Blessed are the troublemakers

Published May 17, 2016

For many centuries, the church has considered itself the religious aspect of the larger society. Entrance in the church was entrance into society and vice versa. Everyone was to live in harmony with the larger pattern of life in what was thought to be a Christian society. Fitting in with the expectations of civil society was an unquestioned norm. This approach reached its height, it would seem, in the 1950s, the last great period of growth and influence for the church in North America.

That isn’t the way Jesus did it. He didn’t seem to fit in at all-not socially, not religiously and not financially. And though Jesus clearly wanted us to live a righteous life, if his example is any indication, keeping your nose clean in the larger society wasn’t high on his list.

If this is a Christian society, it really makes sense that we would fit in. The problem is, it isn’t, and to fit in is to pursue a way of life that-especially in terms of its subservience to financial goals-seems at odds with gospel faith.

Could it be that the troublemakers are blessed? To not fit in, even to shake it up a bit, seems the Jesus norm. Certainly we are to be lovingly and compassionately kind, but to go along with the flow of the mainstream, at this point in time, seems hostile to the example and intent of Jesus.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and helper, he did clean me up quite a bit, and I have tried to be faithful to that. More and more, however, faithfulness hasn’t meant going along with things the way they are-it is not to just fit in, and not just getting along. I am sure that I have not been as much a troublemaker as Jesus would like, but it has become clearer that this is the way of his footsteps.


  • Mark MacDonald

    Mark MacDonald was national Indigenous Anglican bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019, and national Indigenous Anglican archbishop from 2019 to 2022.

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