Jesus Was A Radical. Why Not His Church?

I wanted to write about something else..but pushed that for later.

Somebody asked me recently, “Ashish, do you think you are doing what God is asking you to do?” It is an important question. We are all to be in God’s divine will after all.

But I have a problem with how people and especially some in the church view this aspect. I believe Jesus Christ was a radical. The dictionary terms radical as a “revolutionary: markedly new or introducing radical change – person who has radical ideas or opinions” (Taken from http://wordnet.princeton.edu)

Jesus went about doing exactly the things the then current system did not allow. He healed on the Sabbath. He dined with sinners. He spoke to Samaritans. He loved the lost. He moved with lowly people (at least in society – fishermen).

He went against the system. He proclaimed that the system is wrong. And the best part is that He did not come to form a new system. He came to give freedom. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus said in John 8:36

But alas, I often found in the church that we form systems and expect people to abide by them. Now please note I am not totally against systems. We use systems to get things done and pretty well too. But what happens when those same systems get in the way of the will of God? It becomes our idol. When our system takes a higher place and importance than the will of God – we put God in second place (which is not right and something He will not bear).

I have never been fond of societal systems. I have always, for some reason, rebelled against them. People get very uncomfortable because of that. They actually tell me, “How many people in our church do things like this?” I don’t care if other people do it or not. What matters is that Jesus has broken my shackles and set me free. I am not bound by any worldly chains. And I may not be liked because of this thinking.

Jesus set examples – Pure Love, Humility, Compassion and many more. Paul says in Ephesians 5: 1a “Be imitators of God”. We are supposed to imitate Jesus. How often we meet people who have had a bad experience with a proclaimed Christian or in church? (There are even sites dedicated for Ex-Christians!!!) I often ask my parents if people would accept me if somebody were to walk into church with torn jeans, long hair and earrings. I am sure some would but most would pass judgement at the first look. Even if they would all accept him the first time, they would expect him to be formed into their mould later.

Christ was a RADICAL. He called his disciples to be radicals – people who follow his example. That includes loving your enemies and accepting people just the way they are. Are we game?

(I would love to know your opinion on this. I would surely like to know if I am wrong in my thinking. Please comment. Thank you.)

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Comments: 9

  • sAP

    I found the topic radical and quite interesting. So here’s my take on the thing.

    Speaking of radicals, Samson was one. And so was Solomon. The point being that radical may not always be a good thing. Jesus Christ, his disciples, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi for instance are examples of good radical-ness (if there is such a word). Not everything. The DaVinci Code movie is a model of modern day “radicalness”.

    So how does one realize if something is radical as in good versus something is radical as in bad?

    Well for starters, I have heard several men of God refer to the 3 top things that deceive godly people. They are (i) Finance/ money (ii) Fame/ recognition and (iii) Female/ woman. Incidentally, the first 2 names — Samson and Solomon — both went into oblivion over one of these 3 (female/ woman)… Samson’s case being especially bad (*shudder*)… he didn’t see it coming. Solomon was blinded in a different sort of way, but blinded nevertheless.

    So if the radical-ness under question does not figure in these 3, you are relatively safe(r).

    Second, there are several mechanisms available to the true Christian through which God reveals his plans — big or small. Over the ages God has always spoken through prophets and his servants — which is the work of the Holy Spirit manifesting in different ways. If two or more prophets speak of the same thing, it can be confirmed that it is imminent and sure. So if you are a christian, you can ask God to speak through his servants to you. You don’t really need to go to men of God yourself in case you are apprehensive, but you can ask God to speak to you through whom he wishes. When he does speak, you have to listen and take action.

    Third, look at people who are responsible and have to give account to God for you. If you are a saved Christian, that would mean your Pastor or certain key men of God through whom you have come to the faith. They are a representation of the High Priest in heaven — Jesus Christ. Not all may be good priests. But you know the good ones by their fruit. Regard what they perceive of your radicalness.

    Fourth, if there are people who may be looking at you as a role model; as one they can imitate; consider if your radicalness causes any of those innocent ones to go astray. If it does, then you’d be bringing upon yourself quite a mouthful.

    Fifth, honour your father and mother — which is the first commandment with a promise — that it may go well with you. What is their take?

