I quit dating when I was 19 years old. Since I was agnostic at the time, my reasons were less religious than they were pragmatic: after a bad breakup followed by a short string of disappointing relationships, I realized I’d forgotten who I was or quite possibly had never known who I was to begin with. If I didn’t know who I was, if I kept trying to be all that others wanted, how would I find the person who was truly best suited for me? How could I find the man who wouldn’t run for the hills when I quoted Shakespeare by heart if I was hiding my geekiness out of shame and embarrassment?
The church, especially women’s ministry, must quit dating secular culture. I know, I know. We’re still heartsick from being dumped for the Hot New GIrl, Science, way back in a Tennessee courtroom. Our egos are bruised from the beatings we’ve taken in the culture wars. We’re embarrassed and a little ashamed. Like the class geek, we feel awkward and out of place. We think others will like us more if we masquerade to be something we are not. So we slap Jesus with a little bit of rouge and matte red lipstick, hoping to make the gospel a bit more attractive. We’ve forgotten that Jesus will never be attractive to those not looking for him. He never has been.
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
And no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
And as one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Is 53:2-3)
Flowers and fairy dust will not win the looking lost. The looking lost are looking for an escape from themselves, not to indulge themselves. The looking lost are looking for meaning beyond themselves, not for mindless, empty navel-gazing. The looking lost are looking to be comforted, not to be comfortable. The looking lost aren’t looking for a Church that looks so very much like their sin; they’re looking for a Church that looks like the Holy, the home of the Almighty.
Church, we must remember who we are and not be ashamed. We’re down, not out. On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. How will the looking lost find us if we’re hiding the geekiness of the gospel?
We have to believe that the very sound of the gospel alone is beautiful enough to the ears of those with eternity set in their hearts.
We have to believe that the gospel alone is beautiful enough without the flowers and the fairy dust.
We have to believe that people will come because of, not in spite of, the geekiness of the gospel.
Blessed are you when people hate you
And when they exclude you and revile you
On account of the Son of Man!
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy (Mt 5:11)
Blessed are the geeks.
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