Radicalized For Love
Have you heard people breathing a sigh of relief that 2016 is over? What a crazy year with so many bazar experiences. Perhaps the most
So what about hate’s opposite…love? How’s the love movement doing? When the forces of hate escalate, radicalizing to the point of giving themselves wholly to the movement, disregarding their personal safety….shouldn’t love escalate or even radicalize as well? There was a time, not long ago, when church-as-we-know-it was content to shape Christians into nice, polite, socially acceptable human beings. These people were domesticated cooperative citizens, largely reflecting the values of their communities, yet being nicer than others. The Empire and politicians loved them. For many, that’s what it meant to be a Christ-follower pre-2000.
But now, church-as-we-have-known-it and low levels of love find themselves impotent in the face of the hate movement. We need some love extremists. Our world needs Jesus followers who are willing to leave their comforts and follow him into the neighborhood and marketplace. We are looking for invigorated, Jesus-shaped, love extremists who escalate the love movement toward matching or exceeding the hate movement. Conditions require disciples who are radicalized for love. And when we see them, how will we recognize them?
• They are committed to an alternative vision for this world rather than the dominant cultural theme of self-aggrandizement.
• They don’t obey the cultural norms, not seeming to care that others see their behavior as slightly odd or unconventional.
• They are more interested in doing something loving than only studying how to be loving (and doing nothing).
• They are more concerned for people who are hurting than for being a part of the established polished group.
• Their material possessions sometimes are used up or abused by those whom they are loving.
• They are unsatisfied with the world as they find it; enough that they do something – being the change they hope to see in the world.
• They believe love is more powerful than hate, remaining committed to loving others when love seems like the last thing needed in particular situations.
• They aren’t interested in appearing religious, committing missteps when it comes to church culture.
• They are extravagantly generous with their time, talent, and treasure; living as if they can’t take it with them.
• They give so little time, study, and attention to the afterlife; placing their faith in God and then trusting God to manage that for them.
• They stir up their churches, making the rest of us uncomfortable, challenging the church to engage in action rather than only talking about action.
• They are remarkably unafraid, even while living in a culture of fear.
• They grow angry about mistreatment of others (injustice), speaking up for them, even in church gatherings.
• They experience deep, abiding peace, joy, hope, and love which circumstances cannot touch or diminish.
Fortunately, not everyone in the hate movement is radicalized. But it only takes a few who are so committed to their cause that their concern for their personal fate is less than their concern for the cause. They are like leaven; just a few change the entire community.
So what about us? How much do we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? How much do we believe that this other-worldly way of life Jesus modeled for us is this world’s best hope? How willing are we to forget ourselves and join God’s love movement initiated by Jesus? Let’s start somewhere. Let’s do something out-of-our-norm for love. This is what disciples do…they are radicalized for love.
Pinnacle Leadership Associates