Radical risk, radical reward?

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

Chapter 1
Someone Worth Losing Everything For
What Radical Abandonment to Jesus Really Means

Formidable headings huh? I saw my husband visably squirm as he thumbed through the pages when I invited him to read this with me. One of the first things I did was look up the word, radical. With the definition confirmed as far-reaching, pervasive, and favoring basic changes, I read the first chapter. I also looked up each scripture mentioned in the chapter and nicely provided in the Notes section at the back of the book. I also looked up a bit about Dr. David Platt and his Church, here, here, and here.

Impact quotes:

First from the outset you need to commit to believe whatever Jesus says. As a Christian, it would be a grave mistake to come to Jesus and say, “Let me hear what you have to say, and then I’ll decide whether or not I like it.” If you approach Jesus this way, you will truly hear what he has to say. You have to say yes to the words of Jesus before you even hear them.

Then second, you need to commit to obey what you have heard. The gospel does not prompt you to mere reflection; the gospel requires a response. In the process of hearing Jesus you are compelled to take an honest look at your life, your family, and your church and not just ask, “What is he saying?” but also ask, “What shall I do?”

We will evaluate where true security and safety are found in this world, and in the end we will determine not to waste our lives on anything but uncompormising, unconditional abandonment to a gracious, loving Savior who invites us to take radical risk and promises us radical reward.

Having a think:
I am struck with some conflict in reading this book as I suspected I might be. My vantage point is as a former church administrator with knowledge of the nitty gritty that makes or breaks church work. Ideas and vision are one thing, making it happen is another. Going out into the world to do good, even as Dr. Platt does, into the far reaches of the globe, requires adhering to basic structure that is comfortable and safe…for someone…possibly not you and me.

In an example comparison of a church building addition that cost $23 million verses mission spending of just $5,000, we all can agree, that’s just nuts on face value if put through the filter of the call to serve the poor. I can think of several other filters that would be logical, even scripturally based. For the purposes of this book study though, I’m going to read further and tell Dr. Platt, not Jesus, let me hear what you have to say.

While this chapter is easy to read and apply personally, I can’t help but think that Dr. Platt might be aiming a direct hit on the organized church and how it raises up church goers in the ways of Jesus, or not. I don’t so much think Dr. Platt is asking individuals to leave their homes and children, as asking churches to leave illusions of grand attendance and even grander structures, and educate, nurture, and grow disciples for Christ.

Which brings me to parables in the scriptures…in reading the full text of the scriptures referenced I am struck by the use of parables. This makes me wonder if I will come to think of Dr. Platt’s work as a parable in the end?

See that skeptical nature of mine?

On to Chapter 2 reading for next week.

***

For more discussion and reading about the book Radical-Taking Back Your Faith fom the American Dream by David Platt visit Marla Taviano at her blog and read the collected posts: Radical response (chapter 1)

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About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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7 Responses to Radical risk, radical reward?

  1. Maureen says:

    "… Ideas and vision are one thing, making it happen is another…." So true. I know of a parish, struggling financially and losing members, that took almost a decade to come up with a strategic plan for its future. It also was handed $250,000. . . for an elevator. And so an elevator was installed, in just months.

  2. RJ says:

    Well thought out and written response. Did you say you were a church administrator? You certainly write like one, and I don't mean that because you are a self identified skeptic :)It is certainly good and thorough for readers to look beyond the surface of what's written and seek to understand the motives of that writing. While I agree that Platt is perhaps attempting to break down church veneers prevalent in American churches, I do think he is reaching for more than that…I believe he is truly wondering what it might look like if more people radically followed the words and works of Jesus [to the letter]. Personally, this is where my "legalist" Baptist upbringing siren starts to go way off.

  3. jasonS says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I like your approach to it. Thanks Robin, I look forward to reading more about it from your responses.

  4. Robin Arnold says:

    Maureen,Thanks for stopping by. I think an elevator would be a good decision if it makes the upper floors accessible. It doesn't make sense if the electric bills and staff wait for payroll. I have a strong opinion of designated giving over supporting the budget in general. I'll stop there. (Malachi 3:10)RJ, yes I've worked in and with churches since 2000. I think you are right, Radical, if it's going in the direction I think, needs to begin at the core of everyone who calls themselves Christian. Pastor J, thanks for stopping by!

  5. Maybe I'm coming at this from a different angle since I've never worked in a church, but I felt the author talking to ME as an individual. Yes, it would be awesome if churches would step up and truly follow Christ. But I don't have to wait for that to happen. I can start right now.

  6. Robin Arnold says:

    Marla,Thanks for visiting my blog this evening and for your comment. I wanted to be sure you knew that I agree with the idea that basic and radical change needs to happen in individuals, you and me. But I also believe this will affect decisions when it comes to working on a committee or ministry projects in a positive way. As a former administrator for a "reunion" type congregation where fellowship was the most important thing, this will be the only way a change in focus can happen. In the examples Dr. Platt gives in Chapter 1, I see frustration in the "church." Maybe that is my sensitivity. It's also my expertise and I felt might interest readers. I also think my husband and I already have embraced a simpler, less than lifestyle, so mostly I'm nodding my head, yeah. I do look forward to what I learn. Marla, you are a blessing! Thank you for hosting this study!

  7. just got the bookwill probably start reading tonight, ifi don't fall asleep too soon.

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