    Well, I suppose this should be a good checklist to refer with, though its not a complete one I am sure. Thanks for asking. Hope this helps.

    June 23, 2006
  • Coming from a guy with a blog with an About Me that says

    “Though not the rebellious type, friends perceive me as some sort of maverick. Now, that is maverick as in, “someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action”, and NOT as in, “unbranded range animal”. I don’t have a problem with authority, have a reasonably good sense of humour, a great family and wonderful parents.”

    that comment seems weak — to say the least. Whoever this sap is

    Did you check yourself in the mirror before writing that? Especially since `radical – revolutionary: markedly new or introducing radical change – person who has radical ideas or opinions’ and maverick – `someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action’ are synonyms – refer http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/maverick

    And Ashish, man, is this some personal dialogue goin on with us lurkers havin no clue as to whatsup?

    Well, i took the trouble of logging in through all the mish mash of creating a blog — don’t you think i ought to know? πŸ™‚

    June 23, 2006
  • sAP

    Appreciate your comment whatsup. I will keep myself under check, thank you. Glad you had the time to go through my blog as well.
    sAP

    June 24, 2006
  • Thanks sAP and sowhatsup for your comments.

    sowhatsup, sAP is a friend that I know personally. I am not sure if his comment is meant to be a personal one. I can definitely speak for my post, which was definitely not addressed to anyone specific – I was just writing what came through my mind – thinking aloud, you may say!

    sAP..I am really surprised that you put this up here. But since you brought this up, I may as well comment too πŸ™‚

    Samson was called to be a radical…and his fall was brought on by a woman. Solomon was wise and he also fell because of the many women!! But King Solomon, a radical?!! Please!!..I don’t think he was anything close to one.

    Solomon was born in a king’s household…took up the throne after his father, David. How was he radical? What radical thinking or deeds did he take up? I can’t remember any off-hand. He was blessed with a lot of wisdom but radical?! I can’t think of one thing that he did markedly new or introduce some radical change. (I may be missing something here. Please let me know if you or anyone can find one.) And please, I wouldn’t mix radicalness and wisdom!

    Those points you posted there are great but tell me, sAP…do you get up one day in the morning and decide to be radical? Did Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln take a decision one fine day and then go to their parents and tell them, “Dad, mom…I have decided to be a radical, what do you think?” or to their pastor, “I feel like a radical..could you please let me in on your thoughts on this?”

    A person does not become a radical that way. It is the way he/she is built. They think different, feel different, live different…they have strong conviction for what they believe in. And that is why people like Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale and so many others are called radicals. They went against the current system, questioned its procedures and so called traditions.

    All these people could have lived their lives peacefully without doing anything – but they believed strongly in their convictions and that made them stand strong for it. Or why would a man be willing to be strangled and burnt at the stake? – read William Tyndale’s story. Would Tyndale’s parents have wanted him to do it? – they would have definitely had dreams for their son and wanted a normal life for him. But because of what Tyndale started, today we are able to read the Bible in English.

    Radicalness and Prophecy. A prophet can be radical..e.g. Elijah, Jeremiah and many more. But asking a prophet if you can be a radical or not is unheard of. Radicalness is a whole thought process. It does not happen in only one event or at one time. It is a way of living – everything a radical does is influenced by this way of thinking.

    About your point on being a role model in church to be imitated – the Bible tells us in Ephesians 5: 1 “Be imitators of God..” (read the rest of that verse, it is interesting.) I simply perceive that if a man looks at another man as a role model, it is classified as idol-worship. We are called to be imitators of God, not men. The church is beautiful because of its diversity. If two or more people were alike, it would be so boring. Everyone is special and has a special place in the Church – to be used by God. You are special because of who you are, not who you can be like.

    I have a question here – would you call terrorists as radicals? I would not. They are terrorists. I believe a radical would and must have a positive impact.

    I am sorry for the length of this comment…but isn’t this the beauty of blogging?

    June 25, 2006
  • sAP

    Ash, you have raised some good points. Though I don’t personally don’t agree with your assessment, I will keep my mouth shut. Hope I am proved wrong.

    sAP

    June 25, 2006
  • I like your line of thought guys, even though I guess you are discussing something personal here!

