The pastors and Elders at our church have decided as a group to read through the book 'Radical' by David Platt over the next couple of months and to discuss the implications of what he is saying as it pertains to our church. Now, we are not reading this book because we are a bandwagon church...although I imagine if we were our last couple of years would have looked something like this: Rob Bell, Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, Rob Bell again, Francis Chan, Donald Miller again, Joel Osteen, Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan again, Rob Bell AGAIN, and David Platt.
The funny thing is I think David Platt, and maybe Mark Driscoll, are the only guys on that list that will be around in 10 years. Does anyone even remember 'Velvet Elvis' or 'Blue Like Jazz' anymore? Anyways, that's a whole other post waiting to happen.
My point is that we are reading this book because we believe that Platt has a valid concern about the state of the American Church and we want to do our part, as leaders of a church in the most affluent county in Kansas, to make sure that we are leading people towards the God we read about in the Bible, not the 'middle class American Jesus' that Platt refers to in 'Radical'.
My one observation so far, and mind you I'm only 1 chapter in (so who knows if he covers this at a later point), is that the term 'radical' seems like a poor word choice. When we hear the term 'radical' we often think of 'crazy', 'way beyond normal', 'dangerous'....or if you're a mathematician you think of the funky sign over a square root problem. But, my thought is this: if we look at how Jesus calls us to live as 'radical' doesn't that already make most of us think that we can't do it, or that it's pointless to even try?
We assume that the way we live is 'normal' and that living the life Christ calls us to is 'radical'. What if the life Christ calls us to is 'normal' and the life we choose to live instead is 'pitiful'. Just because we have settled for a life of sin doesn't mean that following Christ is 'radical'. I'm a firm believer that 'normal' is the way life was before the Fall. We've all just covered up 'pitiful' with nice things to make it feel like 'normal'.
I'm not writing this from the viewpoint that I live the life Christ has called me to, on the contrary, I'm living just as 'pitiful' a life as anyone. My desire is to live the 'normal' life Christ calls us to, but as Paul says, 'I do the things I do not want to do, and the things I do want to do, I do not do.' I am a sinner, saved by grace, but that does not excuse me from pursuing the 'normal', or 'radical' depending on your bent, life.
So no matter which phrase you use, 'normal' or 'radical', it is my hope that you realize the way we are living isn't working. I'm not asking you to sell every single one of your possessions, take a vow of silence and move to a commune, but I am asking you to really take an inventory of your soul. Are you prepared to chase after Jesus as if your life depended on it....because it does.