The word “Radical” has been bouncing around inside my head a lot lately. In part because I really like it, I get fired up when I see people who are radical and sold out Christians. I even went so far as to change the blog description on the sidebar of this blog to include the word.
I like the way it rolls off the tongue. It’s a powerful word, it speaks to me about doing more for others and thinking less about ourselves.
But there is this other side to the word that has been bothering me…. Until now I have not been able to put my finger on it exactly, but now I think I have figured out what is missing, and wrong here.
It really bothers me is when a word becomes a “marketing” tool, when people (including myself) gather around a term or a concept and allow that idea to define who God is for us.
Yet, on the good end of the spectrum, there is truly something beautiful about being radical and giving your all to God. Most of my writing tries (and to be honest, often fails) at defining what being radical looks like. I would love nothing more than to hear that just one person moved from the place where they believed in God-to where they gave every part of their life to him.
I guess when I look back and think about it, when I dissect my own life and figure out why it is that I dwell on this so much; it’s because I spent so many fruitless years of my own life pretending that I was giving Him my all, when in truth all I was doing was asking Him for material blessing.
And so I try to find words that describe the difference in a walk with God that has gone stale, and one that is thriving. I try to pass along a candle to others in hopes that we can all be inspired to find the road that he is calling us to.
But just labeling things, using different words to describe God does not change Him, all we are doing then is pretending that there is some nirvana that we will attain one day. Like we are going to cross over some invisible line and be “Crazy Love” certified, or that we will one day get our “Radical” badge sewn onto our sleeves and the whole world will know us by our accomplishments.
“Hi, I am Radical Sally, I used to be normal, but not any more, now I…….”
What bothers me about all this zeal (I am including myself in this camp here) is that we forget that God is looking for broken people, we pass up the fact that nothing any of us does gets us any closer to him.
Have you ever heard someone introduce themselves in an AA meeting?
“Hi, my name is ______ and I am an alcoholic”
Does not matter if they have been clean for 13 years, or 13 hours, the program still wants you to be honest with the fact that you struggle, that you are a real person. It is the simple act of acknowledging that we are all human, and none of us is perfect.
I think its beautiful. I am seriously considering introducing myself by saying;
“Hi I am Levi, and I am a sinner.”
I just want to pass all the pretentious garbage and admit that I am here on this earth because of his grace, and everything I do is because of my thankfulness for his forgiveness.
Really, the better word, the more accurate way to describe us, the people who are trying to make this world a better place because of his love…
It’s the only pure reason why any of us would get off our butts and help others. Yeah, there are other motivations that get people to do things, lots of em. But outside of thankfulness, every other effort that we put forth, is worthless.
Yes at times I feel the need to get a bit radical, I want to shake up the place and inspire those around me to start seeing this world as a place in need of some serious changing- but I would rather be known as someone who is a sinner, someone who fails more often than he succeeds than someone who thinks so highly of his accomplishments that he forgets about the grace that got him here in the first place.
Hi, I am Levi, I am a sinner. I fail often, and on my own I am a wreck and I hurt those around me. But I know someone who loves me more than anything in this world, and He has forgiven me, and in that forgiveness I stand and try my best to share His love on this earth.
Who are you? Are you honest about your dependence on his grace today?
I am going to change the sidebar description of this blog, I think we need something there that is a bit more honest about the grace and forgiveness that we walk in as Christians. Working on something, but none of the words are fitting together just right yet…
UPDATE: I wrote this post yesterday and set it to post today, but in the middle of the night I woke up with an idea for how to word the new description…. Here it is.
A field Guide for broken people who are learning to share the love of a perfect God, told through one families journey to help widows and orphans in Ethiopia.