Ragamuffin Soul Looks Foolish

Ragamuffin Soul, Carlos Whittaker

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day – Chapter 8

It has been awhile since I’ve posted a Snowy Day post. Life has been busy! But tonight I was drawn back to Mark Batterson’s book, and we are now on chapter 8: the importance of looking foolish. Let’s start with a quote:

We try to look like everybody else. We try to talk like everybody else. We try to dress like everybody else. And the end result? We become like everybody else. We hide our idiosyncrasies and insecurities behind the mask of who we think we’re supposed to be. We stop being ourselves and start being who we think everyone wants us to be.

But something invaluable and irreplaceable is lost when we cave in to conformity. We lose our personality. We lose our originality. And at some point we lose our soul. Instead of becoming the one-of-a-kind original we were destined to be, we settle for a carbon copy of someone else.

Here’s the deal, as Mark Batterson says: if you aren’t willing to look foolish, you’re foolish. I’ve been praying lately for God to take me to the end of myself, to get me to the point where all I want is what He wants. A big prayer, but life is a journey. And then I pick up Snowy Day and realize the chapter is about looking foolish while we are dreaming the big, limitless dreams that God gives us.

I don’t know of anyone who more exemplifies this kind of holy foolishness than Carlos Whittaker, a man I’ve actually never met (yet!). Read his blog. Carlos is willing to be childlike, creative and unorthodox in his never-ending quest to be an authentic Christ Follower in this world. This week alone the Ragamuffin Soul was willing to show us his Ragamuffin Top as he begins a fitness quest. We’ve seen him dancing with his daughters, playing ping pong with his co-workers in a riveting live-stream. We’ve seen him interviewing leaders, riding the bus, fast-forwarding through his day, and leading us in worship. He opens his world and is willing to be transparent to show us the real world, a real dad, real ministry. Yeah, Ragamuffin Soul looks foolish. I wish I could, too.

Mark Batterson, who knows Carlos by the way, and would probably agree with my assessment, tells the story of riding in the van with his wife and kids, music blaring. Mark and his wife Lora get all jiggy to the music they have going. Their kids think they are crazy, but the people in the car behind them really think they are nuts. He writes:

But who is crazy? Is it us? Or is it the people who can’t hear the music? I’d like to think the crazy people are the ones who aren’t dancing because they can’t hear the music.

There is an old proverb: “Those who hear not the music think the dancer is mad.”

I’ve been praying for God to take me to the end of myself, and this chapter of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (please, Mark…can you think of a shorter title next time?) reminds me that perhaps the fears I am facing really result from my fear of appearing foolish. I’ve been praying this prayer, but I’m a little afraid God is going to take me up on it.

At least I’ll be in good company.

By Marla Saunders

I am passionately devoted to living my life in the places God has given me. Over the years those places have changed: from homeschooler to businesswoman, from consumer to storyteller. These days I'm focusing on building a new business and figuring out what it means to do everything with integrity and informed by faith.