Hi: I've been away from my blog for a few weeks . . . it happens. : )
I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Christ follower. I had a great conversation with a young person (anyone younger than yourself is a "young person") the other day. This young friend is not yet a Christ follower. One of the biggest obstacles is fear that the "crazies" have it right and that the violent, lunatic fringe of "so called" Jesus followers or, and perhaps this is worse, the lifeless insipid banal "so called" Jesus followers are the real deal.
I suggested, as someone once told me, that religion does not create fanatics . . . but it does attract them. Any cause or movement has its people on the edge. Consider the environmental movement, or the animal rights folks (both excellent causes) but do those who perpetuate violence speak for the whole? I doubt it and the same is true for Christ followers -- those of us who are seeking an authentic relationship with our creator through Jesus Christ tend to be pretty balanced and rational people.
The passionless and the misplaced (guided?) impassioned have never been the mark of Christ's followers. Jesus is seen in the Gospels as a compassionate, passionate, principled person. He challenges injustice, he confronts hypocrisy, and his offering on the cross is correctly referred to as "His Passion" . . . but he is not Ned Flanders, nor is he Caspar Milquetoast and he is certainly not using violence to win his point. On fire . . . with grace.
Jesus calls us to live lives that matter in ways that make a difference, as servants of all.
It is quite the challenge.