In recent years it seems to have become a cultural ‘thing to do’ to mock Christianity. Ever since Ricky Gervais’ infamous skit about the Bible took off, comedians, columnists and TV hosts have noticed that there are people interested in seeing the Christian faith being made fun of, and have responded accordingly. I don’t have as big a problem with this nowadays as I did when I first became a Christian, because I understand that they have as much right to laugh at Christianity as I have to believe in it, but a lot of the time it still feels like people are pandering to an audience when they do it. That said, I do often find it helps start discussions and debates that feed my faith, and gets me asking questions that I maybe wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Today I was reading The Independent, currently one of my favourite newspapers, and there was an article entitled “2016’s Celebrity Pearls of Wisdom” in which Jessica Barrett was sharing some quotes from celebrities this year and giving her commentary on them. One of these quotes was from Justin Bieber, who said: “I just want to honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus. I don’t want that to come across as weird.” Barrett’s response was “Living like Him is a bit weird too, Justin.”
Now, when I read that, my first response was a mental sigh. Another entertainer trying to please the Dawkins devotees by suggesting that Christianity has no value in the 21st century. When’s this train gonna finally run out of steam? But then I thought a little more about what she’d said… and realised she had actually made a very good point.
There are many things about Jesus’ lifestyle that would be, indeed were, considered ‘weird’. I’m not just talking about living as a homeless wanderer surrounded by a cluster of followers, although that’s a little bit strange too. But when we look at the things He stood for, it’s clear that most of them are, in one way or another, different to what our society is based around – or in other words, weird.
Living among the least affluent members of society is weird.
Selling all you have and giving the proceeds to the poor is weird.
Forgiving others even when they do terrible things to you is weird.
Believing there is an all-powerful being who created the human race and has its best interests in mind is weird, let alone giving yourself wholeheartedly to serve said being.
If it’s not already clear enough, living like Jesus is weird. But you know something? There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Yes, the Lord had His mockers and critics, some of whom were willing to string Him up on a cross in a bid to shut Him up. But He also attracted certain types of people with His message – people who were ignored by the rest of society and lived at the bottom of the figurative pile. And two thousand years later, His crowd is bigger than it’s ever been, and it’s always growing. If following Christ’s teachings is considered weird, then I’m fine with that. I can think of far worse things to be called than ‘weird’, after all…