won’t change the world. And well-behaved women won’t change the church.
As Jesus-followers, we are supposed to be dangerous.
We are supposed to be known as the weirdest, wildest, craziest risk-takers in town.
We are supposed to go where no one else will go.
We are supposed to love in ordinary ways that are actually extraordinary in such a harsh world.
We are supposed to rock boats and stir pots.
We are supposed to risk our pride and safety and comfort for the sake of beauty and love and justice.
We are supposed to live free and strong and confidently as women made in God’s image.
We are supposed to be dangerous.
If you’re like me, being “dangerous” feels scary. It’s true, a lot of people liked me better when I was a good Christian woman, towing the line and following the rules. I was such a good peace-keeper, pushing down who I really was for the sake of not rocking the boat too much or letting people down or risking disapproval. I was raised with a pervasive voice in my head that echoed, “Don’t do anything that will make people mad or uncomfortable.”
But the older I get—and the more I travel a path of descent, not ascent—the more clear it becomes that playing it safe is not the way of the kingdom.
In-the-trenches incarnational living, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, eye to eye, life to life, is dangerous. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s risky. And it looks different for all of us. What’s dangerous for one person isn’t for another.
But I keep learning that living dangerously is also where the action happens. Where healing happens. Where hope is fanned into flame. Where love comes to life. Where justice emerges. Where mercy oozes in.
Jesus was and is dangerous. And I think he’s calling us to become more dangerous, too.
Plus, it’s just a lot more fun.