Friday, October 15, 2010

The Middle Way

I've been listening, along with the rest of Central's program staff, to some of the cutting edge church leaders from the Right Now conference. These are some pretty impressive presentations, and I think we'll use some of them to train our Delta group leaders. Some of it is flat out inspiring, and some of it cuts you right to the heart. For example, Matt Chandler was talking last week on the video about the implications of the resurrection. Too often, he said, we focus on the cross -- on our need to be saved from sin, on our being rescued from the kingdom of darkness, etc. -- but we fail to focus on the resurrection, on what Jesus saves us for, on the new life that Jesus calls us to live. So we get preoccupied with not sinning, with avoiding doing bad things, but we don't think about living in the kingdom of God, the "life of the Spirit" that Jesus wants us to know. If we understood the resurrection, if we heard Jesus' call to new life, would that not be worth any risk? And Matt Chandler says we like to imagine ourselves as great risk-takers. We think we're like William Wallace in the movie, "Braveheart," riding in front of the army and screaming, "Freeeeedoooom!"

But, says Chandler, you're not like William Wallace. You're Robert the Bruce's sellout father. You don't risk because if you did, what kind of a car would you have to drive?

Francis Chan was the speaker the previous week, and he described a conversation with a member of his church, in which this member said, "You're always trying to get us to be radical for Jesus, like it's always got to be one way or the other. But I think it doesn't have to be one way or the other. There's a middle way. I think I can live a comfortable life and serve Jesus."

These guys are brutal in confronting this "comfortable" attitude -- but I think they need to be. Speaking for myself, it's so easy for me to back off from a radical commitment to Jesus. It's easy to tell myself to take a middle way, even though Jesus never said there was a middle way to follow him. As I recall he said there is a narrow way and a wide way, and the wide way is the easy one, and it leads to destruction. So when I'm tempted to take an easy "middle" way, I wonder which path I'm really on?

What does a radical commitment to Jesus look like here and now?

1 comment:

  1. I'm in a Bible-study at my church, and the group leader asked what we liked about the study. I immediately knew my answer- I liked the study because the teacher (Beth Moore) is so PASSIONATE about Jesus. You can tell she lives and breathes to talk about Jesus. My oldest daughter is gifted as an evangelist, and she often comes home from school and tells me that she "met another person at recess who knows Jesus mom!!!! WHOOO HOOOO" and we "hi-five" each other.

    I'd say a basic requirement in a radical life of discipleship is a passion for Jesus. When you love someone, all you want to do is talk about that person - it's no different in a relationship with Christ: you can't shut up about how awesome, cool, amazing, gentle, nurturing, wise and (did I say cool?) He is.