So I've heard lots and lots and lots more about Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. Even had a friend do a huge blog read-along. (Hi Marla!) I didn't participate then for whatever reason, but am reading it now with a group of friends--some I know face to face, some not yet.
Well, I do know why I didn't participate then. Because the time wasn't right. Just like the time wasn't right to do Loving Well when I won it from Lisa years ago. (Hi Lisa!) Because the time is right for it NOW.
Anyway, I wrote my response for the first two chapters earlier and posted them on the forum we're using. But thought I'd post them here too--just to give you an idea of what the book's about, to tickle your interest.
I read the first chapter and started the second, then had to pause to let it sink in a bit before continuing. Would I really believe? Would I really obey? Would I make those two choices before I knew what was coming?
Yes. And yes. At least I want my answer to be yes. A resounding yes.
Make me brave, I've been praying. Brave enough to take an honest look at myself in this Radical book, in the Loving Well study as I start Bible study again. Open my eyes to see the truth. Don't let me hide. Strip me bare and clothe me in your Word.
And God is answering. Because pages 31-32 hit me smack in the face:
We live in a land of self-improvement. Certainly there are steps we can take to make ourselves better. So we modify what the gospel says about us...
Haven't you heard of the power of positive thinking? I can become a better me and experience my best life now. That's why God is there--to make that happen. My life is not going right, but God loves me and has a plan to fix my life. I simply need to follow certain steps, think certain things, and check off certain boxes, and then I am good.
I wouldn't have thought this described my thinking, my approach to life. But it's uncomfortably accurate. I live this way. I parent this way. I deal with relationships this way.
And the truth is that it's not working so well. Because all it does is add more to the bottom of the list when I get everything else checked off. I'm never done. I never arrive. Nothing in my own power will ever be able to get to the point of being able to say, "It is finished."
A clean slate. Starting from scratch. I'm beginning 2011 with the notion that I don't know nearly as much as I thought. Don't have a clue about lots of things I thought I had a good grip on.
But gripping tightly is just a fancy way of saying controlling.
So once again, I'm face to face with my old nemesis: Control. But this time, I'm becoming quickly convinced that I can't give it up myself. That there aren't a list of steps to follow to figure it out. This is totally beyond me.
In a nutshell, I'm starting the year with this:
You are radically dependent on God to do something in your life you could never do.
Have you read it? What was your "one thing" from reading it?