Summary: I’m a fool for Christ! Who’s fool are you?
I feel sometimes that we in the church get too serious. I know that most of the time it’s a serious matter-a matter of life and death literally. But its ok to smile in church! Its ok to laugh in church! Its ok to tell jokes in church! Years ago the popular pass-time was telling jokes. This practice seems to have diminished somewhat due to the fact that we have so many other forms of entertainment to occupy our time. Do you remember the "elephant" jokes? (How can you tell if an elephant climbs in bed with you? You can smell peanuts on his breath!); the "knock-knock" jokes? How about “a man walks into a bar” jokes? Then there were the "Moron" jokes: Three morons were sitting on the bench outside the ’funny farm’. A policeman happened by and noticed that the man on the left was going through the motions as though he was holding a fishing rod, casting, and hauling in fish. The man on the other end of the bench was doing the same thing. So the policeman leaned over and whispered in the ear of the man in the middle, "You’d better get your friends out of here, I think they’re crazy". The man in the middle immediately started pulling on his imaginary oars! Of course now we say that such jokes are not "politically correct". And we probably do need to be more sensitive.
But let me tell you about this word, "moron". It comes directly from the Greek word "moros", which means "fool", or "foolish". Do we have any sophomores here? High school or college? I’m sorry to have to inform you that the "more" part of your class title comes from this word meaning "fool". On the other hand "soph" comes from the word which means "wisdom", or "wise". So a sophomore is a "Wise Fool"! And that’s a device of foolishness that we like to call an oxymoron which I’ll get to in a second.
Our lesson for today is from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. He reminds us that while the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, it is the saving power of God to anyone foolish enough to believe it with their life. And when you look at it, our faith is foolish in three respects: its oxymoronic. Its counter-intuitive, and its counter-cultural.
First, our faith is oxymoronic. By definition, an oxymoron is self-contradicting term. The word oxymoron is a combination of the Greek words “oxys” meaning sharp, and “moros” meaning foolish. So, an oxymoron then, is pointedly foolish. Its almost ridiculous and calls into question possibility. Same difference? How can some something be the same and yet different? Pointedly foolish! ? That’s pointedly foolish! Cruel kindness? That’s pointedly foolish! Cruelty serves a hurtful purpose and kindness, and helpful one! Working party! Virtual reality! Some of us are virtually praising God today! God doesn’t want a virtual praise! You can keep your virtual praise! He didn’t virtually wake you up this morning!… I’m gonna praise him for REAL because he’s REAL in my soul…
In the 23rd verse, Paul forms an oxymoron with the words “crucified Christ.” You see, crucifixion was a shameful way to die. The parents and siblings of crucified men hid that circumstance in much the same way that some today hide the suicide of a relative. Crucifixion was a social disgrace. Crucifixion was a family secret! Crucifixion was an emblem of suffering and shame!