ordinary radical…

Over Lent I decided to reread the Gospels.  Not exactly a ground-breaking decision, but it’s been a while since I read them in totality as opposed to dipping in and out from time to time.

To say it was refreshing is a massive understatement.  Although at times it was just like a walk in the park with an old friend, at other times it was deeply disruptive and disturbing.  You can’t help but be disrupted and disturbed when you read the words of Jesus and those who he came into contact with.

Some reflections:
– everything we read about Jesus tells us how incredible and yet how ordinary he was.  Incredible things happened to those around him, and in particular to those who put their trust in him.  But all of this happened in the midst of ordinary life.  His stories are firmly rooted in ordinary life.  His friendships, his controversies…everything, all in ordinary life.  There’s no sacred/secular split here.  As we’ve seen before – everything is spiritual…Jesus brings God into the everyday – into the neighbourhood, as the prologue to John tells us.  What this says to me is that our life of faith has to be lived ‘out here’ in the midst of ordinariness, not in ‘church’, whatever we mean by that.  We have to be visible, we have to be engaging with the everyday stuff that’s going on, up to our necks in the crap that life throws at the world, trying to figure out who God is and where we might find him each and everyday;
– on that note, worship moves away from being about music, words, poems…although these all have their place.  Instead, worship becomes the everyday actions we’ve just talked about.  We worship even when we don’t talk about God…perhaps even especially so.  God weaves in and out of our relationships and our conversations because it’s so natural to us that we don’t have to force him into them.   We don’t need worship services because we’re worshipping when we serve, when we’re living, when we’re gathering with our friends and family even if the main focus isn’t talking about God;
– Jesus’ words impact everything.  I mean everything.  Not just the bits we want to let him into, but into every aspect of being a human being. If we take seriously what Jesus says about one thing, we have to take seriously what Jesus says about everything.  Not just the bits we agree with and find easy, but perhaps even especially so the bits we disagree with and find incredibly difficult to want to live out.  We can’t lock Jesus into our box.  He confounds that.  This isn’t about beating ourselves up because we’re not able to do everything Jesus demands of us, but instead, I think, means trying to work out how we do this as a community – simply because we can’t do this alone.  This, this is what discipleship has to be about.   Seeking to follow the way of Jesus in everything;
– finally, being saved is something that happens every day, not just a one off experience.  Saved from myself, saved, work in progress.  That’s what I mean.

On top of this, I’ve just finished reading Shane Claiborne’s ‘The Irresistible Revolution’…which is where the title for this post comes from.  Shane talks about us becoming ‘ordinary radicals’ – allowing the radical message of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to flow through everything that we are.  Believing profoundly that another way is possible, and that our role as participants in the mission of God is to seek to live this out every single day, wherever we find ourselves.

I want to commit, post-Lent, to a life that seeks to be exactly that.

An ordinary radical.

Being the best husband and dad I can be because when I get it right I’m modelling what Jesus models to his people, that love and grace conquers all.

Being the best teacher I can be because to do so is to be part of changing the system, encouraging and empowering the students I work with to grab a hold of their world an make a difference.

Being the best friend and neighbour I can be because community is where we find our meaning, not individually.

When I mess up – and I will – it means modelling the humble way.  We’re always learning, always growing, and failure and disappointment is part of that.  Read the Gospels.  You’ll see that time and time again.

Many more things to be worked out, but this isn’t a bad place to start.

Join me in this adventure.


2 thoughts on “ordinary radical…

  1. a very good post Martin, thanks. Particularly where you talk about worship, worship is something that should not be confined to a Sunday morning, or to a 10% here and there, but something that underlies everything, every decision, every step, every gesture. and part of that is knowing that when we mess up, fail and / or forget, as you say, our worship extends to how we humbly recognise this, both individually and (but more importantly) in community.

    1. I’ve been really moved by this worship as life concept – more than all the times before when I’ve thought about whole life worship. I’ve articulated the idea of being ‘church’ wherever and with whoever – and I think this is what makes it possible. I’m also excited about how this might make ‘church’ accessible to the whosoever.

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