Rebel Heroes: 4 Courageous “Optimisfits” Who Lived Like Jesus
- Ben Courson Author
- 2019 7 Mar
What, you ask, is an Optimisfit? Well, as the name implies, it is someone who embraces his or her misfit identity and doesn’t neatly fit inside the comfortable religious box…but who manages to hold onto a wildly optimistic view of life even in the face of all the darkness around us.
The Optimisfit knows that life doesn’t come with nice, neat right angles.
We are antiestablishment. Rebels. Dreamers. We choose to live like Jesus. Like Him, if we are going to offend anyone it will be the religious people. We love them but we aren’t going to cater to them. We aren’t vanilla. We are extreme.
We are all about having fun. We believe that fun is what will change the world. And we want to change the world.
My friends and I are living a different kind of life with God. We are embracing a different kind of optimism. Not just wishful thinking, not just positive thinking, but transcendent thinking.
We aim to transcend both the churchy optimism that is out in the weeds, as well as the atheistic pessimism that leaves everyone in the dumps, by acting with a fearless hopefulness.
We refuse to let the world just happen to us. We happen to the world.
Optimisfits don’t just stand by and watch the enemy do his work. We don’t cower. We don’t try to negotiate terms with darkness. We are never hopeless. We are always fearless. We pour water on the fire of our fears. We pour gasoline on the passions of our dreams.
Here are some Optimisfits that are not alive today but have left a lasting impact for other Optimisfits:
He made the writing look effortless because of his genius. He penned books defending the reasonableness of the faith, biographies of famous saints and literary figures, poetry, wild and fantastical fiction, and wry mystery novels. He was quick with an argument and even quicker with a witty insight.
Chesterton was an intellectual genius, but that didn’t make him snooty or arrogant. It made him childlike.
He knew the wisdom to be found in fun, and the folly in taking yourself too seriously. “Angels can fly,” he once wrote, “because they take themselves lightly.”
He never minded when his opinions made him controversial. He quipped, “I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.”
He got kicked out of his job as a pastor because some members of the board of elders thought he put too much emphasis on God’s love.
He believed that God was more generous and grace-filled than some people’s “orthodox” theology could accommodate. When the leaders of organized religion took away his pulpit, he used the pages of books as his way of sharing his theological musings about God’s profligate love.
MacDonald once said, “Man finds it hard to get what he wants because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give because He would give the best, and man will not take it.” His mission was to help people understand that what God offered was magnificent, and that we must receive it with a heart of childlike wonder.
He once quipped that he couldn’t really believe in someone’s Christianity if children could never be found playing around their front door. God’s revelation could be found, he believed, not just in the ancient texts of Scripture, but in the magic of the stars, the sunset, and the daffodil.
When a person sees things as they really are, they will see the holiness at the heart of the ordinary. Whereas false visions make commonplace things seem more ordinary, true visions reveal the extraordinariness of commonplace things.
He made a point of never criticizing those who believed differently than he did. Early in his career as a preacher he was known as “machinegun Billy” because he talked so fast, but he only turned that machine gun on people’s hearts, with a message of good news about God’s love.
He refused to allow his crusades to be segregated, tearing down the barriers separating blacks and whites at a time when most Christians hadn’t awakened to the evils of racism. Some criticized him harshly, but he was not a man of convenience; he was a man of conviction. Passion like that always offends milquetoast mediocrity.
Alexander the Great:
He traveled with his personal copy of Homer’s Iliad in his pack and would often fall asleep reading about the exploits of Achilles, who was his own model for surpassing even the exploits of the gods.
He saw himself, in fact, as a reincarnation of Achilles, just as Patton believed he was a Viking in a previous life. He was fearless and heroic and dreamed outsized dreams.
He roared with authority. He was savage, not average.
He was unrelenting, driving his army to the brink of exhaustion in pursuit of the prize. He once said, “I am not afraid of an army of lions which are led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep which are led by a lion.” He took the fight to his enemies.
In that way, Alexander models the One whom Scripture dubs the “Captain of Salvation.” Jesus told His disciples that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against those who followed Him. But consider this. Gates don’t attack.
So what Jesus was saying is that we are to go on the offense. We are to be on the attack against the powers of darkness.
Yes, Alexander was probably clinically insane. But those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do. Realistic people don’t change the world. Maybe we all could do with being a little less sane. What we need is not more bored realism, but more wild idealism.
It’s better to attempt great things for God and fail than to attempt small, safe things, and succeed.
We Optimisfits want to live in legendary mode. We can take the battle to the enemy and claim the crowns of victory in the Kingdom of God.
None of my heroes chose the safe route. None of them were normal. None of them settled for small successes. So, if life is a battle, let’s take our place alongside our Heavenly King. We are childlike, we are faithful, we are brave.
This excerpt was taken from: Optimisfits: Igniting a Fierce Rebellion Against Hopelessness. Copyright © 2019 by Ben Courson. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. www.harvesthousepublishers.com. Used by permission.
Ben Courson is the founder of Hope Generation, has a global TV and radio program, and is a gifted and nationally renowned speaker. Hope Generation TV show airs in 180 countries around the world. Ben's humorous, uplifting, and high-energy style couples with a gift to communicate God’s heart in an impactful way. His ultimate mission is to generate hope in God to build a generation of hope in others. Website: www.BenCourson.com
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Hoxton-Tom Merton