"Radical, taking back your faith from the American dream" by David Platt.
It is without question the most paradigm shifting, eye opening, mind stretching, and heart shattering book I have ever read. I feel shattered in a good way even though being broken up into little pieces is never a comfortable way to feel (and I am getting very little housework done).
With each paragraph of the book I shifted from one emotional extreme to another. I went between resisting the urge to jump up and down on the couch shouting AMEN!!!....to quietly closing the book and wanting to sink beneath the couch cushions. I feel down right manic at the moment.
Although I had been hearing about this book and wanting to read it for a while it wasn't at all what I expected. Not completely anyway. It is so much more than a social justice, give more to the poor, sort of book. So much more.
The back of the book says "In Radical , David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple - then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard."
We have so many "blind spots" in our lives as modern western Jesus followers. We have good intentions and honorable goals. We seek to please God with our lives and the stewardship of our "blessings". We have our nice little families, our polished images, and our smiley faces. We bless ourselves, worship our idols, build our little kingdoms, and hoard the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ within the walls of our multi million dollar buildings.
Meanwhile outside the safety of our gates a world is dying.
We throw them our crumbs.
Like some Christians a few centuries ago who thought they were being generous and honoring God by giving their slaves an extra chicken at Christmas. Many upstanding , religious, people were so blinded by what culture accepted that they were completely unaware of the heinousness of the blood that was on their own hands.
We sooth ourselves with trite statements and shallow philosophies.
We assure ourselves that we are "not called". "Missions" is a something that a select few do or care about. It is just a little sliver of a pie chart printed in our church bulletins. It certainly isn't the very reason we have breath and life.
We keep God in a safe little box. We worship a shallow, romantic idea of the cross and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a version of faith that most of my generation has left behind because they see the holes and the hypocrisy. It costs us nothing.
If Christianity is nothing but a creed to follow it is easy to compartmentalize into a back corner of our lives or throw it away all together.
If Christianity is nothing but the American dream with a "Christian" label attached we are very far off course. We so little resemble the believers of the first Century or our brothers and sisters around the world. Our perspective is so severely distorted.
I loved how David Platt uses biblical truth to challenge our trite small version of Christianity and introduce us to the God of the bible.
It wasn't a brow beating , money is the root of all evil , one size fits all, book but it does have a way of leaving you unsatisfied with the things the world values. It may just give you a throbbing desire for more. True discipleship.
"Where as disinfecting Christians involves isolating them and teaching them to be good, discipling Christians involves propelling Christians into the world to risk their lives for the sake of others."
(Amen! This also spills over into what I desire for my children and my priorities as a parent. Are we raising safe, sanitized Christian kids or are we raising equipped, purpose filled, disciples....world changers.)
Here are a few samples but finding the most profound quotes out of the book is futile because every page is full of them. You just have to read it start to finish. Here are a few lines that I remember standing out to me as I read. It is a borrowed book so unfortunately I couldn't fill it full of pen and highlighter marks.
"Are you and I looking to Jesus for advice that seems fiscally responsible according to the standards of the world around us? Or are we looking to Jesus for total leadership in our lives, even if that means going against everything our affluent culture and maybe even our affluent religious neighbors might tell us to do?"
"the reward of the American dream is safety, security, and success found in more comfort, better stuff, and great prosperity. But the reward of Christ trumps all these things..."
"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."
Other than providing the occasional quote from books I'm reading I have never devoted an entire post to one.
It is THAT good.
Search your church library, run to a Christian book store, order it online, swipe it from a friends book shelf.
On a different topic. Does anyone remember these kids? I wrote about them a LOT last winter while we were in Mexico. "The kids that call me Tia" (auntie).
They were part of our extended family while we lived down there.
I have missed them like crazy. I have worried about them.
This past weekend we were able to send an envelope of photos and note to let them know we love them and haven't forgotten about them. A friend of ours that visits the same mission we were working with was able to be our messenger. They were wonderful enough, to not only find the kids and check on them for us, but to take them icecream! The best part for us was seeing this recent photo of our kids.
It about kills me that I can't be there to love them up, but at the same time the photo fills up my heart with gratitude.
Minerva, the oldest, looks great and is still going to school!