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Out Our Way: What a maroon!

1 Corinthian 1:26-31


Out our way, we have seen more than our share of fools. Sometimes they are harmless — like the guy from New York who bought spurs and wanted to wear them in town. Not surprisingly, he hooked himself and tripped to the enjoyment of the rest.  Or the guy who wanted to use a dressing room to try on chaps because he didn’t know they went on over the jean and not instead of the jeans.

Today I was a similar fool. I took my son Nate to Colorado Mesa University to look into enrolling in their film school. Now their nickname is “the Mavericks,” and the gal giving the orientation asked if anyone knew what a “maverick” was. Everybody looked blank so I raised my hand. I said a maverick is an unbranded steer or calf — and I spent six years on the Tiger with Charlie trying to eliminate that issue at every round up. A polite look of surprise and then I was informed a “maverick” is someone who goes their own way — a trail blazer and a person who doesn’t necessarily go along with the crowd. Well, I have heard that definition as well, and had I not been so dog-tired from the heat and the labors of the day, I probably would have been less likely to have been so dimwitted and foolish.

However, as I read the Corinthians passage I recall that the “fool for Christ” Paul wrote about is not the same sort of fool the guys with the spurs, the chaps, or the cowboy definition of a maverick proved to be, although he was treated with the same scorn and smirks. For to call someone a “fool” is a common tactic for those who want to silence or shame a point of view that conflicts with their own.

I recall when Mother Theresa died — one celebrity leftist used the occasion to attack the woman, her ministry and her faith as the work of a “fool.” I noted that several senators have sought to shame and devastate various federal judge nominees because of the “foolishness of their faith.”  They charge that anyone who is a professing Christian cannot serve in the judicial system because their faith will certainly have some bearing on their judgement. Thus they are “fools for Christ” and labeled as such by these secularist critics. However, if the candidate were a Jew or a Muslim or into Scientology, would these same overtly anti-Chrtistian senators be as vocal in their opposition? If not, then who are the real “fools?” Like the celebrity who defamed Mother Theresa after her death — who is the more foolish? The woman who devoted her life to the poor in the service of Christ, or the celebrity who did nothing for anyone but open her mouth to pour out her vile on a woman of faith, courage and actual service?

Paul understood that there would always be those who would call the righteous “fools” and the just “judgmental.” And if that is the price we pay to do the Lord’s work, is it really too much to pay? Call me a fool as I serve the Lord and my neighbor in Christ. That I believe all lives matter does not make me a racist, as some race-baiters declare. Yes, I am a fool in believing every human being of whatever age, color or gender deserves to be respected, cared for and treated justly. I am a fool for believing that Christ is alive and the Spirit is actively at work in the world even if Hollywood rejects it.

There are plenty of reasons to call me a fool which are just and quite true. Hopefully, I will learn from them and correct my foolishness. But there is also a foolishness which I do not regret nor repent — a foolishness to believe in the Lord and seek to follow Him, The foolishness of loving God and neighbor without apology or shame even when the world condemns me for it. If I am truly the foolish one — that love and service do not matter, that political posturing for power and popularity is the only real wisdom — then I shall die a fool and be forgotten. But if they, on the other hand, who reject God, His will and justice, are wrong, their foolishness will be eternal and never forgotten.  


Brother John Bruington and Doc will continue to ride with Charlie on the Tiger Ridge in these columns as long as there are folks willing to read them. Though I am out of Montana now, Montana is still in me. Hope you will continue to ride with us.


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