Jesus was an outlaw who proclaimed an outlaw love. He did not fit into the system of religion, church life, culture, and rules that men of power and authority had set up. He would not affirm or try to fit into a structure built to protect the livelihood and base of what might be termed “successful religion.” Jesus came with an outlaw love that revolved around those on the edges and bottom of society because he embraced something different from the viewpoint of those elite men who had a greater concern for self protection than seeing lives transformed.
The Pharisees and the Herodians hated Jesus because he came with a radical view of a new culture, a new way of doing church, a new viewpoint that focused on the heart. Jesus became his most angry when he saw a religiously “hardened heart.” (see Mark 3:5) Jesus had no time for the structural elite and authority because he came with spiritual authority built upon an intimacy with his father. Jesus came with an outlaw love, or might we say an outlawed love, that upset the elite due in large part because of their hardened hearts.
The church today has bought into a lie. This lie has crept in since the time of Constantine, has continued through the enlightenment—the lie is of a religion based in structural power and success largely drawn from our culture. We have become more interested in being winners and successful than being loving and grace filled.
We can observe this outlaw love throughout the gospels but is zeroed into from the Gospel of Mark chapter 3. Read the chapter. Meditate on Mark 3. Look at who Jesus is attracted to and who he is angry with.
Jesus hates religion! Jesus gets angry with hardened hearts. Does this sound like I’m overreaching a bit? Read the chapter. Read it, think about it. Outlaw love from the first great outlaw, Jesus.
You can tell a lot about a man by who his enemies are…and who his friends are. I may not know a man personally, I may not even know what he believes in, but I can tell you much about a man by who his enemies are. Jesus made enemies. The true kingdom of God will make enemies of the religious.
God’s great work of the kingdom is always a work on the edges of society with those that have no one to help them, to protect them, to minister to them. They are those men and women who understand the love of Jesus and know they need his love. Richard Rohr explains it this way,
“I believe that truth is more likely to be found at the bottom and the edges of things than at the top and center. The top or center always has too much to prove and too much to protect…the pedagogy of the oppressed…Final authority in the spiritual world [kingdom of God] does not tend to come from any agenda of success but from some form of suffering that always feels like the bottom. Insecurity and impermanence are the best spiritual teachers. The good news is clearly not a winners script, although the ego and even the churches continually try to make it so.”
Jesus came announcing a new kingdom, an outlaw kingdom wrapped in an outlaw preacher proclaiming an outlaw love. Jesus attracts the misfits, the scalawags, the ragamuffins, the sick, the afflicted, and the demonized because he HEALS them!
On the Road,
 Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return, Crossroads books, p. xii.