Sometimes I get this fleeting thought that Christianity is at its heart a guerrilla operation. It gets corrupt when it takes over the royal palace and takes on responsibility for making the trains run on time and keeping the sewers clear. Any time it feels the need to be respectable, something of the shadow rises.
Christianity lives on the edges of society and in the slums of the human heart. It is not heard where the wise gather to discourse on learned topics or where the pious keep their careful rituals or where the mobs scream for blood and folly on the sandy floors of the arena.
A pastor at a megachurch once scolded me for suggesting that Jesus’ primary concern was not helping the upper-middle class sleep easier at night. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jesus came to save the upper-middle class. I just think — as Scripture warns — wealth and comfort cloud the eyes and ears of sinners.
Let those with ears hear!
It seems to me that the ears that are most often open to hear Jesus are those who don’t anticipate ease and comfort in this world. The early Methodists either understood this or were forced to learn this as they were excluded from the respectable circles. The American circuit riders patrolled the wild edges of civilization. We United Methodists might be living through a return to the wild edges, not by choice but by grace.