That Magnificent Madman Jesus

Vincent Harding died on my birthday in May of 2014, he was 82 years old, and a true light in a dark world. His work is so relevant I am inspired to share. He believes we are still a developing nation when it comes to comes to creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious democratic society. In a deep and gentle voice he said, “That magnificent madman Jesus was really talking about something very fruitful and powerful,” if we just allow ourselves to hunger and thirst after the right way. He warns, “They don’t come free and easy, they are tough, tough tasks for us to take on.” Vincent Harding believed that love trumps all things and all divisions. He was known to say, “I am a citizen of a country that does not yet exist.” He wisely acknowledges our most important work individually, “achieving ourselves, finding out who we are and what we are for, and making this possible for each other.” (On Being, an interview with Vincent Harding by Krista Tippett)

How is this even possible? I am stubborn by nature and I don’t give up easily. In my life this has been both a blessing and a curse. I remember each of my children prying my fingers off the branch of their lives. They wanted to grow in a direction of their own choosing. Oh how this hurt. The abject fear of looking down at my empty hands, knowing I would not be able to reach out until they were ripe, and needed my support. I learn everything the hard way, forced to let go, watching their slender limbs struggle to emerge as solid branches. I know they are still grafted to the family tree but their fruit is unique, resilient, and exactly what the world needs.

Vincent Harding said, “We don’t need to pull our children out of the darkness but allow them to remain and be a light post in the darkness…This is how we liberate our communities.” Our children need to find their own disciplines in this world. Thank God for that magnificent madman Jesus and people like Vincent Harding who have the courage to teach us bravery in the face of cultural divisiveness and political unrest. The discipline needed seems to be love. 

I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime. 


Leave a Comment

  1. Such powerful and healing words. I can really relate to your description of prying parental hands off the growing trees of our children. Mine are grown and I long to yet be needed. So much hope and direction in Harding\”s quote: “achieving ourselves, finding out who we are and what we are for, and making this possible for each other.”


  2. I love the wisdom of Vincent Harding Charli, I wrote this in 2015, but thought it was good to post again light of our current challenges. Thank you for your thoughtful observations. I'm am so thrilled that you read my blog. My love to you.


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