Christians need to be radicalised
Radicalisation and faith, when put together, are terms that probably make you think of hate preachers and terrorist attacks. They are terms used in the media all the time “British youth being radicalised by hate preacher” etc. So, some, may find it odd that I would call for a radicalisation of Christians. It probably isn’t the sort of thing that you ought to have as a blog title (can’t help but wonder if I’m going to get my blog checked over after it comes up in a search for key words). But radicalisation is exactly what I think Christianity needs.
“Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power, and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear … Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
For a while I took part in a blogging for books program where I would get a free copy of a book in return for blogging about it. The service that I was signed up to exclusively had Christian books and one had caught my eye about Christianity and business which I thought might be interesting. It turned out to be my worst nightmare in book form. Completely on the opposition end of the political scale to me and not at all in tune with how I think about the world and my faith and how this may effect my approach to business. But it was a part of the deal to blog about it and to review it on a website such as Amazon. As part of my review I explained that I had just finished reading “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical” by Shane Claiborne saying that this perhaps shows why I wouldn’t have gotten on with the book that I was reviewing. I got a comment on my review suggesting that I be wary of anything with radical in the title as it tends to depart from the gospel. I politely pointed out that Claibrone and his community seem to live out the gospel far more than most Christian groups that I have read about and suggested that, perhaps, Christ would have been considered a radical in his own time.
I think the problem is that we often want a Christianity that fits in with the world, doesn’t disrupt it too much and doesn’t call us into question. We can go on a Sunday and feel good about ourselves. Sing songs about how amazing Jesus is and allow it to have very little affect on how we live our lives Monday – Saturday (unless of course attending further Church meetings on these days). We may try to be a bit more pure, change things that affect ourselves slightly but don’t really make any difference in the world. But as Bonhoeffer points out perhaps we should be shocking the world more then we do. Perhaps we should be a stronger voice for the voiceless, stand in solidarity with the oppressed, feed the hungry and find shelter for those without it. Perhaps we should be standing against inequality, discrimination and the unjust, petitioning and speaking out. People should know that when there is something wrong in society Christians are going to be there to speak out and help put it right. We should be known as radicals of love, grace and justice.
We need to remember that thinking of Jesus only as gentle, meek and mild is heresy. Yes he was those things but he didn’t shy away from speaking out against those who were oppressing people and causing injustice. He turned over the tables in temple. It is about his love for us and our love for him but if it’s only that, then I suggest it may as well be nothing at all. We are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help home the homeless, as what we do for them we do for him. And maybe once we start to get this right we will be seen as the radicals we ought to be.
We need to be radicalised by love preachers.