Radical is a book at about the American Dream and how it really isn’t biblical. I didn’t expect the book to have such a strong missions theme. I honestly thought it would be more focused on what we’re doing wrong as a church. Platt focuses on our misplaced priorities, but overall he points to where our priorities should be. It’s a convicting read that will really make you think.
Platt used lots of illustrations from the church that he pastors in Brimingham, Alabama. He also has extensive missions experience himself. Through his writing you can see he has a passion for God’s Word and a passion for the world. Both passions truly come together to make the gospel the center of his lifestyle. I have a hard time reading stories about what others have done for God’s kingdom because I get into a comparative mindset. Instead of asking, “Do I have to do what they did?” I should probably ask “how would you like me to respond to what I’ve read?”
I’ve been on one mission’s trip in my lifetime and it deeply impacted me. As a student, I thought I would go again and again. Now that I’m an adult I have learned how hard it can be to set aside time and resources to do missions. I can see how the American Dream has crept into my mindset of what I must do. It dictates how I spend my time and where I spend my money. Even though I haven’t traveled out of the country again to serve, I can still remember the excitement and passion that was infused into me on that trip. Missions work is God’s heart and as the church it is not an option to think that it is for a select few that are called to serve in it.
I wrestled a lot with this book. I didn’t naturally want to agree with everything I read. Thinking outside the box of culture is never easy. The great thing about Radical is the last chapter. I really expected Platt to tell me to sell all I own, move to a third world country and serve the poor. I was bracing for the call to poverty, but I was quite surprised to find it wasn’t there. Platt’s final thoughts are a few very tangible ways that anyone can start toward a new path and mindset.
I would like to share the five challenges he set forth. These challenges are set in the context of a year time commitment. The first one is pray for the world. It seems so simple, but our eyes will be opened when take time to focus on something other than ourselves when we go to pray. The second challenge is to read the Bible in a year. I wholeheartedly agree with this challenge! In order to know the will of God and his call on your life, you must be in the Word. The third challenge is sacrifice your money for a specific purpose. I like the call to a specific purpose because it will draw to close to that purpose. The fourth challenge is spend time in a different context. Getting outside of your normal walls will help to expand your perspective and widen your worldview. The last challenge is to commit yourself to a multiplying community. I know that there is power in the Church and we are stronger together.
I haven’t come up with the answers to all of those challenges. Honestly, some of them come more easily to me than others. I’m taking time to pray about how I can make these challenges a reality in my life. I know that if you read this book you will feel the same call to examine your heart and your lifestyle. I pray that your eyes will be opened to new doors of opportunity