I have been trained for 18 years on how to not be a Christian, so with this Jesus person coming into my life I have undergone a dramatic rethinking. Romans 12 verse 1-2 are my basis for what it mean to go from institution lover to Outlaw:
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritualact of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
The Institutional Kingdom Builder
Lets face it we have all been here. We have all sought to build the kingdom of “I”. However lets take a look at what the kingdom of I looks like.
So this is the kingdom of I looks like. You get your first taste of life during your college times, which includes may nights of drunkenness, perhaps some drugs during exam season, and sexual exploration. And what does that get you, lets say $40,000, maybe an STD, and if your lucky maybe a degree.
Now you get to spend the next 40 years of life working, to pay off your house, your car, and don’t forget college. However you get to be married, which if that sounds appealing you have at least a 50% chance of this happening of that happening a second time. Of course that comes with a messy divorce, which even gets messier if you have children. Also if you have one divorce you have a 70% chance of getting another one.
Lets talk about goals for a minute. What are your goals? To leave as many kids behind as possible when you die? Or perhaps to be the president of a big company? Maybe it’s simple to have a “good” life. However what does any of this matter if you don’t believe in a god? If there is no god, there cannot be an afterlife and so all your hard work and suffering is meaningless.
I have taken this route before and it sucks because death is inventible and you cannot evade it. I could never value worth or significance to anything because death made everything meaningless.
The Outlaw Servant
When talking about what an outlaw looks like many people will cite one of the numerous people of the old west. However I choose to cite an old woman found in Luke 21.
1As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.[a] 3“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Why do I say this lady is outlaw? Because she gave everything she had for someone else. It is this kind of servant attitude that is so foreign to the Institutional world. Of course bill gates give a lot of money to charities but its not even close to this woman who gave everything she had.
I skipped a lot of classes during high school but I don’t think we were ever taught to give our livelihood to others. What is most outlaw about this passage is this woman’s attitude towards things of the world. The reason she gave all that she had is to show worship but also how little she thinks of things of this world.
This living your life for god’s eternal kingdom is what it looks like to be an outlaw. And in a temporary worldly kingdom you have the task of loving other people and telling them god’s eternal love. Personally that sounds much better that what the Institutional man has to work for. And unlike the Institutional man you have the peace of not being bound by death.