8.3

Unradical

What if you simply aren’t radical enough? Then what?

What if you don’t have love that is crazy enough?  Then what?

Less than a decade ago my family moved away from our comfortable neighborhood in an area of the country that we really loved, because of God’s quiet calling to “Do this, and I will show you what is next.”  It was truly an act of faith and obedience.  Two weeks and hundreds of miles later we got a taste of how following his calling to trust was going to be fruitful.  About a year later, another big blessing occurred that would have never happened had not we moved and followed Him in faith.   Then another.  Then, another.  It has not been all candy and roses, but several things that have happened in our lives and ministry would have never occurred had we ignored God’s quiet but insistent call to pack up and move to a different area of the country with 3 kids and no job waiting for us.

The two fairly recent books by authors Chan and Platt definitely hit many Christians right between the eyes if they are living shallow, pathetic, unfullfilling lives for Jesus. Both get very pointed at demanding that those living nominally Christian lives instead pursue a sold out passion.  They are well written, they are thought provoking, and in some ways they might also be too overwhelming.  Though this is welcome in many respects, I can’t help but ponder if there aren’t some unintended consequences also taking shape in the minds and hearts of some readers.

There aren’t easy answers for these questions.  There aren’t even easy questions to be asked.  What happens to the Joe Blows who realize that they are simply unwilling to walk away from a 9-5 job and move to Cambodia?  What happens to the Joe Blows who do leave their 9-5 job without fully processing the difficulty they are are inviting into the lives of their wives and kids, with their wives and kids.  I’m a firm believe that you can never be too sold out to Jesus.  But did Jesus call you to take a destructive path in reorganizing your life because of the inspiration by one of these books?  Disclaimer:  I have not re-read either of these books recently.  They might talk a bit about this concept, but probably not as an important focal point.

Jesus had some very colorful examples in Matthew 8 when he essentially said that he and his disciples were to be homeless.  The cost of following Christ really can be quite incredible.  But my mind is processing what is going on in the minds and lives of some people who are reading these books and walking away with a profound sense of loss.  They love Jesus.  They want to follow him more. But they lack the tools, and perhaps the even more important Holy Spirit directed calling, to have a radical life change right now. Instead they feel a tremendous sense of loss and guilt.  They might even be feeling like they aren’t really Christians, and wondering if they are so unChristian that perhaps they shouldn’t even try.

I can theological shoot holes in my previous paragraph.  Lots of them.  I can give reasons why the process of becoming more radical with a crazy type of love is exactly what they need to do to really engage in the process of their personal sanctification.  But I won’t at the expense of shedding light on an issue with real potential. Obscuring the fact that these authors wrote wonderfully challenging books, is a very real threat that some people may only feel beat up by them.  They’re response will not necessarily be a happy or healthy thing.  That is a problem….

 

wayyyyyy past 15 minutes.

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