I wasn't going to do another book thing, but I have begun listening to Radical by David Platt. (Apparently I orded the audio version from Amazon instead of the book. But that might actually be a good thing.) I have barely begun listening, and already I am touched by the author's message.
Chapter 1, part 1 of 4
The author is the pastor of a mega-church, but this is not a book about church growth. If anything, he comes out in the very beginning and challenges what he is doing and what American churches in general are doing, and contrasts that with what Jesus did. He compares and contrasts our choices with those of Christ, and contrary to what some might do, he does not downplay what Jesus did or explain it away through some kind of cultural excuse. He questions what we do. Jesus was not interesting in marketing his teachings. In fact, when the crowds got large, he would say things that would chase some away. Apparently, his invitiations were more costly than some were willing to accept, and he was okay with that. Quite the contrast to the invitation that we often hear today.
Chapter 1, part 2 of 4
"Somewhere along the way we have missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable." Those are hard words to hear. But when we look at the Jesus of the Bible, and really listen to his call, we do not hear a comfortable call or promises that all will be easy. That call that Jesus gave was full of difficult and challenging statements. Things like "carry your cross," "let the dead bury their own," "go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor," and the ever-popular "unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have no part in me." When is the last time you heard those words in an invitation?
He mentions the story of the Rich Young Ruler in this section. Wouldn't most of us given anything to have such a person of power and prestige as a member of our group? Yet Jesus couldn't close the sale. Jesus called people to abandonment. Many of his followers did so at the cost of their lives. That is not easy to hear, so we water it down. But Jesus didn't. Did he know something that we don't?