Uncomfortably Comfortable

Today marks the first day of the Radical Read Along I mentioned last week. Every week we’re supposed to read a chapter and post our thoughts…

I’m already failing at this task because it’s 8:55pm on Tuesday and everyone else had their posts up this morning! So even though I’m radically late (pun intended), I hope it still counts.

We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves… (Radical, p7)

I am sooo good at doing what is comfortable. At doing things I’m good at, things I’m used to, things that don’t draw any extra attention. Why try to be radical and stand out when it’s so much easier to just blend in?

I believe that God has blessed us all with spiritual gifts…and I definitely wouldn’t say mine is evangelism! I think I use that excuse a lot. Since it’s not my forte, I don’t have to ask others about Jesus. I don’t have to spread the good word, because I’m not an evangelist.

Well, to burst my own bubble, God doesn’t give us excuses like that in the Bible. In Matthew 28:18 it says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Unfortunately (for me), I think he was speaking to all of us. This Great Commission wasn’t given as an option, as a suggestion, or as a fun idea!

So when I reflect on my own life and see how I’m putting this into practice, I get a big fat F.

Because it’s not comfortable.

Part of chapter 1 asks, “Is He worth it?”

Obviously, the answer is yes….right?

On paper it looks good. On paper it’s super easy to proclaim the name of Jesus, to say you are a follower, to say you want to go to Heaven and do good and bear your cross daily.

But in practice?

Platt asks, “Do you and I really believe that Jesus is so good, so satisfying, and so rewarding that we will leave all we have and all we own and all we are in order to find fullness in Him? Do you and I believe him enough to obey him and to follow him wherever he leads, even when the crowds in our culture – and maybe in our churches – turn the other way?

Wait, does he mean to NOT do what everyone else is doing? This is tricky for me. Someone who thrives on approval from others, who is afraid of making the wrong decision, and who is, bottom line, just plain insecure…

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him”

Matthew 4:18-22

It’s easy to browse over those verses but if you read them slowly, you realize what the first disciples of Christ truly did. They left their jobs. They left their possessions. They left their FAMILY.

All to follow Christ.

I won’t lie. If God in the flesh appeared in front of me right now and asked me to walk out the front door to follow Him…never looking back…

…never getting to say goodbye to my loving husband and precious BABY BOY…

…would I go?

This is why I’m uncomfortable.

There’s still time to join the read-a-long, so click on over to Marla’s blog and check out all the other awesome posts from today!

Like, Radical Dude!

If you’re worried we just time warped back to the early 90′s, fear not. Today I want to talk about a different kind of Radical.

(I just broke out in a nervous sweat. Which is just what this book makes me feel…nervous!)

If you’ve been in a bookstore lately, you might have spied this bright orange cover that is attracting a lot of attention…


And if you’re like me, you might have been ignoring it. Who has time to add another book to their list? My nightstand is already piled with books I’m reading, have good intentions to read, and some I may never get to.

I knew I had to read this book after it was mentioned 5 bajillion times on my friend Marla’s blog.

At first I ignored her posts. Skimmed through them. Wished her well as she encouraged others to read another best seller. But after guilt and curiousity got the best of me, I decided to get my own copy and participate in her Radical Read-Along.

Also, when I mentioned to my friend, Paula, that I was going to read it she said, “Oh! I heard that book makes you want to move to Africa!”

Hakuna Matata, my friends!

The premise of the book is taking back your faith from the American Dream. As the back of the book says…

“It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…”

Gulp.

Americans have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences…redefining Christianity, if you will. One of the things that really hit home was on p31 where Platt says, “Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, “No”.”

Powerful words, huh?

(This is the part where I was going to start typing quotes I liked from the book, but then realized I’d be retyping the entire thing. Maybe it’s just easier for you to get your own copy!)

Seth has joked for years that I’ve been going through a mid-life crisis (er…quarter life?). I’m always saying that we’re not doing enough…or that I feel like there’s something we’re supposed to do, but I’m not sure what. We pray for guidance, but sometimes a billboard (or email) would be nice.

DEAR SETH & MARY,

PLEASE GO LIVE IN AFRICAN JUNGLES AND TEACH THE NATIVES ABOUT JESUS.

THANKS,
GOD

See? That way I would KNOW I was doing the right thing!

But in all seriousness, this book makes me question how we go about many things in our lives. The petty things that fill our day. Who’s getting married on such-and-such TV show. What that person said and why they said it. The great sale at Old Navy last week.

Makes me feel super guilty for ever being disappointed with this:

When I could be coming home to this:

I want to do something radical.

There’s still time to get yourself a copy of the book and participate in the read-along Marla is hosting on her blog! Sorta like an online book club (did you ever think we’d see the day??).

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

Luke 9:23-25