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Radical what?

August 6, 2013

Well, it has been a few months now since the last time I wrote questioning the concept of “radical” faith.  While a part of me admires those who call us to a radical existence, and I continue to see articles and blogs doing it, I can’t seem to shake the inner doubt that there is something not quite right with the whole thing.

For the most part, when we are urged to be radical it appears that they mean radical as opposed to being spiritual slugs.  It means that every Christian who is not a sold-out radical; who is not charging headlong into a deny-everything, refuse-to-be-comfortable, all-consuming ministry is instead choosing to be a pew-sitting do-nothing who has bought his ticket to heaven with a confessional prayer and is now sitting on the sideline quietly waiting for the train ride to heaven.

Is that the truth of it?  Are those my only options?  I really do want to be thought of as radical if my only other option is being a spiritual slug.  Is there a way I can be considered radical without setting some humongous goal to blaze a path of spiritual fire across the world?

I’ve been working on a list of radical things that really appeal to me.  It isn’t a list of things I already am, but a list of things I’d really like to be.  But for the most part they don’t show up in the list of options for radicals.  Let me know what you might take away and what you might add.  When we are done maybe I will take the list to the radical experts and see if they will let me in their club.  Here’s the list:

I want to be…

…a radically safe place.  I’d like to be someone that anyone can share anything with and have no fear of judgment, shame, hostility or exposure.

…radically humble; ready to admit that I don’t have all the answers; to confess that after years of Bible study the mystery of how to follow Jesus in this life is no closer to being clear to me than it ever was.

…radically accepting.  I want to admit that loving the sinner but hating the sin is, at best, nearly impossible and may even be nothing more than a lie I tell myself to make me feel less guilty.

…radically willing to live at peace with all men; to give up the desire to always prove I am right.

…radically forgiving.  Realizing the radical nature of the forgiveness I’ve received, I want to be able to forgive just as radically.

…radically ready to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” while living my life in such a way that they actually want to ask.

Frankly, when I look at that list it already seems pretty daunting.  Here’s hoping the radicals will agree.

From → Christianity

  1. I wasn’t expecting that list, and I am pleasantly surprised to find I was off. I admire your list and find myself agreeing with you. I don’t know what you would consider radical Christians or which creed you have read, but I like yours. And if wanting those same things makes you a radical Christian then I suppose I have been working toward it for years. Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your journey.

    • Thanks for your comment. Primarily my concerns about being “radical” come from books like “Radical” by David Platt and people like Shane Claiborne. I admire them both but they have triggered the ideas that unless you are doing something huge, some great mission for God, then you really aren’t following Jesus. It appears to me that the primary challenge the Christian church faces in the 21st century is to be, well, nicer. We spend too much time making moral judgments on people who differ with us and then get upset when they make moral judgments of our moral judgments and cry that we are being persecuted.

      • Love me some Shane Claiborne. I think they speak of radical as an ideal. If you want to be a leader which they seem to, you have to be the best most idealistic example of your theory.

        Yes, and yes to the other part. Rather than be the persecutor we need to be the supporter, the example of Christ’s love rather than a siren. I think it was Rick Warren who said that for the last 50 year the body of Christ has been maimed and all it has been is one big mouth. lol

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