Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Favorite Heretic

heretic - n. a person who holds unorthodox opinions in any field (not merely religion)
recusant, nonconformist - someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct

or·tho·dox - adj. 1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.

If you have not quickly guessed who my favorite heretic is even before I tell you, I will be surprised. The above quotes give clear indication of the life of the individual I respect most for his heretical ways. Human history has yet to to find a man or woman who would give their life so fully to teach concepts contrary to the established powers as this man did. Without concern for himself, he helped the broken, the suffering, the weak, and the young in spite of pressure to conform to the religious system of his time. When challenged by a hastily gathered court, trumped up with false charges, he refused to bow to conventional wisdom, and suffered a horrible death at the hands of corrupt religious powers.

He lived as a servant to humanity, and died an ignoble death as a heretic.

I generally capitalize not only his name as is standard for all names, but each noun and pronoun which refers to him. I have not done so to this point so you would have to wait, if you hadn't figured out who He was.

My favorite Heretic is the Nazarene.

I regularly read His life story to discover the people He came to serve. They were not the elite. They were not the rulers, nor the rich. They were not people of success, nor people of pedigree. He looked for the lost, and wore the servant's apron for the working class, and their children.

He was expected to serve the leadership, and the rulers of His day. That is generally the path to success, but He chose the path to sorrow and difficulty. His nose was not browned by being warmed at the back end of the powerful. When they were wrong, He stated so with the boldness normally reserved for judges speaking to criminals.

I have considered the people whom the Nazarene defended. They were not the churchgoing, nor were they considered the good citizens. They were the sinful, and the broken. They were people who were rejected by religion, and isolated by their circumstances from the rest of society.

Today, religious people often defend the church, and disassociate themselves from the broken, the strange, and the rebels. The Nazarene came for the these, spent time with the strange, and became a Rebel Who trained the next generation of rebels.

His interaction with the rich consisted of challenges of their allegiance to money's cruel, and powerful grip over their hearts. He spoke of the dangerous position of being rich, and the necessity of being willing to loose it all for the sake of living right.

He responded to the religious authorities with strong words of condemnation for their treatment of those they were supposed to be leading. He openly challenged them before the public - even on their own turf.

And so it was that my favorite Heretic ended up in a rigged trial, which condemned Him to that ignoble death.

I am convinced that He would be as much a Heretic today as He was then, and so I am not afraid to walk in His example.

I can embrace my inner heretic, because I have embraced my favorite Heretic


Agent B said...

good words...

Cindy Harvey said...

I think I like that Guy. I knew there was a reason.....

Adam Gonnerman said...

Although I was disappointed to find that I'm not your favorite heretic, I'm consoled by the fact that 1)the "winner" is Jesus, and 2)simply because you and I have only recently "met." ;-)

Pastor Phil said...


There is a special place in my heart for all heretics now. You da man!

Webb Kline said...

A heretic church? Can I join? :)

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Webb,

Join? I thought you were the pastor.