Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If Only I Could Die

A bloggy world woman, Marla Taviano, is leading an online book club. The book is "Radical" by David Platt. And like an idiot, I joined.

Why idiot? As if my heart wasn't cracked enough.

Charging me to be radically committed to the great commission, abandoning the American Dream, and really get to the heart of the Scriptures.

Here is where I must admit, I'm a slow learner. See, I've read all of the scriptures. I have read the New Testament many times. I have studied. I have seen with my own eyes and read with my own heart, the verses that this book draws out. The painful ones. And I've thought to myself before (of the Scriptures) - wow that seems harsh, or exaggerated, or well maybe Jesus is just trying to make a point. I get brownie points for noticing the directness of Jesus' pointed instruction on how to follow Him. But I lose all brownies for thinking things like....well all the good Christians I know don't go to such extremes...so I probably don't have to either.

The book accuses the American Christian church of molding church to meet the American Dream. While in other parts of the world, people are worshiping and risking their lives to do so. They meet in "secret" church to pray and study scriptures all night long. If they get caught....they will be tortured. What is the risk to me to pull up at my local church in my big comfy vehicle? With my adorable little boys who will go in and be loved on by sweet people? What is the risk to me to listening to fabulous worship music by a full band with sharp instruments? Do I even understand how sweet Jesus is and how powerful His message is when I've just been present for a church show? I'm not risking my life to worship. I'm almost praised for worshiping. Other people are so radically in love with Jesus that they will risk their very lives to hear about Him, to learn deeper, and to physically praise and worship Him.

I admit that even I thought my decision to fly to Zimbabwe, by myself, hoping that I wasn't walking into a booby trap....was radical. I did that straight up for Jesus. I was obedient to the point of risking my life. I just thought I was crazy. Now I know I was just being radical....and I'm thankful for that. But radical......once?

But I haven't lost everything for Jesus. I gave up Starbucks and sponsored a Compassion child, but I didn't give up my comforts. I haven't abandoned my needs, desires, and family. I haven't put the purpose of Christ before the purpose of my life.

Here is one of the most profound paragraphs of chapter 1. "But do you and I realize what we are doing? We are molding Jesus into our image. He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all that is whom we are most comfortable with. And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead we may be worshiping ourselves." (pg 13)

So, while I have this tiny little radical aspect to my faith....and I am sorta interested in taking the gospels to the unreached.... I'm probably mostly interested in radically transforming Jesus to looking more like me. And that HURTS.

I'm praying this book rocks the Christian World. Shake us in earthquake fashion. I am a Disciple. That is who I am designed to be. I should be more interested in reaching the lost of the world and die to myself. Maybe just die altogether. Maybe living isn't the purpose of life at all.

Visit Marla's fantastic blog here.


Marla Taviano said...

Oh, Melissa. From one idiot to another, I LOVE this post. I HATE admitting that I'm "probably most interested in radically transforming Jesus to looking more like me," but it is gut-squeezingly, painfully true.

Thank you. So much.

Gabe Taviano said...

Yikes - "well all the good Christians I know don't go to such extremes". That's so true! I think I might just have to re-read that sentence a few times today. Thanks!

Natalie said...

I'm popping over from the Radical Read-Along. I LOVE this post! I had to re-read these statements a few times:
"I'm not risking my life to worship. I'm almost praised for worshiping."

Sadly, I see this in my own life when friends who are not believers praise me for being "so good, going to church, serving," etc. It makes me so uncomfortable and your statements hit home. I do not want to be praised for worshiping! I want to worship Him with such RADICAL abandon that the same unbelieving friends might take to shaking their heads in confusion and dismay at me.

Oh, Lord help us!

Misty said...

i, too, am thankful for this post. it's crazy... i was radical ONCE as well. and it about scared me out of my wits. i was sooo "blessed" to be able to come home to a church family and friends who loved me and we got to go about our business doing normal things again.
that was easy.
what if i were to be radial every day? what i radically loved EVERY single person i came in contact with.. my husband, kids, mailman, neighbor, random post office lady, person who acts like they dont like me, actual enemy??!?!
and then, what if i gave away everything.
what if i was sold out for jesus?
what if i was so godcentered that you had to see thru him to see me at all?
i bet that'd be pretty radical.

Melissa Irwin said...

Thank you, sweet visitors. I'm thinking part of the process of taking in this book will be to radically expose ourselves. Honesty. Misty - I love your way of thinking. We truly can be radical everyday. And I love the idea of being so Godcentered that you would have to see thru Him to see me at all. Wow -

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Such true words and so convicting- what if we are gathering each week to worship ourselves- OUCH! I pray that God cracks my heart {and yours} continuously during this read along to mold us into His image!

Missy said...

I love the concept of putting the purpose of Christ before the purpose of my life...how true that I often invert this priority. Thank you for sharing!