If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, I have chosen you out of the world, and you don’t belong to the world. This is why the world hates you. — John 15:19
The first 300 years of the church saw explosive growth. From a few thousand in the middle 1st century, it grew to between 5-6 million by 300 AD.
It didn’t get this big because the early Christians were shy. It grew because they were CRAZY. Just look at how radically countercultural those Jesus-followers were:
In a society where it was OK for men to play around on their wives in brothels, the Christians said that they should be faithful to their wives.
In a society that was highly stratified, with the wealthy growing wealthier at the expense of the poor, the Christians formed a fellowship of radical equality with one another, regardless of human distinction.
In a society where women had their place, which was secondary to men, the Christians empowered women to take leadership roles.
In a society that glorified violence, the Christians took a stand against the blood games of the gladiators, and some even died in the Coliseum, accordingly.
In a society where the poor and the sick were left to struggle and suffer, the Christians intentionally went out to these outcasts, feeding and clothing and healing.
In a society that worshipped many gods, and made the emperor out to be one, the Christians said that there was only one God, and Jesus was his son.
One person summed it up nicely: A truth worth remembering is that the kingdom of God, the work of the Spirit, when on the move, will always disrupt and disturb a “sane” world. If “craziness” is persistently violating social norms with little regard for oneself, then the work of Jesus [[and Jesus’ disciples]] fits the description.
The decline of the church today is because its members have accommodated to an unjust culture (how can Christians who worship the Prince of Peace also condone lax gun laws?) or because its members have relegated the Good News to getting into heaven while the world goes to hell.
All this is a good reminder of what marks a Christ follower. Adapting a phrase from the late Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck, we are to “Go crazy folks, go crazy!”