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Are you ever reluctant to follow God wholeheartedly because you don’t want to be associated with weird Christians? Have you ever wondered if you can be radical but still look mostly normal?

Just outside the Starbucks where I write this is an old station wagon, covered in stenciled Bible verse and Christian images. Growing up, I thought people who drove cars like that must be super-spiritual. I used to have the impression that if a non-Christian couldn’t immediately identify me as a believer by my unusual clothing or speech, it meant I was ashamed of Jesus. Shouldn’t we be “aliens and strangers?”(1 Peter 2:11)


The longest chapter in the whole Bible is a praise song about the commands of the Lord. It likely strikes you as it does me: strange. We don’t generally have an attitude of joy and praise when we think about God’s commands and laws. We might obey them begrudgingly, or we might abide by them without much thought, but we rarely think to rejoice in laws. The term law, to the modern American mind, carries notions of imposition, of restriction, of bondage.


Fear can be absolutely crippling. Dan Wickert tells the story of a counselee he had years ago who was so afraid of contracting AIDS that she couldn’t even sit on her own toilet seat (Counseling the Hard Cases,119). I have counseled others who were afraid to leave their apartment, afraid to go to church, and one young lady who was afraid to cross bridges for fear that she would jump off of them.


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