By Joel Hess –
Are you a fanatic?!
Of course not! Right? You aren’t obsessed. You live by the mantras, “Everything in moderation; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Fanaticism and extremism are bad words in your calm and cool vocabulary. Fanatics belong on the news or an A&E show.
Frequently the news media calls Muslims, who are involved in terrorism, fanatics or extremists. A fanatic is someone who takes very seriously the claims of their belief and acts them out to the extreme. When discussing the problems of the Middle East, every talking head quickly points out that Islam (or Judaism) is not the problem; fanaticism and extremism are the problem.
Is that really true? Are you afraid of fanatics and extremists no matter what they believe?
Are you a fanatical Christian?
We have been catechized to thoughtlessly respond, “No! Of course not!”
Ahh, but look at our heroes of the Faith. If you read their words and witness their actions they surely come across as a little fanatic. Luther was a nut. He just couldn’t sit still and be quiet about the Salvation that Jesus won and freely gives to mankind! He was such an extremist that he would rather die than deny this belief! St. Paul was a religious nut as he proclaimed the same and was beaten and eventually killed for it. Jesus was and is a fanatic. He claims to be the Son of God. He gives his disciples bread and wine and calls it his body and blood. He egotistically calls himself “the Way, the Truth, the Life”. Jesus believed His own words to such an extent that He quietly allowed himself to hang between two convicted enemies of the state. Even in pain and death He thinks himself to be the Savior of the world as He cried out “it is finished” before He gave up His life for all mankind. That’s a little radical right? His wacked out followers (more than 500) claim He physically rose again, spoke and ate with them for 40 days!
The Bible is full of Fanatics. Are you a fanatic?
The problem with those who encourage terrorism is NOT that they are fanatics. There is nothing wrong, or even illogical, about fanaticism or extremism. If something is true, then it is true to the extreme. (Or else it just ain’t true.)
Fanaticism and extremism are not the problem. The problem lies in WHAT people are fanatic about; what they fanatically do!
Christians should be fanatical extremists in the eyes of the world! Jesus has died for the sins of the world and He has risen again! Those are insane and inflammatory beliefs. If you really trust His promises, you will naturally be fanatical about them! Shouldn’t knowing that you are completely forgiven and rescued by the death and resurrection of Christ turn your world upside down? We have a fanatical peace and a fanatical hope that allows us to face this messed up world and stare down our enemies: sin, Satan, and even death.
Yet what is our fanatical response? What does the Lord want us to be fanatic about? Let us fanatically love our enemies with good deeds and words. Let us fanatically forgive those who hurt us. Let us fanatically share our fanatic hope, joy and peace with those who are deep in sorrow, guilt, fear and loneliness!
Empowered by our fanatic God and Savior, let us show the world what religious nuts look like!