I recall a participating in a conversation where Len Sweet described the need to take risks. He noted that Jesus was not risk averse. The illustration he used concerned our oft used idiom as someone heads for any destination – “Be careful.”
The phrase conjured images of “don’t take a risk” for Sweet. When we are too careful we do nothing. We tend to be paralyzed by fear. Most often when it comes to following Jesus we are stricken with the thought, “What will they think?” Interesting, some will discourage others from doing something completely radical suggesting it too dangerous. Fearing keeps us from the first step. Reminds me of Peter seeing Jesus on the water. Fear kept others in the boat. Careful would have said, “Stay in the confines of the boat until Jesus walks over to us.” Careful does not offer a measure of faithfulness.Sweet went on to suggest a new idiom. “Be safe.” Rock climber would not climb if they were careful. When they climb, they do so safely. I have been telling our girls to be safe ever since.
Michael sent over a copy of The Ordinary Radicals for review for TheOoze. The DVD chronicles the more than 11,000 miles traveled by Shane Claiborne and his Jesus for President Book Tour. The stories of radical faith demonstrates the risks many are willing to take today to follow the way of Jesus. Some are not careful, they are safe. They safely follow conviction bucking convention to live as “ordinary radicals” in the way of Jesus.
The final segment contains a quote by Becky Garrison. She has been observing religion and religious movements offering occasional scathing satirical critique. I met Becky at Soularize in October 2007. She noted interesting events that preceded the Great Awakenings. Sensing something capturing the imagination of a new generation of Jesus followers, Garrison could not put her finger on what event might have spurred the move. She noted many want to know where is the next Martin Luther King or some other key figure. Suddenly she pauses and notes, “It’s us!” Rather than wait around for a figure to rally behind it is those giving themselves in love to and in their communities. What is needed is not in what is in another, what is needed is what is in us, where we are, following the way of Jesus giving hope.
Now that is a great description. Many today are waiting for someone to get behind, someone to plug, someone to follow. Instead, maybe we need to heed the call for ordinary radicals being responded to today by many around the world.
Here is Shane in his own words about making a place for people in the church,