Only problem is it is not that weird. This book aims at being counter-cultural but it has nothing of the prophetic political oomph of, say "The Upside Down Kingdom" by Donald Kraybill. Maybe that is just being picky and an unfair evoking of an Anabaptist, but I just think this book lacks an edge. Example: Groeschel begins his book by discussing time. He, being weird, says that rather than trying to do everything you need to prioritize the things that are really important, live lives that are fully in the moment, and establish a rhythm of working and rest Sabbath.
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The LifeChurch. So why are Christians, who have the much better alternative of living differently from that, sticking with that normal lifestyle?
And I think Christians find comfort sometimes in doing what the crowd is doing when the call to follow Christ makes them uncomfortable because it is different. I hope to encourage them to, Jesus said broad is the road that leads to destruction and many people are on it. CP: Do you think Christians are turned off by being different and being an avid follower of Christ because of the more fundamental religious people they have seen, the ones they might associate with bigotry, exclusivism, and judgmentalism?
And I think that culture tells us not to be weird and so we often buy into that. But when our eyes are focused more on the prize, it actually motivates us to be called weird. In fact I find comfort today when people call me weird. Is that how you see it? At the same time, I personally think the whole Gospel message is so different and so beautiful that God would send His son Jesus to die. CP: Do you often preach about hell at LifeChurch?
CP: You talk about normal being lukewarm Christianity but you say that lukewarm Christianity is not really Christianity at all. So if you were to remove the lukewarm Christians, would our churches be a lot emptier?
And if so, where does the responsibility lie? In the pastors or the individual believers? Groeschel: I think, unfortunately, a lot of churches, including mine, have a lot of lukewarm believers in it. I think if I look back through my life over the last twenty some odd years as a Christian there were significant seasons that I was lukewarm.
You ask where the responsibility falls and I think that it falls on both the people and I think that as pastors, we have to take some responsibility as well.
If our churches are full of lukewarm people, chances are we could do a better job of presenting the truth of Scripture because I think that Scripture and the presence of God does move us to a more serious and faith-filled, committed Christian life. CP: I guess that ties in with my next question.
What are you hoping readers get out of your new book? For example, we have six kids and we homeschool our kids. CP: This might be off tangent but can I ask why you decided to homeschool your kids?
Even at the time we had no idea the thousands of reasons we believe in it later. We just felt like it was obedience then. But really we felt like it was being obedient to what God showed us. CP: For Christians who want to turn up the weird, what should their first step be?
Groeschel: I think that they should look at their lives and compare it to Scripture. I think the problem is most of us, including me, tend to look at our lives and compare it to other people and to what others are doing. CP: That actually reminds me of Francis Chan Southern California pastor because he was having such a hard time, looking at Scripture and comparing his life to it.
He took the bold step of leaving his church and trying to start a new ministry or whatever his next project is. And everyone is viewing him as weird, including fellow pastors. Groeschel: I actually thought he was weird too. I love Francis for being so weird. He wrestles with trying to please God as much as anybody I know and I affectionately call him weird.
Is there any specific thing that you feel makes you particularly weird? And one of my greatest weaknesses, I was always afraid of not having enough the way I grew up. So out of that weakness and fear I feel like God has called our church to a position of radical generosity. I think everyone needs to have their own custom weird and we want to be weird in that way. We love giving away the YouVersion Bible app. We want to give it away.
CP: When you say you were criticized for being generous, are you also talking about the resources that you make available online?
Groeschel: We do. That or giving away royalties of a book. Groeschel: Well, I actually just started Twitter maybe six months ago. I think I was probably considered weird for not being on it for as long as I was. So I think I was weird for holding out as long as I did probably. CP: So your church is one of the fastest growing churches in the country, you have 20, people attending and 13 campuses?
You definitely set your church apart from the rest with not only your explosive growth but also your use of technology — multisite and online campus.
More expansion? Groeschel: About 30,, a little more than that in the seats and then online as well. Thirteen or 14 campuses.
I came to Christ through reading a Bible that was given to me and so I believe so much in that.
Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working
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