Keep Christianity Weird
A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on its head. – Revelation 12:1&3 (NRSV)
Whenever you convince yourself that Christianity is inherently rational, the Book of Revelation can be counted on to mess you up. Just when you manage to somehow browbeat the rest of the Bible into sitting down and behaving, a pregnant lady riding the moon crashes into the room, locked in battle with a dragon.
It doesn’t make sense, and it’s not supposed to. It doesn’t add up, and it’s not supposed to. Whatever else it is that it is supposed to be doing, for sure it’s there to upset anybody too well-behaved, too powerful, or too complacent.
Some of us, and some of our churches, have managed to convince ourselves that Christianity is fundamentally sensible, easily harmonized with modern worldviews. For any in that position, the sheer weirdness of Revelation is good medicine. Not interested in your standards, or your comfort, or your manners, it insists—loudly—that Christianity is always going to be about more than you know and more than you want it to be.
Look. I’m not saying you need to, like, read it every single day or anything; historically that’s turned out to be a pretty bad idea. But as an outsider voice, a weird little minority report, a strange descant floating above the melody, it can’t be beat.
For always challenging my complacency. For never letting my rationality win completely. For keeping my faith from becoming tame. For keeping Christianity weird, thank you. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is Chaplain of the Protestant Cooperative Ministry at Cornell University. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.