I was listening to Katie Melua’s The Closest Thing to Crazy yesterday as I was doing the washing up. It stands in a long line of popular songs about the way love makes you feel bonkers, dippy and moonstruck… songs like Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and Michael Buble’s Crazy Love. Anyway, the last couple of lines from the chorus of Melua’s song stood out:
This is the nearest thing to crazy I have ever known,
I was never crazy on my own.
And now I know that there’s a link between the two,
Being close to craziness and being close to you.
Interesting. She wasn’t crazy but now she is – because of this person she’s in love with. For Katie Melua her craziness is linked to her love-relationship. And I know what she means. When Sam and I first started going out I was nuts for her. And actually I still am. The power of love is strong and a times I still do some silly stuff, because I am in love with her. Love does that. It’s good. It’s crazy. Its crazy love.
Then I thought about how the bible says something almost identical about love for God. Because I also have a relationship with him, through Jesus Christ. A relationship of love. And at times it makes me feel kind of crazy. That’s why the bible describes people who love God as ‘fools for Christ’ (1 Cor 4:10). You see, people who love God also know about crazy love.
This was all going through my mind as I was drying the dishes. There are two types of love that can makes us feel crazy: love for a human being and love for God. Our culture recognises the first and even celebrates it – in films, art, literature (and even popular songs). Why? Because love is good. We like love. We’re interested in stories of love. We love to proclaim the power of love. Of crazy love.
But here’s the thing. Twenty-first century British culture doesn’t really celebrate love for God. In fact if you’re enthusiastic about your love for Jesus Christ you can be labelled fanatic, or unbalanced or deranged. Which, interestingly, are all ways of saying crazy. They’re just impolite ways of saying it. But I don’t think that’s right. Because passionate love for God, like love for a human being is also right and good. It’s the kind of love that inspires people to stand up for injustice, build cathedrals, change their careers, care for the poorest and travel to the ends of the earth with a message of hope. It’s a good love. A fantastic love, fabulous love. A crazy love.
Yet there’s much subliminal pressure in contemporary society not to celebrate and share this crazy love of Christ. Not to be enthusiastic. Not to be bold and brave. To calm down. I feel that sometimes. I feel that even when I blog. Sometimes I imagine someone flicking through my blog-posts and asking themselves: ‘Haven’t you got anything else to say?’ And part of me doesn’t like that. Because I don’t want to be labelled a single agenda person and I don’t especially like being criticised. But then there’s another part of me – the part that wins through when I think like this – that presses on. Because we live in a world where there are forces at work trying to undermine faith and destroy God-consciousness. And that’s not right. Because God is good and discovering his love is what makes life worth living. Which means that being labelled a ‘God-crazy person’ might, in the end, be quite correct. I am a person who has experienced the amazing, powerful, deep, forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ. And I am not the same. No-one is. After you’ve discovered crazy love.
The crazy love of Christ is available to all. Freely and wholly. And I want as many people as possible to know this love. To experience this love. And to give it away. We live in a culture searching for love. So let’s celebrate love. Human love. And divine love. It’s the closest thing to crazy.