The Triumph of Irrationality

Last week I saw the film The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. Russell Crowe plays the part of a husband whose wife is sentenced to life in prison. The film explores the measures one will pursue and the risks one will take for love. In one poignanat scene Russell Crowe's character (a professor in a community college) is discussing the book Don Quixote with his students. Probing the book's thesis Crowe's character asks, "What is this book about? Could it be that rational thought destroys the soul? Could it be about the triumph of irrationality?"

This scene comes at a point in the film when Crowe's character realizes that his only option is to break his wife out of jail. I won't say anymore... if you plan to see the movie I don't want to give anything else away!

I loved this movie though. I went for a run afterwards and continued to think about the story and that line in particular, "the triumph of irrationality." Isn't that in fact what we celebrate during this season? Does it seem rational that a virgin would give birth to the Son of God? Does it seem rational that God would clothe himself in human flesh and walk among us? Would human wisdom and rationality lead us to believe that God would die on a cross and then rise three days later? This is the very dilemma that the apostle Paul addresses in his letter to the Corinthians. He writes:

"The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.'" (I Corinthians 1:18-19, NLT)

The incarnation does not seem rational and yet it is one of the core tenets of our faith. I shared with our church this past Sunday that the saddest thing for me would be to look back one day and say, "Wow, I lived a safe, rational life." By God's grace I want to lead a risky life of faith, going places and doing things that others, at times, may think is "irrational." Isn't this the kind of life we're called to lead?

When Allison and I decided to pack up and move to California (before we had even sold our home in Atlanta!) our family back east had some concerns. All we could say was, "This is what exercising faith looks like for us right now in this moment."

Amidst all the commercialism I pray that this Christmas season you might consider the irrationality of the incarnation. For, as Paul acknowledges, "This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength." (I Corinthians 1:25, NLT)

This is the mystery, the beauty, and the paradox of our faith. We serve a God who loves to do the unexpected. Where is God calling you this season? What steps of faith might God be moving you towards?


rickinroseville said…
God knows the end from the beginning.He knew us individually before the foundations of the earth were laid.For Him to know us individually He would have to know our unique DNA; our unique egg/sperm combination. Consider this,if you will,that a child was conceived by your parents one month earlier or one month later.You and your unique DNA would never have existed.Different egg/sperm combination. Furthermore,of the approximately 500,000 sperm that vie to mate with each and every egg,had a different sperm fertilized your mothers egg,you would not be here.Different egg/sperm combination.Different, unique DNA.Instead, another child would have been born and quite possibly a different sex. Let's go a step further and look at the 'begats' of the bible and the genealogical lineage of Jesus.Had one of those people not been conceived and born(as opposed to miscarried or been a victim of willful,premeditated abortion)and lived each day of their life exactly as they did and meet the woman with which they had the succeeding child and so on down thru to Mary, then Jesus would not have been born(Gal 4:4 "In the fullness of time..."). It had to have taken place exactly at that moment of that conception otherwise(you got it)different egg;different person.Fifth commandment"
Honor your mother and father" and their mother and father and their mother and father and their mother and father and their mother and father and so on BACK TO THE BEGINNING!!! Your life and salvation depend on that 1 egg and that 1 sperm meeting at that precise instant in the fullness of your time. Think about that.Some of us have parents and backgrounds of which we are not particularly proud or happy with but, never the less, had to take place exactly as they did else WE WOULD NOT EXIST ergo no life,no salvation,no eternity with THE KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS (1Cor2:9).
Ryan J.Sokol of the statistics department at Texas A&M University was asked to calculate the odds of a specific individual being born.The bottom line? "The chance that you,meaning exactly you,would ever be born are 1 in 1.3 times ten to the twenty-ninth power." In other words, 130,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1.(From the 'Wizard of Ads' copyright 1998 by Roy H. Williams Bard Press). By the way,the book is a great read and is available at
In light of the preceding thoughts, I ask you,do we really have control of our lives to any great extent or rather do we simply awaken each day and step into and live out a page of the story of our individual lives which was written by God himself before the foundations of the earth were laid? (Jer 1:4-5)...Rick

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