Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Radical?

I happened across a post on a blog I had never read before and it got me thinking about the term 'radical'.  I have to admit that I have wanted to read the book, Radical by David Platt, but haven't had a chance yet.  (Plus, I don't own a copy.  Someone want to loan me one?)  But I have a pretty good idea of what it's about... eschewing the normal and societally-approved way of living and choosing instead to live in a radical way; living as Jesus calls us to live.  Often this is interpreted as doing great, big, somewhat scary things for God.  And I don't think there is anything wrong with this.

Then I read the blog post and she posits that we can't always live in this way every single minute.  That it can sometimes become the purpose of our lives as opposed to a way we serve God.  And I understand her point as well.  That Jesus is in the everyday stuff of our lives.  That every day won't and can't be a big 'fire from Heaven' day.

Well, some readers took exception to her post and there was a little brouhaha in the comments.  (Obviously I haven't managed to stop reading comments on things.)  And it all seems to boil down, once again, to word choice.  If we only see living radically for God as doing the big, get-out-of-the-boat-types of things, then I agree that every day is not going to be lived this way.  The necessities of life need to be taken care of.  But what if we can live radically for God and still take care of the ordinary?  Because just about everything about God and how He wants us to live is at odds with what our culture around us tells us is important.  It is radically different.

As I wrote that last sentence, it made me wonder about the definition of the word and if I truly wrote what I thought I did.  Merriam-Webster lists among the different meanings, two which I found very interesting.  One is what we often think of the word meaning, "Very different from the usual or traditional."  This would certainly support my sentence... that God, and how He wants us to live, is very different from our society.  But there was another definition that caught my eye.  It was actually the first one listed.

1. "of, relating to, or proceeding from a root: as
(1) : of or growing from the root of a plant <radicaltubers> (2) : growing from the base of a stem, from a rootlike stem, or from a stem that does not rise above the ground <radical leaves>

It is a definition that I vaguely remember from biology days, but it is not one I immediately think of as associated with the word.  But I think here is a definition of radical that everyone can agree on and it falls right in line with John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."  (ESV)  So there it is.  To be radical is to bear fruit.  If you are truly connected to God, you can do nothing else.  There may be pruning that happens every now and then, but this will only result in more fruit as long as the branch remains connected.

We can bear fruit in any situation we find ourselves.  Whether it is taking care of children in our home (an increasingly radical act in our society, to use the more common definition) or by doing something which garners more public attention and accolade.  Our job is to stay connected to the root.  And if we do that, and listen to that still, small voice inside us, we may well be surprised at the radical things which are accomplished through us.  

There's the point after all this.  It is nothing that we do ourselves.  It is merely us allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us.  The minute we think that we are the ones responsible for any great acts, we have separated ourselves from the root.  At that point we are not radical, in either definition.  In the first, we are a branch disconnected from the root.  In the second, there is nothing radical about self-centeredness or pride.  That is just life as usual.

1 comment:

sandwichinwi said...

I picked up this book for free, or maybe I bought it, on my Kindle. I don't remember. Just the other night I read the first 3 chapters and was thinking "I should blog on this book." And here you've done it for me, without even reading the book!

I don't remember the price, but check it out on the Kindle. Often (as I'm sure you've noticed) Kindle prices are less than traditional book prices. It might be a book you want to keep handy and close, anyway.

Blessings,
Sandwich

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It