The older I get as a Christian, the more convinced I become that real New Testament Christianity is way more radical than my denomination is comfortable with! Hey, it’s way more radical than I’m comfortable with! As I read and ponder the teaching of Jesus on the sort of life that points to the reign of God in the world, I find myself pulled in two directions. One part of my finds it tremendously attractive and compelling, but the other side of my brain (the lazy and comfortable side) is scared out of my socks. “Do I have the guts to live this life? To sell my possessions and give to the poor? to refrain from storing up for myself treasures on earth? To love my enemies, turn the other cheek, and forgive people seventy times seven? To let go of the trappings of ecclesiastical privilege and simply live as an ordinary Christian amongst my sisters and brothers? To seek first God’s kingdom and trust God to provide for my needs? To make new disciples for Jesus in an age where all religious opinions are seen as being equally valid?”
Frankly, often the answer is ‘no’; I’m too much of a coward to take Jesus at his word and do what he says. But I’m not proud of the fact. So I needed to hear the challenge in Philip Yancey’s new post, ‘Two Cheers for Radicals’. Here’s an excerpt from the end of the post:
Here’s what I like best about radicals: most of them don’t see themselves as radicals at all. They see themselves as simple pilgrims following Jesus, for in a mere three years of active work Jesus the original radical changed the world forever. Clarence Jordan, founder of Koinonia Partners in Americus, Georgia—a community that had a profound impact on President Jimmy Carter as well as Don Mosley and Millard Fuller—discounted his radicalism, insisting it was ordinary faith:
“So long as the word remains a theory to us and is not incarnated by our actions and translated by our deeds into a living experience, it is not faith. It may not be theology, but it is not faith. Faith is a combination of both conviction and action. It cannot be either by itself…. Faith is a life inscorn of the consequences.”
Radicalism has its dangers, of course, and negative examples abound on both sides of the political spectrum. Most of us seek some kind of balance or golden mean. On the other hand, without radicals to prick our consciences now and then, would anything ever change? And God knows this world needs change.
Read the rest here.