Radically Normal

Andrew Byers has a timely article on Relevant about our desire for a “radical” life that too often can be more about escapism than passionately following Christ. In an age where we have holes in our gospel, we chase daylight and are radical together it is important to remember that among the calls for dropping everything to “make a difference” we are first called to live well in response to the gospel where we are now. For some of us that means the normal job among the normal people being a light to them in our normality (which is completely different from their normality because we have Christ.)

Byers says some good things for us to think about.

“As a former college student and a current college pastor, I know it is so difficult for a young person to see how doing their accounting project will glorify God. It is hard to see how finishing the research paper on 18th century art forms can contribute to God’s Kingdom work.  Aren’t people dying out there from lack of clean water?  Aren’t the lost dying without the Gospel?

“Yes, but an untested 20-something without the work ethic required for completing the annoying accounting project or the boring research paper will likely be of little help in dire situations overseas. Those assignments can actually be effective training for the arduous labors of missional service. “What ever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23). Remember how Jesus calls us to faithfulness in the small things (Matthew 25:14-30).

“Aching for yonder shores and longingly scanning the distant horizon may well be God’s call on our lives. But it also may be our impatience with the monotonous minutiae of the daily grind. Escapism is not fulfilling the great commission.

“Regardless of our location, abroad or at home, all ministry is inescapably local. Every worker in a global context must embrace the monotonous minutiae of a new daily grind after the plane lands—figuring out the postal service, dealing with the cell phone company, conjugating verbs in the slow and tedious study of the language. If we cannot be faithful to do our statistics homework, then we may lack the strength of character required for dealing with the meticulous annoyances of a more radical life beyond the romanticized horizon.”

Read the whole article on Relevant.

Book Review, Discipleship

Are you willing to be Radical?

I am overdue for my thoughts on Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt. You might remember months ago I posted a video about the book along with my hopes of reading it soon. Thanks to the generosity of my wife, I did get to read Radical while we were visiting family in Nebraska and thinking about how we might be “radical” in our faith.

The idea behind Platt’s book is that the Gospel is too big for us to sit back and be comfortable. Clearly the teachings of Jesus and our desire to glorify God should be empowering and pushing us toward action and Platt suggests that this action is feeding those in need and working to improves lives across the globe.

I tend to agree with Platt on the overall theme so I won’t go into the finer points of actually living the Gospel and caring for your neighbor but I do want to touch on parts of the book that surprised me.

Discipleship is huge in a radical faith. Unlike most books on social action, Platt takes the time to outline how the foundations of our faith in Christ should be solidified and one area that is key is discipleship. From mentoring to building community in our local church, we are called to live as a family and care for each other. For too long American Christianity has been self-centered and greedy – prayerfully in this generation we will see true Christian community as outlined in the bible.

Platt calls us back to that form of community in Radical and it is something I passionately hope to see in my life.

Throughout the shorter book there are stories of people living radically and your story can be very different, the key is that you have a role and God has called you to glorify him in a unique way.

The book truly makes you evaluate how you spend your budget as an individual and as a church. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that the Gospel can not be shared without the latest audience gathering technology – but if it is at the cost of the hungry in our towns what is the point? I am quite guilty in this respect and I needed to repent of this mentality while reading Radical.

The book is not a guilt trip – but you might feel guilty. I would suggest that perhaps that feeling is the Holy Spirit reminding you of our true call as Christians. That call is about radically loving God and radically loving those around us.

I highly recommend Radical and hope you will find the time to read this book.