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the most radical statement in the Bible?

October 14, 2008

I’m reading a book called Irresistible Revolution right now by a guy named Shane Claiborne.  While his theology is very poor in some areas, Shane’s an interesting guy that I’ve grown to respect.  He’s an evangelical Protestant that spent a few years in Calcutta working with Mother Theresa in the villages of the dead and dying.  When he got back to The States, he took everything he had up to Philadelphia, shacked up in the most poverty-stricken part of the city, and started what he calls a “new monasticism” in which a handful of people have given up everything to help the impoverished of Philly.

I’ll be completely honest and tell you that I’m a sucker for a radical.  There’s a pretty strong streak in me that wants to totally buck the status-quo and do something with my life in the name of Christ that most people would call stupid.  “Safe Christianity” has never been that attractive to me.

It really struck me while I was reading this that someone asked Shane why he’d done this with his life.  His response was that all he was doing was taking seriously Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  For some reason something clicked in my head when I read that statement this week that had never clicked before.  Do you realize how radical and socially unacceptable the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” is?  If the church really loved their neighbors as themselves…

– The 1.6 billion people that have never heard the name of Jesus would hear the name of Jesus.

– No one in Spring Hill would lose their home to bankruptcy.

– No one would be homeless or ever have to worry about a meal.

– The teams in the NFL would let the Bengals win a Superbowl (OK, this is a little much but I can dream, can’t I?)

– Poverty would end.

– No one would ever be lonely again.

– Every orphan in the world would have parents.

What if The Bridge really did this?  Call me a dreamer, but if a handful of people really lived out Jesus’ most “popular” command it would turn Spring Hill upside-down…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin Goben permalink
    October 15, 2008 11:03 pm

    What an awesome testimony, Josh! I am a sucker for a radical too…. Your reaction to that book sounds similar to my reaction to “Under the Overpass.” Similarly, this guy’s theology is a little shaky here and there… but these college kids drop out and live among the homeless as a sort of social experiment to learn how to witness to these people. Wait until you read how various churches treated these men! It will turn your stomach and make you think twice about how you treat people you don’t understand.

    God loves ALL His children and wants us to reach every last one of them without regard to earthly cost. Thanks for reminding us of that lesson!

    ROCK ON!

  2. October 16, 2008 1:24 pm

    Howerton, I’m not sure how I lost touch with your blog, but I’m back now…I haven’t read that book, but Isaac has- I know he had some issues with the theology as well. Still, it takes a lot of courage to do something radical 🙂

    PS- I told a funny story about Greek and you to my interns the other day.

    And oh yes, HAPPY BOSS’S DAY!!!

  3. howertonjosh permalink
    October 16, 2008 3:49 pm

    My first secretary – Great to hear from you Jenny!

  4. Mary Bea permalink
    October 20, 2008 6:03 pm

    Julie Howerton weeded my yard the day McKenna was born…Scott Shoopman mowed for us on the same day…KEEP IN MIND…The Bridge was only about 4 months old…and we had only known them that long…it was overwhelming to us the loved that was poured out…Becky Riffe gave me a car load of baby stuff for McKenna clothes, toys, high chair, tons of stuff…and I had only known her about 2 weeks!! Tammy Ver Steeg, & Becky Riffe have offered to babysit my 3 kids (added to their already full houses) on nights Ken was out of town and I would clearly have a late rehearsal…Kathy & Jeff Hollandsworth offered to keep the kids for us so we could have a date night…just out of the blue…it was awesome!! Sue Slack seems to have a holy hotline or something in her house..cause she always knows when to email with a bible verse or two that totally inspires or knows just when to check in and give you some support and offer her prayers…I’m sure I’m forgetting someone or something wonderful…because little things happen all the time…I’ll be walking along…just having a day…and WHAM!! Somebody from my awesome church family will smack me with some love!!

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