    Think of all these people from the Bible:

    Noah (who would have been booed at
    in his time when he was building the huge ark),
    Joseph (who married a pregnant woman – an act of
    faith),
    Daniel (who refused to go with the crowd),
    Moses (who left the comforts of the palace to go
    amongst his people who were suffering) ——– The
    Bible is full of radicals OR `pioneers’ as I would call
    them.
    They ventured where no one had gone before – on
    the strength of their faith in God and pretty much
    nothing else – – and guys, GOD UPHELD THEM!

    As I said, may your faith in the good Lord go as a shield before you everywhere and in everything you do! May God bless you!

    And, SAP, Ash – if you feel offended by my first comment in any way, i apologize!
    And Ash, don’t feud with SAP because he seems a good sort – he likes Matt Redman and Top Gear – two of my favorites!! πŸ™‚

    June 25, 2006
  • Being Radical or not radical, things will have a positive effect if your fundamentals are correct in line with the Word and the Will Of GOD.

    Solomon was brilliant, full of wisdom, but his wisdom brought him arrogance and arrogance made him move away from his fundamentals. And the rest is history.

    Prophet Elijah, and Jeremiah were called radicals by the jewish society. But the irony was the Jewish society was going astray from the ‘God Will’ at that point of time. But both the phophets stuck to thier fundamentals “THE Word Of GOD”. When we read the gospel we will know they were no way radical.

    Martin Luther was not radical. He stood by the ‘The Truth’ and the society at that point of time was against the Truth.

    Abraham was not radical. The stood by the fundamental of Human love and compassion. Wherien the american society was engrossed in Slave trade.

    So when we talk about Christ being a radical…actually he was not. The society call him radical beacuse they were sunk deep in Hypocrisy. But Jesus stood by the fundamentals.

    Social laws were formed by the Lord himself. refer Duetronomy. Were Lord gives social and spritual laws to His people. Why did God do so. Society without law and dicpline is a broken society . We cannot call it a radical society, but a broken society. Please refer the radical society of Afgah, Iraq were people live by thier own will.

    Same way all place of worship have their own set of law as in the early years. To maintain a standard and dicipline among people. And most of these so called rule and regulation are from the various books of Bible. It is up to you to find out whether the laws at your chruch and your society stand the basic priciple in “The Word”. When you accpet ‘The Word’ you are a diffrent person. Your walk of life changes. These includes what you put on as cloths, what you eat, what you drink and whom you go along with and whom you choose as your life partner if you are not married, And how you treat you life partner if you are married.

    The above points are just the changes which happened in my life. I went by the will and word of my ‘God’. I may not be radical in many peoples point of view but absorbed few faithful belivers of God and their lives inspired me. We can not call that as Idol worship. Because I exprienced the love of Christ in them. Have you heard a song call ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine’. It basically talks about how you can be an example of God’s love to others.

    I can write on an on. But the basic funda is this…

    1) Stand by the word of God’ in all you do.
    2) If you think a decesion of your’s can be radicall it is better to discuss with your sprituall father (can be your pastor) about it before you do it.
    3) Everything boils down to fundamentals. If your fundamentals are strong you wont fall. If not you will become another Solomon and Samsons of the world.
    4) So what is the fundamental of a beliver? “THe WORD OF GOD”
    5) Last but the Important Point.

    DO NOT Twist the Law (The Word) in the name of radical thinking it will surely back fire.

    Thankz

    June 25, 2006
  • Excellent thought, prav.

    Why do I get the feeling that I am being mistaken here? prav, I am saying the same thing – even though I may not have said it explicitly. You are only radical only if your “fundamentals” are strong – based on the Word of God. I was in no way referring to be radical for the sake of being radical. I fully agree that a person has to be completely rooted in the Word of God.

    But then again, I feel both sAP’s and prav’s posts are at me for something personal, when my post was not. It is simply about being radical for Christ. No one can deny that there are many churches, even the so called believer churches, who are deep in tradition and hypocrisy. When you stand for the Word, you stand out from that crowd and people may look at you as radical. I don’t think I can put it simpler than that.

    Anyways, thanks for your great thoughts..it is nice to have discussions here.

    sowhatsup, thanks for venturing in and commenting. May the good Lord bless you too.

    June 25, 2006
  • Nothing personal Ash….I just shared my experience with you…

    June 26, 2006

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