Radical: Thoughts

I’ve read The ‘new legalism’ by Anthony Bradley here and here, along with a graceful response here.

The following words are mere thoughts from an imperfect heart and mind in response to the not-so-easily-ignored ‘radical Christianity’ buzz and Charlie’s thoughtfully balanced post here with some emphasis on Mark 12:41-44…

Sometimes I look at those verses and what comes to mind (without invite) are the exploits of the present prosperity preachers. She gave all she had to live on! And I have to ask myself is this what’s required – is this how one becomes radical? Jesus saw the widow’s true motive, no doubt, but the moment we become radical to be like the widow, we’ve become prideful or perhaps irresponsible thoughtless copycats. Okay, so… with that off my chest… It seems we’re supposed to notice the exploits, pride, or self-serving motives of the pharisees as compared to the widow’s selfless act, and we do.

However, we really do not know the true motives of either example, do we? Only Christ does. Perhaps we’re supposed to notice not only the two extremes but also what’s lacking. I shy from the word ‘radical’ in general because it tends to emphasize what we do rather than the genuine results/actions flowing from what God’s has us to be – more Christlike – which is so much more than trying to fit some radical mold or fad. Yes, Christianity is inherently radical – it is – but not because we try to ‘be’ that way. We are christian or Christlike “From one degree to the next as the Spirit sanctifies us.” We can’t do this! (Now here’s a radical pride-deflating realization.) But, by God’s grace, we can be obedient to His Word and not make such a big buzz about it.

Now, go read Charlie’s post please, you won’t regret it.

Thanks for being graceful as I think out loud,

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6 thoughts on “Radical: Thoughts

  1. Great thoughts today Petra. I read Charlie's post before I finished reading yours and was thinking the same thoughts you were. That passage seems to be more about the exploitation by the Pharisee's of the poor widow – which I have also equate to prosperity preachers. Not to question the poor widows heart's motive, but rather the burden hypocritical leaders place on God's people to fill their own pocketbooks. It subtracts from Christ's words: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – In the 70's when we went to Bible college, I saw more than one Christian crack under the guilt of trying to live a “radical” life of service to Christ – Not everyone is cut out to be a foreign missionary or pastor (and pastor's wife).

  2. One of the reasons I am working on 'abandoning' social media is due to pride & it becoming an idol. Your thoughts are an affirmation, I am stepping in the right direction. We have to look at the lacking to understand the heart of the matter. Thanks again for the inspiration, friend. Hope all is well in your world. ((HUGS))

  3. Thank you so much for linking to my post! I am glad you thought it was helpful.

    I thought about the interpretation you and Diane have brought out for that story. I do think that the text is aimed at the Pharisees. But I am not convinced that it is about exploitation. If it was I would think that Jesus would have directly said so. Instead he does not speak about any exploitation. He commends the gift of the widow while condemning the hearts of the Pharisees exposed by the widow's gift.

    If you have reasons to understand the passage differently just say so. I love to learn!

    Thanks again! Have a great day.

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