Saturday, February 28, 2009

What is a Christian radical?

In recent years, the picture of a Christian radical has tended to be painted in terms of someone who "rides a motorcycle, writes edgy books, does podcasts, speaks at conferences (for top fees), and never really sacrifices much at all."  But, as Mike Barrett recently wrote in Christianity, "we're swallowing a placebo, a sugar pill that claims to make life more interesting."  Click here to read Barrett's fantastic article entitled "Searching for Radical Faith" and discover the surprising results of his search of what it means to be truly radical.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The best description of a radical believer and God's instructions to him is in Jeremiah 1:10-"See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down ,and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant." This shows that it is necessary to uproot first that which is bad before you can plant that which is good-ie the Gospel.

Glenn Penner said...

Odd, since, as this article points out,that the word "radical," in its origins, really means to be rooted. The idea behind the word is to be so grounded, so deeply rooted in a lifestyle direction, that one stands against the social and cultural currents that tear others away from that same path. It's not so much forcing a change of course, but returning oneself and others to an originally intended path. Yes, that mean some uprooting. But I have often found that those who call themselves radicals seems so desirous to be seem as contemporary that they actually need to start pruning themselves first before they call the church back to anything.

Anonymous said...

Glenn, Barrett is using the word radical in the way you are suggesting, but Webster's dictionary and other dictionaries use it to indicate fundamental change of whatever kind. Since we are talking of radical faith, I cited Jeremiah 1:10 which expresses a more Biblical view - that to establish faith and a faithful community it is first necessary to uproot the weeds before you can plant that which can bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Glenn Penner said...

Dictionaries tend to define words by popular meaning, not from their original meaning, which is what Barrett is doing here. Also, one passage does not make a definiation "biblical" and others, by implication, not so. The fact is, tthis passage is calling Jeremiah to be an instruction to return Israel to the path of rightrousness, not to carve out a new one.

Mike Barrett said...

I agree with Glenn.

Glenn Penner said...

More like I agree with you :-)