Thursday, March 06, 2008

Radically Different

Ok, I know this might be a dud - I don't get the kind of traffic that some people or some other people I know in the blogosphere get, but this question has been rattling in my brain recently and I'm curious to see if anyone out there has something to add:

How are we, as Christians in North America, living lives that are radically different?

I invite anyone who's passing by to offer up something they're doing, something someone they know is doing, or something they want to be doing that is radically outside the bounds of our culture - something that is a radical response to the gospel of Jesus Christ...


Rhett Smith said...


Not a dud question...I just wonder if we are living different or radically at all. I spoke on Matthew 5:1-16 last night...a text we all know and have heard. But the question remains for me, "Do we live differently?" Bonhoeffer talks about the Sermon on the Mount in The Cost of Discipleship, basically saying, there is either action or inaction....and that the Sermon on the Mount requires simple obedience. We are to just obey it and do what it says....we are not to discuss it, ask questions, or talk ourselves around it.

Claiborne's new book, "Jesus for President" is rocking my world....


Higgins said...

Hey Don,

Just so you know, I did respond to your blogs at my blog (you can check that out when you have time). As for my email address, I will email you and then you'll have it again.

Now, I don't want to sound negative here, because I am really happy with a lot of what the church is doing and how people are living for Christ in this North American context, yet I wonder if 'radical difference' has been our goal overall in the last number of year. In my denominational fellowship, I see not so much 'radical difference' but 'radical convergence'. This is different, I think, from radical conformity in that we aren't trying to be the same, but we are trying to converge - that is, meet people where they are at using our commonalities as a starting point. So, in Pentecostal circles, we use music, music and more music to communicate with people. Every service is like rock concert and the pastor is like a talk show host. It's really wierd to say this, but I think that's what I'm seeing. The differnce (at least it's supposed to be) is the Spirit behind what we do and why we do it, as well as the content of what we are saying.

I think I talk toooooooo much. LOL. Oh well, it makes up for how little I post on my own blog :)

Don said...

Rob - while I don't think "convergence" is necessarily a bad thing, I think it's actually part of our call, but if there's nothing different about who we are or how we live, is there anywhere to converge except wherever the "other" is?

Don said...

Rhett, yeah, I'm wondering myself about that. Am I being obedient to the extent that fits within my cultural framework? Or am I willing and actually being obedient even outside of that?

Am I willing to dance naked as David did - or as Claiborne is doing?

Higgins said...

Yes, good question Don!

Richard Nieburh decribed the opposition between Christ and culture as "Christ against culture".

On the other hand, he describes the agreement between Christ and culture as "Christ of culture".

I would reword his second phrase as "Culture of Christ" to emphasize my belief that if there is anything true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy in culture then it must find it's origin in Christ. So, I agree with you that the only place of true convergence with the other is in the "Other".

It is worth our while to see where God has revealed himself through culture. If the Spirit is at work in this world bearing witness to Christ, then it is possible that he would bring about things in culture to do that.

Needless to say, making Christian renditions of worldly culture is not necessarily a good example of 'convergence'. But, if we truly converge at a point in culture where the Spirit has revealed something of God to us, then this is a good thing.

Sometimes I get bugged out by how identical Christians blend in with the culture around them. What we need is discernment and the volition to reject anything that would be "Christ against culture" and move closer toward things the would be "Culture of Christ".