The Call to Radical Discipleship

I picked this book up at the World Convention last summer but just started reading it because I was in the middle of a few others. The author, Lee C. Camp, was of the many speakers at the convention. I was blown away by his presentation and took more notes in that single hour than I did at any other time in the four days we were there.

I was reading last night and this paragraph really struck me.

The call to “radical discipleship” is thus not a call to a burdensome moral perfectionism, but a call to leave the old ways of death and darkness to walk in the new way of abundant life and glorious light with the Christ who is Light and Life. There on the path with Christ we are loved even when we do not deserve to be loved. And there on the path with Christ we too are called to love those about us who do not deserve to be loved. On pilgrimage with Christ, we are forgiven with an extravagant love — he washes our feet, even when we would betray him. And there, on pilgrimage with Christ, we too are called to forgive with such extravagance. On the way with Christ, God’s abundance, provisions, and goods are shared with us, joyfully consumed, for we eat in the kingdom of God! And on the way with Christ, the goods in our hands are shared with those around us, for we do not live according to the rebellious kingdoms of the world which hoard and hold, but according to the kingdom of God, in which God clothes the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and us too, so that we live with a lightness and ease that befits sons and daughters of God.

I recommend this book and I’m sure I will be quoting it and discussing it more as I work my way through it.

What are your thoughts on this?

Remembering Mohandas Gandhi

January 30, 1948 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi.

In an effort to end India’s religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him. Known as Mahatma, or “the great soul,” during his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.

Read the whole thing here: This day in history: 1948

Over the past few years the life and words of Gandhi have had a profound effect on me. I absolutely love the movie with Ben Kingsley. For followers of Christ, Gandhi’s words should strike a strong similarity to those of Jesus. If we say that we follow the Prince of Peace, why do we speak of “Just War”? Why do we still stand as advocates for violence to fix the ills of the world? What happened to following the example of Jesus in everything?

Here’s some quotes from Gandhi that really speak on this issue:

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.

As I’m sitting here pondering the life of Gandhi, I’m watching the “U2: Live in Mexico City” dvd. Three songs are almost consecutive in their set: “Pride (In the Name of Love)” about Martin Luther King, Jr, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Please” about the violence in Northern Ireland. These songs and Bono’s personal work, and the work of Mlk, Gandhi and so many others, drive home the need to seek avenues other than violence and that we should strongly encourage it as Christ-followers.

The world hungers and cries out for Peace in every aspect of life. Parents and children, husband and wife, neighbors and communities, and most especially nations. What are we doing? Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is our Savior. Do we believe these things? Seriously? Is this just a social club for us? Is it a hobby we spend a few hours each week playing with? Have we ceased to harm others even with our words? Any contact we have with another person, do they see Jesus Christ or a church-goer?

You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of good literature.

If you’ve never seen the movie “Gandhi” I highly recommend it. It shows what is possible with peaceful resistance. I believe it is a great example for Christ-followers who seek to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.