Crazy like a fox or just plain crazy?

IUS Horizon

Brother Rick Bradley
Brother Rick Bradley

When Brother Rick Bradley came to campus Thursday, Feb. 26, students mocked his words. They laughed at his antics. Some even yelled and screamed at him to argue with him about his message.

He got exactly what he wanted.

Groups of 20 to 30 students at a time came all day to listen to what wild condemnation he would spout next.

That’s more than nearly any Campus Life event draws.

The attention was almost entirely negative, but attention of any sort is what he was searching for.

Whether or not students are talking about how nuts he is, at least they would be talking about him.

And talking about his message.

If his goal was to spread the Christian faith and create buzz about religion, he was, in a strange sort of way, very effective.

His hateful words and wacky claims, for example, that Noah rode a dinosaur into the Ark, probably won’t win over any converts to his school of thought.

But maybe he’s going for the alley-oop, not the three-pointer.

When non-Christians are talking about how wacky it is to think that believers can’t play golf or bowl, Christians can and probably will jump in and let everyone know that Christianity isn’t really that way.

They actually might be able to connect with people and convince them that their way is the best.

Bradley created opportunities for witnessing and conversion.

He also issued a challenge to the CSF and Christians on campus.

Many of the people who heard Bradley will be turned off to Christianity or become even more turned off by it.

Christians will be trying to talk to as many people as possible to try to undo the damage.

The fact is Bradley’s message is an extremely exaggerated and warped version  of mainstream Christianity, but to some people he is the face and voice of the word of God.

Parts of his rants jived with the rants of outspoken ultra-conservative religious pundits people see on televison.

When he screams that to be homosexual is to be living in sin, non-believers hear that message and think of the thousands of times they have heard it before in the commonly accepted religious canon.

Many are outraged by this statement and then become more outraged with the offensive nonsense that follows.

But because that nonsense follows what they know to be a fairly accurate  representation of the mainstream Christian view on homosexuality, it is difficult for people not familiar with the religion to determine what is extremist rhetoric.

Bradley created the motivation for Christians who want to spread their beliefs  to engage in evangelism on campus and created the opportunity to accomplish a great deal of it. In the end he may have done quite a bit to further his cause.

Whether or not his wild talk about how country music fans will burn while he himself is a fan of rock ‘n’ roll and will be jamming in heaven is scripted and his insanity is an act is very debateable. 

But it is clear that through his insulting and outrageous bahavior he seems to have gotten what he was looking for.

I am not religious. Even if I were, I don’t think Christianity would be the religion that appeals to me.

Frankly, the idea of being evangelized more often is uncomfortable at best. But for good or bad, the crazy preacher may not have been that crazy after all.

By ZACH HESTER
Editor
zwhester@ius.edu