A friend said this week:
It just hit me how weird it was that some churches quote the fourth commandment every week at church. Talk about being indoctrinated….the weirdness man. the weirdness. Thats that occult type stuff
It got me to thinking. There are a lot of people in not only the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but in Christianity who do not go out and make disciples because they find the beliefs of their Church “Weird”. It then came to me that what we call weird is just the thing that Jesus intended.
A Bit of Context: Adventists
Seventh-day Adventists worship on the Seventh-day of the Week (Sabbath, Friday night to Saturday night) and dedicate that they entirely to religious activities. The biblical command for that is found in Exodus 20:8-11 which is the Forth Commandment. Traditionally, this commandment is repeated every week as a reminder of Creation and why we do the things that we do. Is there a command that says that this has to be done? No, but it is a helpful practice.
What is Weird?
Here is how Webster defines weird:
1: of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural : magical
2: of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic
I don’t think my friend was saying that quoting the forth commandment was something that is caused by some kind of spirit (though I could understand an argument for that). He was saying that it was strange, odd, of extraordinary character…I would say it may even be fantastic!
Webster goes on :
weird, eerie, uncanny mean mysteriously strange or fantastic. weird may imply an unearthly or supernatural strangeness or it may stress queerness or oddness
He was saying that the Adventist practice of quoting the Forth Commandment every week was odd. I have to agree myself…it is odd, but so are many other things in Christianity that make it quite weird from the normal secular experience.
- Though belief in God isn’t odd, Christians believe in a God who is triune or who is three distinct persons. They believe that the Father in heaven is God, and that Jesus Christ is God and that the Holy Spirit is God yet, the Father is not the Son, The Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father!
- Another weird thing that is closely related to the first weird thing…is the Christian belief that Jesus Christ is also 100% human and did not sin in the slightest of way! How can you not call that odd? That a human being lived a perfect life on earth? It is common to say “nobody is perfect” but Jesus is quite the exception.
- Christians believe that God is available for Communication all of the time. They call it Prayer. How odd is it that they think the very master and controller of the universe is available to take time out of his schedule to listen to someone on a speck of dust complain that they can’t find their keys? It may seem odd, but Christians believe that God is a personal God who answers prayer.
- Christians believe that God spoke through a bush.
- Christians believe that God make a donkey talk.
- Christians believe that God had to destroy the entire world and left only eight people because it was too wicked.
- Christians believe that God stopped the Earth from rotating to help an army kill off another army.
- In Judaism, animals were killed as a substitute for the sins of the person who had committed the sin. Millions of animals were slaughtered as a result of things like lying, adultery, and general ungodly things that people do.
- Christians believe that they should love their enemies??? What?
- Christians believe that a book written between 4000-2000 years ago is worthy to base an entire lifestyle upon.
Jesus Himself said some things that would not quite be aligned with what we think is cool (or normal). For example, in Luke 9:56-62 there are thee people there who want to follow Jesus. Jesus tells the first one that he is basically a poor homeless man, another asks Jesus to go and buy his father first…which Jesus tells him to let the dead bury their own dead (ouch). Then to the last who wants to go back and tell his mom and pop goodbye…Jesus basically says that you aren’t worthy to follow Him if you decide to work for Him and have the desire to visit your old life. In another place Jesus tells people that they have to drink His blood and eat His flesh in order to become part of His kingdom. Then He says that He could raise them up from the dead (John 6:53-55). Look at the response of the people toward this:
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (John 6:66,67)
Very odd, weird and strange persons Jesus is.
Christianity is weird. The things that it requires and the values that it preaches are contrary to popular secular culture. Adventists and other fundamentalist Christians don’t drink Alcohol or participate in other activities that are harmful to the body…no matter if they are recreational, legal or not. Most Christians strive not to have sex outside of marriage. Many believe that Homosexuality is a sin. Many believe that all life is precious, no matter how small or old. These values are dynamically opposed to the secularist humanist mentality that permeates life today. The “do what thy wilt” mentality that is common among young people today is not compatible with the Christian concept that the body and the life of the individual does not belong to the self…but to Christ. A popular culture driven by these values causes Christians who are in these cultures to stand out, to appear peculiar- to look weird. And those who are not inside of the Culture of Christ should make that determination, when they can’t, then either that society exists in heaven or the Church has failed in that area.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; — 1 Peter 2:9
Christ has called us out of secularism into His body. (A weird sentence if you’re not acquainted with the terms I’m sure)
So, Embrace the Weirdness! Hold on to the Oddness! Narrow is the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. I myself want to be apart of the few, and this is written to help others become apart of that few. Sure, the standards are higher, the challenges are greater and the ridicule the tougher; but the prize set before us is greater! Your Christian life should evolve to the point where the ways of the world are weird and strange to you, that its principles are contrary to yours, that its cares are foreign to you.
Understanding other Faiths
With the above in mind, and the fact that Christianity itself has always been weird, you can have a unique understanding for the practices and beliefs of other faiths…because you know the framework.
My friend also said:
I just cant with the weirdness Christianity is weird enough with out throwing on adventisms extra. I feel crazy as hell explaining our beliefs to other people.
Many other denominations in Christianity and outside of it have practices that are weird to me (the author), some of them are below:
- Catholics eat bread and wine which they teach are the actual body and blood of Jesus. (I think its symbolic)
- Scientology has their “E-Meter” which was very strange when I tried it out.
- Mormon’s baptize their dead.
- The belief of some Pentecostals who teach that you can’t really be saved unless you are touched by the Holy Ghost, which is shown by your reaction to certain kinds of music and other bodily expressions.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses. I could dedicate an entire list to them but here I will point out their stance on disfellowship, which in the Adventist church means to remove one from membership, but to Jehovah’s Witnesses it means to cut off fellowship with the individual entirely (which I can kind of see from the actual word lol) to get an example of this see this link. Which goes to an atheist website.
Some Groups repeat the Nicean Creed every week, some churches have special holidays (like advent or lent) the Jews have their wailing wall, but these are all just rites, prayers, ceremonies and sacraments of the Church…each with its spiritual significance….and are indeed weird…and it should be no other way.
What are some things in Christianity that are weird to you? Comment below!
“Weird.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weird>.