There are two kinds of foolishness in this world. There's the foolishness that comes as a reaction to boredom, the itching to get out and do something crazy because something crazy is better than nothing at all. And then, there's the foolishness that comes from wisdom.
That's right: wisdom.
It's not how we typically think of foolishness. We're more likely to say that foolishness is the result of naivete, not wisdom. That foolishness does what it does because it doesn't know any better. But that's not real foolishness; that's recklessness. It's impetuousness. It's the kind of knee-jerk reaction we have when we know that this moment requires that we do something, so we act without consideration of the consequences. That's not foolishness.
Foolishness is knowing the consequences and doing it anyway. There are, of course, two ways to consider this. On one hand, this may lead us down some dark and dangerous paths, like the man who robs a bank knowing that robbery is against the law, knowing he will be caught, knowing he will go to jail. On the other hand, this may lead us into the incredible thrill of a holy life.
Foolishness is wisdom that draws us into something holy. Rather, foolishness is the act of acting on such wisdom and being drawn into something holy.
Again, it's not how we typically think of foolishness, but I think it's how we must.
Because here's what happens. Life presents us with an opportunity, with a thousand opportunities every day. Our inclination is to consider all of our options, discover the inherent risks and benefits of taking one action over another, weigh the consequences of any course of action we might take, and then take the action that seems most "right," given the data.
Except most of us aren't really doing the math.
Most of us are factoring the factors, figuring out a new order of operations in which some numbers are weighted higher than the others. For example, it may be perfectly clear that one choice is quite better than the others, that one is clearly the path that we should take. The one thing working against that choice, though, might be public opinion. Others might laugh at us. They might not understand how we could do such a thing. Maybe culture dictates that we do something else. All of a sudden, the math doesn't matter any more. All the calculations go out the window and we re-work the numbers in light of reputation or response, not outcome.
It's how we keep turning against God.
It's how we look at a situation and know that love is the answer, but love isn't popular; hate is popular. So we choose hate. It's how we look at a situation and know forgiveness would set us free. But this world doesn't understand forgiveness; it doesn't compute. So we substitute in things that the world knows better how to work with, and we live with unforgiveness. It's what we do with grace, with hope, with faith - we turn away because these are not the ways of this world. We might as well try to convince the world that "purple" is a number. This world does not know how to factor in such things; it doesn't understand holiness.
But foolishness does.
Foolishness always works holiness into the equation. Foolishness works in factors of grace. It embraces all the data, even the stuff that doesn't make sense to this world. Foolishness doesn't limit itself to 1+1 = 2. No, foolishness relies on wisdom that sees the whole equation. 1+1+purple+grace+butterflies+rainbows+shakalakabambam=holiness. = love. = amazing. And then foolishness goes after "amazing" in a world that's content to settle for "2." In a world that says that grace and rainbows aren't factors, that these things don't compute. Foolishness does the math and knows that they have to. They must. Wisdom demands that grace be real, that butterflies and rainbows matter, that holiness and love matter. Wisdom knows that amazing is real.
I want to live a foolish life. I want to do something totally crazy, not because something crazy is better than nothing at all but because something crazy might just be something holy. I want to do the math and discover that there is a place for grace, for love, for hope, for faith, for mercy, for justice, for truth, for God. For holiness. And I want to go after it, even if it doesn't make sense. I want to take a risk that there's something amazing out there.
Because "2" is not enough.