A longing for radical life

Smooth societal life. People striving for survival won’t understand this: living a highly civilized lifestyle deprives of life. Within this lifestyle, I don’t have any intensive experiences. That is, I can barely distinguish between my   “experiences”. That is, I have no experiences at all, just everyday life. That way, people don’t feel alive, as they cannot recognize from their experiences that they are living beings. The fact that such a culture often tries to tie up every aspect of life adds to this excessively boring, vigilant coma like state. For example, in Switzerland and Germany, everything is poured into concrete by an enormous amount of laws and regulations, until nearly every degree of freedom is missing. The upside of this state is: you don’t have to bother for survival, for the next day or anything else. The system does it.

Smooth spiritual life. It seems to me that an analogous development took place in the spiritual life of many Christians who live in such a culture: their faith got “domesticated”. The typical Christian lives a very adapted life, including a house, a car, a career, womb-to-tomb security and good social status. Filling the life with such stuff was only possible by getting rid of all risky behavior, including the expectance of miracles. Because we do not risk anything, nothing happens: our spiritual experiences got levelled down so that strong, obvious experiences are no longer possible.

Radical life. Life was not always that boring and meaningless as in this kinda society where radical lifestyle is rare and unwanted. Christianity started as a radical grassroots movement, and it was even dangerous to be part of it. But whenever domestication creeps in, visions are displaced. The smooth kinda lifestyle I criticize above are reconized from the lack of visions. Visions are always risky business: you cannot know if you’ll have success. Therefore, visions are incompatible with a security-oriented, smooth (and boring) life. One should define: revival is when new visions arise, i.e. conceptions of what should or could be.

Practical radical life. Now I’m going to awake the longing for radical, non-boring, not-everyday life in me and my readers. Radical life must be practical radical life, not just a collection of impractical radical thoughts. I have to  admit that my vision for a mobile, high-power, intentional Christian community of about 10 friends is something beyond reach at the moment … it’s impractical at the moment as there is no handle to start it immediately. Therefore, here are some other suggestions how to start living out your newly found radicality immediately.

  1. Stop theological discussions. Theological discussions (e.g. about the nature of the Trinity) are implicitly never radical, as they cannot be put into radical practice. Concentrate on living (ideally, like Jesus did, of course 😉 ) if you want to be radical!
  2. Radically change your use of time. To be radical, radical changes of personal lifestyle are needed. A good point to start is to use one’s free time for radically different things. For example, to give up one’s hobby of computer programming and start caring more about one’s friends.
  3. Make relationships risky and dynamic. Security-oriented, superficial and dissembled relationships are a result of living a smooth life without risking anything. To change something, you need to risk something. The  relationships to your friends are a good starting point: risk something for the better. This might result in hurts, misunderstandings and other difficulties, but at least something happens now! Which implies the chance that your relationships might get better.

Add your own thoughts, folks!

Start date: 2007-11-04
Post date: 2007-11-12
Version date: 2007-11-12 (for last meaningful change)



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2 responses to “A longing for radical life”

  1. K.D.

    re 1: yes, stop discussing, concentrate on living. But even that might lead to new questions to discuss, cause: what does does it mean to live like Jesus? Do I have to become a carpenter? Surely not. Do I have to go to desert? There is none in my country. But stay in touch with the father, pray, ask him what to do, and listen.
    re 2: this is closely connected to 1. Ask the father what to do with your time. Caring about friends all time may be exhausting, so it might be good to spend some time in prayer first. A great man said some time ago: “The more work I have to do, the more time I spent in prayer before.” Easier said than done!
    re 3: get to know who your real friends are instead of risking everything. In times of changes it’s good to have a few people you can rely on.
    and Number 4: Slow down. Don’t try to do more. Being effective and efficent is not all that counts. Do what is important and leave out the rest.
    so let’s get practical 🙂

  2. Thanx for your valuable input.

    People change, and so do I. Keep in mind that this post is 3.5 years old now … but I’m sure you noticed.

    “In times of changes it’s good to have a few people you can rely on.” – Yes right. Fully agreed.
    “and Number 4: Slow down.” – Also agreed. You cannot make up with speed for missing direction …

    Regarding prayer, I’m still trying to find out if and how immediate guidance by God would work. That did not change since 2007. There are some articles on here where I speculate that guidance might, in the usual case, be more indirect, by what is revealed as wise and good in scripture in general, so that the job of mapping it to our life would be ours. Search for “third way”, that’s what I called it … and maybe let me know what you think about it …

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