March Madness is like Christmas if you love college basketball. And I grew up loving college basketball to the point that during a family vacation to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, HH and I practically wept as we stood among the Dean Smith, Bill Bradley, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar memorabilia. Really. It was holy.
So let’s talk about madness.
People are mad about the most interesting things. Some of us go mad after a terrible loss. A loved one dies and we find ourselves in the fetal position drooling and making dying animal sounds. We suddenly crave Jello. We listen to Billy Joel over and over again. We can’t sleep. We watch reruns of Gunsmoke. We. Have. Lost. Our. Minds.
Some of us go mad merely thinking about loss. We worry about losing people we love. We worry about losing a certain way of life.
For churchy people, there is the phenomenon of losing our church culture. Our church seems to be flailing and we become paralyzed. We don’t know what to do. Our beloved religious institutions seems to be floundering and it feels like we’re trying to stay above water during a tsunami. And yet we are afraid to change things.
I know one mad church that owns multiple properties in a city with expensive real estate but they won’t even consider selling any of their properties. They are saving that real estate “for a rainy day” but they don’t realize that the rains are torrential out there.
I know another mad church that finds itself at a turning point. They are in the throes of finding a new head of staff, and the temptation to call a pastor just like their former pastors is overwhelming. But what they need is a fresh leader with a 21st Century perspective. They are mad enough to sabotage themselves.
People are mad about holidays. Easter’s coming up and it needs to be fabulous for many of us who self-identify as Christian. We want pageantry. We want an excellent spiritual experience. But we fail to note that every day should be Easter for followers of Jesus. Resurrection is an everyday occurrence.
And so here we are: entering the season of madness.
It’s not like the season of Lent. It’s not like the season of Easter. It’s the season of madness.
We change our schedules to watch our favorite teams. We cheer on teams we couldn’t have cared less about last week. (Go Lehigh!) We wear school colors and some of us paint our faces.
Madness moves us to do strange things. So, imagine what spiritual madness looks like. What if we lived our lives following the way of Jesus – without regard to earthly security, cultural norms, or basic self-centeredness?
It would look a little crazy. And yet it would be amazing.
PS- Go Heels.