Yep, in the late 60’s we were gonna change the world. And to an extent we did and some still think (I do too in some areas) we trashed it.
Meanwhile Wall Street and Big Moola continue to do what they always have. Equal opportunity trashing, hmmm? Extreme sexual, etc., morals (lack of) vs. money, armaments and power-trip morals (lack of). Hmmm?
You sometimes still hear the term “radical” but much more these days it’s- “going forward”.
Critics within and outside the church/es often trash-talk supposed or true believers due to the lack of this.
“Come on, it’s a couple thousand years ago Jesus walked the earth, get with it you idiots!”
Understood, but I disagree. Love is beyond mere trends, culture or pop fads, even in the church. In fact truth being considered so very relative, your truth is equally relative as mine so holds as much value, kno whut ah meen dude? Forget this modern logic, life is what you make it.
Well, there we agree to some extent.
As I have often said, plenty of peeps consider Christ-followers modern neanderthals who are stuck in an ancient mythology. Or conversely, Christians sometimes appear to be saying “Look, we really ARE as hip as you worldly peeps, just look”!
Of course they don’t always think all is cool with say, modern druids, neo-pagans or atheists but with some of our more severe and sometimes mean and harsh hardcore “Christians” (?) I understand some of their thinking too. Then on the other hand you have the sort of “kill-a-Muslim-for-Christ” (used to be “Commie”) attitude in the extremes.
Extremes are always just that and often used as the cop-out straw-man when we want to avoid personal change ourselves. Defense mechanisms.
Paul wrote the Good News of Christ is “an offense” and I get that living a truly radical life is “offensive” and not merely defensive.
“Radical” at base means CHANGE.
So, what is truly “radical moving forward” for Christ-followers?
Are we out-loving others? Do we do the hard work of unifying over what seem clearly biblical (that is, our Lord’s actual) “core values” or are we parked in tradition, same-old-same-old, whatever standards of “normalcy” because our neighbors will then accept… who… what… US? What about Jesus Christ? What about being credible witnesses to those around us without saving faith?
I give you here what has rocked me for most of my lifetime, that is, living voluntarily in an intentional community, one room, passing on some 80 or more percent of any income to our community to meet needs.
Meanwhile, by living simply in this missionary lifestyle we are able to fund a long list of projects to directly serve widows, orphans, the poor, returning veterans, people dealing with all sorts of addictions, bringing food, blankets, a listening ear, a hand up and offer a place of service to some from the “Christian ghetto” as some like to call it… in a part of Chicago truly in need of love and service.
Ok, enough of this, here is the foundation of what I have lived most of my life:
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
These have been two of the most moving texts in my life for the better part of my lifetime. I beg you to ponder what they say and moreso, what the early believers actually lived daily regarding the points these verses so clearly raise!
I suggest that some, , are actually –called by God– to live in such a lifestyle by which pooling our resources and voluntarily giving far more than 10 percent can make a MASSIVE difference moving forward. In fact, I am convinced when one is willing to live as they lived, give as they gave and love in practical ways as are listed in just these two short texts, followers of Jesus to at least some degree “put to silence the talk of foolish people by DOing GOOD” as the scripture says.
Changing is difficult and often a matter of dying to self to the extent many simply get into a slot (sometimes deciding years later another term might be “rut”) and being stuck in habits are nearly gutted in terms of activism.
Here, I do not mean political activism but God’s love in action through our service and even lifestyle choices. Actively sharing, caring, having eyes and ears toward those around us in need- be it spiritual or otherwise, and being at least partially helpful by being loves “boots on the ground”. Faith, hope and love right up close-and-personal. It is THAT and not mere slogans, a 90 min. meeting with bells-and-whistles or the odd offering and “drive-by good deed” that would in my personal view be the RADICAL, the GOING FORWARD sort of progress many of us seek… and plenty outside our faith too rarely see in their neighborhood.
Am I slamming the typical local-church format? Not at all, because you can link together with others locally and do any/all this IF you have heart, eyes, ears and a sense of calling to those around you. IF you are willing to sacrifice and go “the extra mile”.
I get having to do a 9-5 day job plus more just to pay bills. I get being tired at the end of the day or finally on the weekend catching up with needs of your apartment, house, yard, car and etc., got that. But in the end we can wear out doing status-quo lifestyle and then where does 80 percent of our income go? Survival as opposed to direct ministry/serving/OUTreach.
No condemnation meant by me, just my view on the reality of the western world.
WAS the Acts 2 and 4 manifestation of the early church as some teach, a mere “experiment” just and only for that day and time when so many were poor, oppressed and the like? I suggest to you that in the western world and increasingly beyond it, wealth, chosen separation, little castle/houses have taken us out of community and condemned many (yes, “condemned”) to a disconnect, a loneliness, a self-focused lifestyle that burdens many to the point of misery.
It’s “how everybody else does it”.
In case you wonder “Is Glenn saying ALL OF US MUST/OUGHT TO/ARE CALLED to live as HE lives?” NO NO NO NAY, NADA, NIX. What I AM indeed saying is many more of you should be -and nowhere near Chicago.
Please read that last paragraph again, I am absolutely serious.
What are YOU doing locally, in your own backyard?
Franchising ANYTHING (unless decent fast food) is not my gig and I think often a flawed concept of growth.
Truly, the price of close community is high, costly (please read Bonhoeffer) and this is why many in my generation early-on put their hand to a plow Christ indeed called them to -and later chose other plows more to their personal liking. God and not personal taste ought to have the final word on our choices.
Of course we fail thinking “Why share a field when you can own it yourself and do as you like with the total harvest? In fact sharing is rather socialistic, no?”
I find and have found the most satisfying life imaginable- for me… and indeed your mileage may vary… by re-reading, checking my heart, attitude and life (along with the material aspects and living standards as well as spiritual fruit) regarding these two texts for some 44 years.
Talk is cheap which is why so many stick to chatter and theory as opposed to action.
I am SOOOO grateful Jesus DID what He did! I’m convinced His words had and have power, certainly in part due to His living them out in actual practice.
Perhaps it makes sense to consider respect for the ancient church if we seek to become the modern church that loves as deeply as they apparently did. Sometimes going forward means going back for what we have lost.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn