Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Crazy Christians not just an Amherst product

I’m starting to notice that there is a fairly large amount of crazy Christians at the University of Massachusetts. Some sacrifice their free time to sit behind tables in the Campus Center, providing information and opportunities for interested individuals wanting to learn more. Others are bold enough to stand on a crate to endure a slew of negativity while making proclamations through a megaphone. These crazy Christians intrigue me. Not because of their actions that everyone can see, but it’s their underlining motivation that can’t be seen by the uninformed eye that get me wondering. What drives a person to stand out of the cultural step, inviting judgment and ridicule from others?

At first I thought that these wild and crazy Christians were just following a fad. Maybe standing up for what you believe in was just the American-driven, postmodern thing to do. But then I was told about a website called JoshuaProject.net that lists crazy Christians on an international scale who put their necks out in countries we only see in National Geographic. The website speaks of people risking not just their collegiate social reputation, but their very lives, all hinging on the same truth that crazy Christians on campus lean on.

Is  this “acting out” of Christians a new thing? With some research, I found that it wasn’t – Christians actually have a knack for public displays of faith that make observers feel awkward.

A couple of months ago, I preached a sermon on the New Testament book of Acts, a 28-chapter account of the very beginning of the Christian church. Confession booths, Sunday school, “Jesus camp” and First Communions haven’t existed since the beginning of time, and the book of Acts shows what the church was like before these modern adaptations came.

The particular portion of Acts that I went through was at the end of chapter 18 and on through the beginning of chapter 19. In the section of Luke’s historic account, we hear about the church at Ephesus. According to Nathan Cartel, the pastor of Vita Nova in Amherst, the church at Ephesus is one of the most closely studied churches not just because it was one of the first churches to ever exist, but because it is mentioned in seven different books of the bible.

Some of the Christians in Ephesus were crazy, maybe crazier than the ones on campus today. At one point, Luke writes, “Many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to 50,000 pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.”

What these Ephesians do is nuts. They’re going out into public and sharing with each other the crap that they have been associated with and setting evidence of their old lives ablaze. I mean, imagine if some Christians today bought into the Gospel and the new life available in it so much that they took all of their weed, porn and any other evidence of their old life to the Southwest Residential Area beach and set it on fire. They wouldn’t sell it, give it away or hide it on a shelf, but would remove it completely from existence because they believed there was something infinitely better.

The Ephesians rest so firmly in the truth of the Gospel that they have no shame whatsoever. With the new perspective on their lives in light of Jesus and the Cross, they are free from the junk that chained them down to death. To the onlooker walking by, however, they are straight up out of their freaking minds.

For the Ephesians who turned away from their old lives and onto Jesus in a radical fashion, they had to have some sort of motivation. It wasn’t a man yelling at them to burn their stuff that made them do it, it was a natural response in their hearts when they understood just a piece of the Gospel.

Why read something if you’re not challenged by it? Challenged to learn more, challenged to make a change or just challenged to challenge yourself. To the crazy Christian: Are the things that you are doing natural reactions your constant discovery of what the Gospel means and are they done out of raw love? Sometimes it’s easier to be bold than to be genuine, and the latter is more than important.

To the non-crazy Christian: Do you understand how much it means to have God love you so much as to step into flesh and die for you? I don’t. But if we did, I think it would show.

To the non-Christian: What these crazy Christians have that allows them to live free is available to you as well. If you want it, keep pursuing truth and explore the depth that is the Gospel. Thanks for reading.

Thomas Moore is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at tjmoore@student.umass.edu.

Leave A Comment