What Does Assume Spell?
In grammar school, we learn to categorize people. The trouble starts when we continue this activity as adults. We’ve all done it before: That dark-skinned man with dreadlocks networking in a bar falls under the category “hoodlum.” A dressed-to-the-nines woman in 4-inch heels driving to strip clubs must be a prostitute. A tattooed woman with black and purple hair indulging a strange love of zombies is obviously an occult member. But, while these may not be the “usual suspects,” God ordained each of these people to go and make disciples.
That dark-skinned man we called a hoodlum, is actually a highly paid, well-educated engineer. As a teenager he made the mistake of drinking and driving, so now he hangs out at the local bar on Friday nights to give a ride home to those who drink too much. That beautiful young woman, dressed to the nines, heads to the strip club to pass out goody bags with Bibles to the strippers. The tattooed woman with purple hair loves zombies, but she isn’t fascinated with the macabre. In fact, she loves zombies so much that she wrote a Bible study based on the book of Ezekiel. She is a mother, a teacher, and a pastor’s wife.
Demons and Drunks
“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
The apostle Luke paints a vivid picture here of the conforming expectations we deposit on people. John came living an austere life; the religious leaders called him a demon. Jesus came laughing and joyously connecting with people; he was labeled a drunk. John was an herbal tea; Jesus, a Russian tea. Both were shaken and not stirred, a freak and a party-animal. If the religious leaders of the day categorized the prophets sent to them by God as demons and drunks, we should pay attention as to not fall into the same trap. Why? Evangelism is not a synchronous march; it is a funky dance.
Feel the Evangelical Funk
For 20 years, I walked around as a card-carrying member of the undead. Completely numb inside, I stumbled from one broken relationship to the next, leaving damage in my wake. I knew Jesus; I just didn’t consider him a safe option. When I was 21 years old, I began counseling. My self-awakening was painful, like your leg feels when it has fallen asleep and you try to walk on it. The life blood rushing back to an area that had long been lifeless was excruciating. My healing resembled Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones returning to life. God breathed his spirit into me, inflating my soul with a groove that I can’t deny. So I dance my zombie gig for his glory in every word I write.
My story is essential to my evangelist style. We each are gifted with a story of life change, our unique wiggle in this world. When we attempt to shove ourselves into a pre-set mold, we destroy the beauty and influence personally breathed in us by God.
In the immortal genius of Bruno Mars, “If you are freaky, own it!”
In what ways have you or others that you have known labeled people?
If Jesus used broken people why do you think most churches are afraid to?
Share your responses in the comments below!
Maina Mwaura loves to provoke thought to student leaders minds. He is the husband of one wife and the has a two year old daughter name Zyan. Maina, lives in Huntsville, Al. He can be reached at MAINASPEAKS.COM