In this group we've been studying David Platt's Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (God timed our visit so I could jump in at the beginning of this study and I'm only missing the last chapter next week). I, yes even me the missionary, was challenged by this book and had to struggle through some of the chapters, wrestling with what Platt was saying and what I see in life and in Scripture.
The basic premise of the book is that we've taken Christianity and, mostly unknowingly, softened it to conform to what would be called the "American Dream." When he looks at the Bible, Platt sees a lot of conflict between what Jesus is saying and what he sees the church doing today. He believes that we've shaped Jesus into what we'd like him to be, rather than allowing Him to shape us into what He wants us to be. He begins the book by asking a simple, but extremely probing question, "Is the Jesus you know someone worth losing everything for?" If not, why not? That's what the early disciples believed. That's what Christian's in the rest of the world live.
Platt builds on this idea throughout the book, challenging various aspects of our American Christian culture, until he challenges people to take up his radical experiment for a year. This radical experiment covers 5 facets of our lives where we need to be radical. Here they are: Over the next year to....
- Pray for the whole world
- Read the whole Bible
- Commit our lives to a multiplying community (Church, small group, something)
- Sacrifice our money for a specific purpose
- Give our time in another context
You can also check out some more info by visiting www.radicalthebook.com or www.radicalexperiment.org.