“You Might Think I’m Crazy”
“Crazy Good News.” That was the title of today’s sermon by my pastor, Rev. Jonathan Gaska
of Trinity Presbyterian Church, reflecting on “The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God” — proclaimed by an odd character out in the wilderness, far from the centers of power and privilege (Mark 1:1).
“Maybe a good barometer for how close to the Gospel we *really* are,” Jon mused, “is when people begin to think that we’re crazy.”
I perked up immediately behind my computer live-streaming the Zoom service. I’ve been called that a lot. For believing…
– That our global community can confront climate change, not with inadequate half-measures, but with the boldness and compassion to supply ALL our energy needs with sun, wind, and water AND care for neighbors who will need new livelihoods because of this transformation.
– That our country can welcome immigrants now hiding in the shadows, who have come seeking only safety and dignified livelihoods, and recognize them as full members of our communities.
– That children of all colors can learn together even in this segregated city. That every single school can have trusted interpreters that bridge the gap between families and schools and help the most vulnerable access the best opportunities for their children.
– That our state (like many others) can require basic public health protections in farm laborers’ working conditions and housing to keep them at least as healthy as the CEOs who profit off their labor.
“Crazy!” Folks might not use that word, but they often say that ideas and hopes like these are “idealistic,” “unrealistic,” “not politically feasible.” In other words, not deserving of serious consideration. In need of being pared back, toned down, made unthreatening to the powers that be and the way our abundant resources are currently distributed to create unimaginable wealth for a few and scarcity for others.
It is tempting to pull back and settle for crumbs, for what we can get “realistically.” But today’s sermon reminded me that crumbs are not “the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Yes, of course justice takes time. But it requires a vision worth working for.
So the next time someone says what we’re asking for is “unrealistic,” instead of apologizing for asking too much, I will lean in. I will invite them into a new way of seeing and dreaming what is possible. For perhaps that is “the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God” – which was, after all, proclaimed *first* to laborers in the fields.