Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Irresistable Revolution

I'm currently reading The Irresistable Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. It's definitely rocking my world and making me ask a lot of questions I don't always encounter here in Williamson County. Here's a paragraph I came across this morning that made me nod vigorously and say YES. This is found in the midst of a discussion about Jesus' conversation with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-30, and Luke 18:18-30 where Jesus basically tells the rich man that he must sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor in order to "inherit the kingdom." Claiborne is skeptical of the way many preachers clean this text up or contextualize it to simply mean "Don't worship money," even thought that's not what Jesus said. In response to our desire to stay rich and not make anyone uncomfortable with whatever level of wealth they've attained, Claiborne says this:

In our culture of "seeker sensitivity" and radical inclusivity, the great temptation is to compromise the cost of discipleship in order to draw a larger crowd. With the most sincere hearts, we do not want to see anyone walk away from Jesus because of the discomfort of his cross, so we clip the claws on the Lion a little, we clean up a bit the bloody Passion we are called to follow. I think this is why the disciples react as they do. They protest in awe, "Who then can be saved?" ("Why must you make it so hard? We need some rich folks here, Jesus, we're trying to build a movement.") And yet Jesus lets him walk away.
I have often wondered if a radical obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ is really all that "seeker sensitive." It's awesome to hear someone else articulate that wondering.


mark said...

indeed..a good book..a good opposing voice is Pete Ward's 'Liquid Church' which argues that church should embrace the world of consumption and should focus more on DESIRE instead of NEED...i dig a lot of his arguments..

also..David Lyons wonders if the fact that the church in the US has had to compete on the consumer level (vs. state churches in other countries) has been what has kept it alive whereas churches in other countries that have not learned to compete and adapt are dying or dead..

one thing about Claiborne..the guy has done a lot of amazing things!



Andy Acton said...

Great book! One of my favorites, I can't wait to hear Shane Claiborne at Montreat College Conference in January.
By the way, I've got a new blog now:


hope you're doing well,

Elizabeth said...

i LOVED this book...it challenged me so much...ultimately i determined that i am just not as brave as i wish i was and don't know how to not be scared-maybe that is what stepping out on faith is about...my favorite part, i think, was where SC was talking about the good samaritan story and says that we are called to be like the samaritan and care for those who have been abused along the way, but even more so we are called to change the road they travel on so they will no longer be abused--so obvious, yet i had never heard that before...loved it!! (are you going to the college conference?)