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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, December 24, 2003
    He came down to earth from heaven - whaaaat?!
    Predictability and faith rarely coexist. What characterized Jesus and was his utter unpredictability. Jesus was always surprising his friends by eating at the wrong houses (those of sinners), hanging around the wrong people (tax collectors, adultarers, prostitutes, lepers), and healing people on the wrong day (the Sabbath). There was no Day Timer, no strategic plan, no mission statement; there was only the eager anticipation of the present moment. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to be the same as they were. His truth should be the same truth that they had spent centuries taming. But truth is unpredictable. When Jesus is present, everyone is uncomfortable yet mysteriously glad at the same time. People rarely like surprises - even church people - and they don't want to be uncomfortable. They want a nice, tame Jesus.

    You know what? Tameness is not an option.

    You take surprise out of faith and all that is left is dry and dead religion. Take away mystery from the gospel and all that is left is a frozen and petrified dogma. Lose your awe of God and you are left with an impotent deity. Abandon astonishment and you are left with meaningless piety. When religion is characterized by sameness, when faith is franchised, when the genuineness of our experience with God is evaluated by its similarities to others' faith then the uniqueness of God's people is dead and the church is lost.

    - Mike Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder. Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild? - pah!