Reading the scripture passages for this week, my mind jumped to thought of the Yes Men. These guys have made a little career out of posing as representatives from institutions they want to criticize, using a kind of mockery that goes beyond what I've seen before... Posing as World Trade Organization representatives, they've shown up at REAL conferences, after people who visited their mock website invited them. They give presentations on utterly shameful, taken-to-the-extreme, ethically bankrupt ideas.
The amazing thing is that people think they're real. They get away with it, because no one seems to be ready to question them.
All of which makes me think how far we've come from the sharpness of that crowd Jesus talked to in Nazareth. (Or, perhaps, how easy it is to trust someone with a good website and a nice suit?)
In Luke's gospel, when Jesus spoke in Nazareth, he proclaimed, plain and clear, in the words of the Hebrew prophet, Isaiah, what he was about: bringing good news to the poor. Setting the captive free.
Then, the people quickly turn on him. They're quick to see the implications of what he's saying. It's bold and it challenges.
Perhaps the didn't look like the prophet they imagined. Maybe they could sense that he really meant it.
So he has some tough words for them, suggesting that he's not coming for their comfort, but for the lost and marginalized people. This doesn't make them any happier.
But, then, when did Jesus promise a life of easy happiness?
Which brings us, naturally, to our second text, from First Corinthians. This text may sound familiar. We often read it at weddings.
(Which, by odd coincidence some people believe might just be the happiest moments in their lives...)
It's all about love. Not just the love between husband and wife, either: it's the love that's to be shared in the Christian community. And it's not all white doves and flower petals... It's patience and it insists on the truth. It requires that we avoid arrogance, boastfulness, rudeness. I'm still working on these things.
This love, when you read the fine print, is hard stuff. I wonder if we should react more at the boldness and craziness of it all?