Hum…I’m sure you are thinking “What is Radical?” or maybe “Where are posts for chapters 1,2,3,4, or 5?” or perhaps “Is she really going to do a chapter book review on a FRIDAY?!”
The short answers are:
– It’s a book by David Platt.
– I didn’t write posts for the previous chapters.
The tad-bit longer answer is:
This is a book we’ve been studying this spring in our home group, and it has really challenged my way of thinking as an “American Christian.” The author, who is probably the youngest pastor of a mega-church here in the states, talks about the discrepancies between our American belief system and what the Bible actually teaches about living out our faith within the context of the world. He discusses the differences between the Jesus we’ve “created,” one with whom we are comfortable & believe wouldn’t really ask us to live in a way that is radically different from non-believers and the Jesus of the Bible. (The one who yes, sometimes does ask us to sell everything we have and move to Africa. Just ask the family from my church who are currently raising funds to do just that!) And he probes what has gotten us to the point where we have “Americanized” and “compartmentalized” our approach to spreading the gospel, caring for the poor, and living for Christ.
All the chapters have challenged my way of thinking, ruffled my feathers a bit, and led to interesting discussions with my home group friends. It’s the kind of book that takes time to percolate…gotta think on it for a bit.
Chapter 6 is entitled “How Much is Enough?” and it discusses the battle every Christian wages…what Jesus is calling us to do with our resources as we follow Him. Some of this may not make much sense to you outside of the context of the book…but since this blog is like my journal of sorts I’m going to trudge forward anyway with what I’m learning. Glean from it what you will. 😉
<Disclaimer: The following thoughts are Platt’s, not mine. No plagiarism here folks! Forward all the credit and complaints his way. *wink*>
*Blind Spots: areas of our lives that need to be uncovered so we can see correctly & adjust our lives accordingly….we’ve all got ’em, and in American Christianity materialism has become both a blind spot and a social norm.
*Nearly half the world is struggling today to find food, water, and shelter with the same amount of money we use on french fries for a snack.
*Proverbs warns about curses that come upon those who ignore the poor.
*We are never promised material wealth as a reward for our obediance to Christ.
*From the story of the “rich young man,” we can learn 2 things. Jesus doesn’t always command us to sell everything, but we can’t assume that He will never ask that of His followers.
*God wants to be THE voice that guides what we do with our money.
*Jesus asks us to do things with our money bcause He loves us. He doesn’t want us to be anxious because God is in control.
*You’ll never stand before God & say “I wish I’d kept more.”
*Ask yourself…What kind of hold do your possessions have over your life?
*1 Timothy 6:6 says “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” …Am I willing to live a life that is content with the basics?
*What if we began operating under the idea that God has given us excess, not so we could have more, but so we could give more.
*Scripture clearly teaches that God intends our plenty to supply other needs. We are tempted, though, to settle for throwing our scraps to the poor. What would happen if we stopped giving our scraps and started giving from our surplus?
*What would it look like if we began adjutsing our lifestyle for the sake of the gospel among the poor? What if we put a cap on our lifestyle?
*The mark of Christ followers is that their hearts are in heaven and their treasures are spent there…we can stand with the starving or with the overfed.
To me, the two parts in bold are what hit me in the gut. First, the scripture from 1st Timothy. I’ve gotta admit, I’m not the most content person in the world. I’ve been convicted and challenged by this verse. The second part, about putting a cap on our lifestyle, really got me thinking too. It sounds so counter-cultural to me, but that’s kind of the point.
He talks about John Wesley, who identified a modest level of expenses to live on each year. Ahem…contentment! Those first few years, he just made a little over that cap, but he gave what was extra away. As his income increased, his cap stayed the same…he just began giving more away. From the book Radical, check this out. “At one point Wesley was making the equivalent of about $160,000 a year in today’s terms, but he was living as if he were making $20,000 a year. As a result, he had the equivalent of more than $140,000 to give away that year.”
Now that is radical.
KEEP CALM & THINK RADICALLY!
Wanna know more about the radical experiment? Check it out at http://www.radicalthebook.com/