Even though I wrote a review for the book, I wanted to also write something a little deeper, which isn’t really suited for a book review.
Andrew actually started reading the book before me and he said that it was a lot like Crazy Love by Francis Chan, but that it also sounded like David Platt was just angry with the church. However, he only got to the first chapter. I do have to agree that Platt does a lot of sounding off on the modern church, but he also made me think really hard about the church that I attend and so many other churches in the area. One of the things that Platt stresses is that no amount of programs, multi-million dollar buildings, dynamic speaking, or kickin’ music will save the American people if the Holy Spirit isn’t guiding them. He said that even our church hunting is more “me” driven that Christ driven. I found myself thinking back to when Andrew and I were church hunting, and even before that when my whole family visited what felt like every Southern Baptist church in the area. What was I most focused on? It brought “Heart of Worship”, a song by Matt Redman to mind. I’m not saying that we will be leaving Summit, because we won’t. Summit is the first “home” that we have had in several years and we really do love it there. We love it not just because of the great children’s ministry that I want our children to be a part of, or because of the great music and teaching; we love it because of all of those things, but also because the Spirit does move and the people have a heart for the nations.
Platt does a lot of calling out. One of my favorites is when he calls out Joel Osteen without saying his name. But he did a lot of calling out of me as well. While reading the third chapter, I saw more clearly that my dependence on Christ is directly tied to my comfort, or rather, discomfort. When I was sick, or when Brynn was sick, I did a lot of crying out to the Lord and had to fully rely on Him, but when things are going well, I tend to forget that I need Him. More often than not, I think that I can do it all on my own, and what a lie that is!
“Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our ability or settle for church according to our resources? The power of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, and as a result we have no need to muster up our own might. Our great need is to fall before an almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit.” Radical
Dr. Platt talks a great deal about the poor in this book. He kind of smacked me over the head with poor people and I had (and am still having) a hard time reconciling my desires with what I should be doing for the poor in this world. For instance, someday I want to upgrade my kitchen with granite, put wood floors where there is tile, and replace our carpet. But what about all of the good that those several thousand dollars could be doing to provide food, water, and medical care to the poor in this country and in others? Do I give up every luxury? Do I live on only what is absolutely necessary? I really don’t know how to balance the two. Part of the one year radical challenge is to sacrifice your money for a specific purpose, and Platt suggests sacrificing some luxuries and putting a cap on the amount of money you will use to live on to give the rest away. I know that there are some luxuries that we could do without (hello, cable!), but what else? I say that everything I have actually belongs to God, but do I really mean it? What if God did tell me to sell all of these things that I have spent so long collecting that really only accumulate dust but that I take so much pride in? If He asked for it all back, would I give it without hesitation? The answer, probably not.
We all have heard that if we have clothes on our back, a roof over our head, and food in our bellies that we are actually wealthier than 85% of the world, but I have a hard time remembering that. The truth is, though, that I am wealthy! And Christ was talking to me when he addressed the wealthy of His day! Remember the story of the rich ruler in Mark 10? Wealth can often be a hindrance in fully following Christ, our money often becomes our god, even unknowingly. As Platt puts it, “Jesus apparently loves rich people enough to tell them the truth.” And I am rich.
For several years I have had a burden on my heart to adopt. I don’t know if that means in lieu of having biological children or in addition, but I do know that it scares me. Adoption is freaking expensive! And there are so many unknowns! But I still want to do it, and the more books I read about living the life Christ has called me to live and the more people I talk to, the more I want to do it. Last year I even started to think about foster parenting and Radical has affirmed both of these things to me. There are so many children who need safe and loving homes and who need to hear about the Father who created them and who will never forsake them that I cannot stand idly by and do nothing. I don’t know when the right time for us will be, but I know that it is coming.
“We can stand with the starving or with the overfed.” David Platt, Radical
There is so much truth in what I have read and so much that spoke to me that I will have to read it again, probably several times, in order to really get it. I don’t know if I will do the “radical challenge”, but I do know that I want to live a radical life. So easy in theory, so difficult in execution.