Ordinary Radicals

shane“Attentive ears can hear the ancient whisper, reminding us that another world is possible.”  – Shane Claiborne

This is a fantastic quote from Shane Claiborne, true on so many levels when we are dealing with God’s rule breaking in to a myriad of situations.  If you haven’t read or heard any of his stuff, he’s worth looking up.  I recommend you start with ‘Irresistible Revolution’.  He is one of those who’ve heard Bonhoeffer whispering about a new monasticism bringing renewal to the church as men and women band to gather.  He is part of a community called ‘The Simple Way’ in Philadelphia, USA, deeply committed to serving their neighbourhood and enacting the gospel of grace, mercy and redemption.

He and his community make a tagline of the idea of ‘ordinary radicals’, emphasising the fact that whilst discipleship and mission in a community is not all razzmatazz, it is, none-the-less, powerful.  God takes the weak things of the world to confound the wise.  Shane often says, quoting Mother Theresa:  ‘We can do no great things, only small things with great love.’

I am reminding myself of these things, these stories, these ideas often these days.  I remind myself that the world does not depend on me saving it.  Gosforth doesn’t even depend on me.  Neither does Trinity, come to that.  I can do no great things…I can simply offer what I have with great love and hope that love covers a multitude if ‘sins.’  In so many ways, we live our ordinary lives, but the radical comes in when we start to live out the call to follow in the Way of Jesus.

In the busyness and business of the thing called ‘work’, the greatest thing I can remind myself is that the most important thing is who we are as a community of ordinary people.  I love looking out before the service on a Sunday morning and seeing the interaction, conversation and buzz about the place.  A strong reminder that what we don’t need to build is fancy ‘Jesus Shows’ on a Sunday morning, but a place where we can come together and celebrate the living God in our community.

The more we learn to be a family of brothers and sisters, the more we embody the unity that God has placed within us by his spirit and the more the world will see that we are disciples.

‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’  – Philippians 4:8

 

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