The professional term “Pharmacist” has been a recent label to what was more of a generalist term of “druggist.” With the bigger and more numerous drug companies, the nuance of actually concocting and creating a medicine to treat a particular aliment has slowly dissipated. But there was a time when a druggist did just that. They “created” medication for people. You may remember Mr. Gower (the druggist) in “It’s a Wonderful Life” had filled a child’s prescription, George Bailey out of concern for both Mr. Gower and the child realized Gower, in his own depression over the loss of his son, had used poison in the capsule. Bailey saved the child by pointing it out to Gower who in anger slapped Bailey repeatedly in the left ear – resulting in hearing loss – came to realize his mistake and thanked Bailey for what he had done.  Sometimes the medication for good may in fact be poison.

In medical practice today, “Off-label” use is the practice of prescribing pharmaceuticals for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, unapproved dose or unapproved form of administration.  This “off-label” use of medication is closer to the druggist notion of care.

What about with practicing following Jesus? There was a time when following Jesus was all about nuance, and experimenting, and making it work for each person and group. Then there was a time of “mainstreaming” and the result was a religion with rules and regulations which worked for some time. Though it was oppressive.

Today, I believe, we are entering a new time of “off-label Christianity”.  A time of looking backward to get our best gifts of our past constantly checking as we move into the future. (Based on the idea of “Sankafoa”.)

Are we, in the mainstream of Christian tradition, reluctant and potentially averse to experience Jesus as he is, in the multitude of ways that he has transformed lives for literally thousands of years, outside of the normal prescription. How can we begin to get “off-label”?