You've all seen, or heard, of the guy with the bullhorn. You know who I'm talking about. He stands in a public place shouting about God and the coming fire and how every sinner is gonna burn! We, as christians who are far cooler than this guy will ever be, shake our heads and wish for silence. "What does he think he will accomplish?" we mutter. And it is largely true, that no one listens, except maybe to get angry.
But what about Joe? Joe hangs out at the University of Miami. He is fifty-five, so by college standards, he is ancient. He has a grey beard, huge coke-bottle glasses, and is as thin as a stick. He kept up the facade of being cool for years after his prime, but for some reason, he got stuck in the 80's. So for most of us, he reminds us of younger days. You can catch him in the BreezeWay every Wednesday and Friday. Talking into a microphone. To no one in particular. About Jesus.
But Joe doesn't yell. He mentions the coming fire, but only as an afterthought compared to God's saving Grace. He speaks of burning, but it is the passion in his soul to speak God's word and follow him wholeheartedly. People stop to listen to Joe. But there is something peculiar about each of them. They all have bracelets with little letters on, or t-shirts with nails, or crosses on string about their neck. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever saw a non-believer stop to listen to Joe.
College students need to hear about God's redemtive power just as every generation before. And they don't just need to hear it, they want to hear it. But, they want to hear it from people that they trust, and they don't trust easily. The only way to overcome the barrier of cynicism is to love extravagantly, without boundaries or limitations. Love as God loves. Or better yet, love with God's love.