Tame Won’t Change the World

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“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn

M_Kathy

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.

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Kathy Escobar
Kathy Escobar co-pastors The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver. A trained spiritual director, speaker, and advocate, she also blogs regularly about life and faith at kathyescobar.com and is the author of Faith Shift and Down We Go—Living out the Wild Ways of Jesus. A mom of 5 young adults and teens, she is married to Jose and lives in Arvada, Colorado.
Kathy Escobar

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  • Just love this! I know just what you mean. It is “easier” when we are young to follow that dangerous call. Then kids, mortgage, “normal” life can make it seem harder. But it shouldn’t be. The call is the same for all of us at all times to step out and live a life that is set apart from the world and the culture we live in. Thanks for the encouragement today!

    • it’s so true, how easy it is to let reality domesticate us. i sure do know that feeling. thanks for taking time to share.

  • Wow, you’re blowing my hair back this morning! I really like your emphasis on Jesus as our role-model and motivator — it’s a tricky tightrope we walk when we embrace dangerous for his glory. Reading the Gospels, my faint heart cringes at some of the borders He blasted through, and I am challenged by your post to be vigilant and attentive to the voice of his Spirit.

    • thanks, michele. i like that “blowing my hair back” 🙂

  • Linda Thomas

    Your words spoke to my heart and my being: “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…. But … 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.” I’m writing a memoir about my three years in a very dangerous place in South America and your words capture one of my most important points. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • thanks, linda. i am so glad you are writing your dangerous story. we need more of them!

  • Jackie Smith Brock

    Loved this, dear friend. Needed this inspiration today (in the middle of standardized testing!) We need to be dangerous for and with Christ!

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  • pastordt

    OOOH, I love this, Kathy. Right one, friend. Right on.

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