Radical: adj. Departing markedly from the usual or customary
The word "Radical" conjures up various and likely extreme images. I chose the definition above though because in our families case, the "radical" journey we are taking is definitely departing from the usual. It isn't violent like the images we may think of when someone says the word, but it is against tradition and culture and it takes wrapping our minds around something vastly different than the world around us.
On a daily basis, we run from job to store to sports to home, we rush dinner in there somewhere and plan for the next events. We make lists, get things done, make more lists and get more things done. We are a blessed nation, and I am thankful to live in America. So thankful. However, there has been an uneasiness growing in my spirit about the cycle of chaos and "stuff" we fill our lives with here, while others go without so, so much. The more in love with Christ I become, the more He seems to be giving me a glimpse into seeing what He sees, and who He sees. I think we all catch these glimpses at some point, but maybe the more we turn our eyes, the easier it is to forget them.
We justify our selfishness at the cost of others. We "deserve" vacations, new clothes, new cars, bigger homes, etc. I am included in that "we" so upon any examination of my life, you will find the same flaws in myself that I write about being in our culture. That is why it takes a radical move, a radical commitment and a radical love to change us so we can change others.
This uneasiness in my spirit was reinforced by a great book I read recently called "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream" by David Platt. It's tough. It's convicting. And as he states, those who have a hard time reading it are usually the same ones that the Lord would ask to "give everything they have". (this does not mean that we are all called to sell everything and go live in a 3rd world country. Nor does it mean we shouldn't.) It would be nearly impossible to summarize this book so just go get it ;-) ...but I will post a few paragraphs that sum up a lot:
"...And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with.
A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream.
But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point? We are molding Jesus into our image. He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with. And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead we may be worshiping ourselves.
Consider the cost when Christians ignore Jesus’ commands to sell their possessions and give to the poor and instead choose to spend their resources on better comforts, larger homes, nicer cars, and more stuff. Consider the cost when these Christians gather in churches and choose to spend millions of dollars on nice buildings to drive up to, cushioned chairs to sit in, and endless programs to enjoy for themselves. Consider the cost for the starving multitudes who sit outside the gate of contemporary Christian affluence.
When Jesus looked at the harassed and helpless multitudes, apparently his concern was not that the lost would not come to the Father. Instead his concern was that his followers would not go to the lost."